The Systems in Evaluation Topical Interest Group (SETIG) was a community created within the American Evaluation Association to provide a forum for ongoing conversation about the use of systems thinking and systems theory in evaluation.
SETIG developed from a series of sessions held during the 2002 AEA Annual Meeting in Washington DC that focused on systems theory and systems thinking. The TIG held its first planning meeting in Atlanta in 2004 (attendance: 4), and sponsored its first sessions in the 2005 AEA conference in Toronto.
SETIG focuses on the use of systems thinking and systems theory as a framework for evaluation planning, design, implementation, analysis, and reporting, across a wide range of content areas, and using a diverse array of evaluation approaches, research methods, and data collection and analysis tools.
Areas of interest to TIG members include:
- Evaluation approaches that use systems theory to plan, design, and implement evaluation
- Discussion about how to ground evaluation methods and approaches in systems thinking and theory
- The contributions of diverse perspectives in understanding issues related to the use of systems thinking and theory in evaluation
TIG leadership places a priority on welcoming members at all levels of experience, comfort, and familiarity with systems thinking. We have a diverse membership of professionals from 35+ countries spanning a wide range of experience in systems thinking and in evaluation. Several members have published books focusing on systems thinking and evaluation, and a number of TIG members have served on the AEA Board, including 2014 AEA President Beverly Parsons.
A priority for the TIG has been to craft offerings and activities that are both interesting and accessible to all systems thinkers, whether novice or experienced. As a result, we’ve seen the focus of our conference sessions evolve along the following lines:
- defining this thing called systems thinking
- how we’re using systems thinking in our work
- how we can support others in the use of systems thinking in evaluation practice
- developing guiding principles for the use of systems thinking in program evaluation