Causal Loops and Concept Models: From Complexity to Clarity


Jeff Wasbes, University at Albany


Much work has been done recently on the application of systems concepts to evaluation practice.  It is often difficult to operationalize systems theory in evaluation practice because many methods for diagramming system structure and process rely on linear cause effect assumptions and representations.  A particularly useful notation for explicating complex system structure is the Causal Loop diagram.   Participants will learn the concepts of Causal Loop Diagramming.  Drawing from the System Dynamics modeling approach, participants will learn how to expand Causal Loop Diagrams to include stock and flow structure and loop polarity.  While exploring simple-to-use diagramming tools, participants will be introduced to other concepts like endogenous causality, link and loop polarity, and concept models.  Participants will leave the session with a start on a diagram germane to their own work as well as other resources for further exploration.

Presentation Materials

1 Comment

  1. Jeff
    20 June 11, 6:41pm

    Here’s a nifty (although lengthy) article about how feedback loops might affect our everyday lives.

    During this session, we will explore some useful tools for applying feedback principles to program and policy logic and share ideas about ways to close feedback loops in our own work. I’d like to hear what interested folks are hoping to get from (or hoping to avoid during!) this session. All comments are welcome!

Post a Comment