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Introduction to Systems Thinking for Evaluation Practice

  • 29 Mar 2023
  • 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Zoom
  • 0


The discussion and use of systems concepts in evaluation practice has increased dramatically in the last few years. As much as we might intuitively understand that we live in an inter-connected world, it can be challenging for evaluators to know how to skillfully apply these concepts in an evaluation. This workshop provides an introduction to the basic concepts of systems thinking and demonstrates practical ways to apply these concepts to evaluation practice. 

Attendees will learn:

  • The core systems concepts – boundaries, perspectives, interrelationships – that are foundational to systems thinking and approaches and how they relate to evaluation practice
  • Systems thinking techniques that can be used in program evaluation to: (a) deepen contextual understanding of the program; (b) clarify program theory and program logic; (c) elicit useful evaluation questions; and (d) expand stakeholder/client understanding of programs and their potential outcomes

This workshop specifically addresses the AEA Evaluator Competencies in Domain 3: Context as follows:

  • Competency 3.3: Describes the program, including its basic purpose, components, and its functioning in broader contexts.

  • Competency 3.4: Attends to systems issues within the context.
  • Competency 3.6: Facilitates shared understanding of the program and its evaluation with stakeholders.
  • Competency 3.7: Clarifies diverse perspective, stakeholder interests, and cultural assumptions.
  • Competency 3.8: Promotes evaluation use and influence in context.

Presenter: Jan Noga, Pathfinder Evaluation and Consulting

Jan Noga is an independent consultant in program evaluation based in Cincinnati, Ohio. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in developmental and counseling psychology with specialization in early and middle childhood and a master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati in instructional design and technology. She has worked in the non-profit and public sectors in human services and education for more than 30 years in roles spanning teaching, research, policy, and program planning and evaluation.

As a program evaluator, Ms Noga has planned and conducted both large and small-scale evaluations and provided organizational consulting and capacity building support to clients in areas such as logic modeling, performance measurement, and evaluation design and implementation. She has taught courses and workshops on such topics as systems thinking, research methods and techniques, grantsmanship, program planning and development, and survey design and analysis. She is particularly interested in the use of systems approaches and systemic design as a foundation for planning, implementation, and evaluation of change efforts in the human service and education arenas.



AEA affiliate 
since 2004

Minnesota Evaluation Association

P.O. Box 581114,

Minneapolis, MN 55458



Twitter: @mnevaluation

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