Concerns with the way systems thinking is used in evaluation | Michael C. Jackson, OBE | 2023-02-27

In brief. David Ing.

In a recording of the debate between Michael Quinn Patton and Michael C. Jackson on “Systems Concepts in Evaluation”, Patton referenced four concepts published in the “Principles for effective use of systems thinking in evaluation” (2018) by the Systems in Evaluation Topical Interest Group (SETIG) of the American Evaluation Society.

The four concepts are: (i) interrelationships; (ii) perspectives; (iii) boundaries; and (iv) dynamics.

At 16m36s into the recording, the debate turned to Jackson for a response.

[16m36] Thanks, Barb. I’m concerned with the way in which we use systems thinking in evaluation. I’ll try and pick out some issues that I see with the Systems Concepts approach, which means the use of interrelationships, perspectives, boundaries, and dynamics in evaluation practice.

[17m00s] And to make the case for what I think is the clearer guidance that Critical Systems Practice can give.

[17m09s] A problem with the concepts is that they…

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