Whole Systems

Can Whole Systems be Evaluated?


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Session Title: Can Whole Systems Be Evaluated? If so, How?

Think Tank Session 114 to be held in Sebastian I-3 on Wednesday, Nov 11, 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM

Sponsored by the Cluster, Multi-site and Multi-level Evaluation TIG and the Systems in Evaluation TIG

Presenter(s):

Molly Engle,  Oregon State University,  molly.engle@oregonstate.edu

Discussant(s):

Martha Ann Carey,  Maverick Solutions,  marthaann123@sbcglobal.net

Mary Ann Scheirer,  Scheirer Consulting,  mascheirer@gmail.com

Andrea M Hegedus,  Northrop Grumman Corporation,  ahegedus@cdc.gov

Abstract: As evaluators, we are well aware that we work within larger systems that form the context for both the evaluand and the evaluation process. Rarely is the evaluand a complete system itself. Other questions become relevant including what improvements can result if the whole system is evaluated? Can evaluation feasibly address initiatives intended to change the ways a broader system operates? This session will address these and other related questions. The facilitators' work with whole systems has raised these questions, with no easy answers. Evaluators tend to evaluate parts of systems, but have neglected putting the parts together to evaluate the whole. Understanding interrelations among the parts may be a key to improvement in a specific program within its systemic context. The participants will contribute to this thought provoking session by sharing work they have done with whole systems and taking away suggestions for exploring whole systems evaluation further.

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