Using a Complex Adaptive Systems Perspective to Illuminate the Concept of Evaluation Capacity Building in a Network

Amy Grack Nelson, Jean A. King, Frances Lawrenz, Christine Reich, Marjorie Bequette, Scott Pattison, Elizabeth Kunz Kollmann, Molly Illes, Sarah Cohn, Stephanie Iacovelli, Christopher L.B. Cardiel, Gayra Ostgaard, Juli Goss, Marta Beyer, Lauren Causey, Anne Sinkey, Melanie Francisco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

While evaluation capacity building (ECB) may hold promise for fostering evaluation, little is known about how it is operationalized within a network. This article presents initial findings from a National Science Foundation–funded research project (Complex Adaptive Systems as a Model for Network Evaluations) that used concepts from complex adaptive systems theory to develop case studies of ECB within the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network. The project used a multiple case study approach to explore ECB within four Network workgroups. Cross-case themes documented characteristics of the system and ECB within it. Evaluation capacity was evident in several ways, including people's comfort with evaluation, evaluation-related skills, evaluation processes used, and the value placed on evaluation. Ultimately, the study identified several complex adaptive system features that fostered Network ECB: massive entanglement and neighbor interactions, information flow/feedback loops, stability and flexibility/adaptability, redundancy and diversity of evaluative skills and knowledge, and both centralized and distributed control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-230
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Journal of Evaluation
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019

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Capacity Building
evaluation
Systems perspective
Evaluation capacity building
Complex adaptive systems
Evaluation
Systems Theory
Foster Home Care
information flow
redundancy
system theory
science

Keywords

  • capacity building
  • case studies
  • complex adaptive systems
  • systems

Cite this

Using a Complex Adaptive Systems Perspective to Illuminate the Concept of Evaluation Capacity Building in a Network. / Grack Nelson, Amy; King, Jean A.; Lawrenz, Frances; Reich, Christine; Bequette, Marjorie; Pattison, Scott; Kunz Kollmann, Elizabeth; Illes, Molly; Cohn, Sarah; Iacovelli, Stephanie; Cardiel, Christopher L.B.; Ostgaard, Gayra; Goss, Juli; Beyer, Marta; Causey, Lauren; Sinkey, Anne; Francisco, Melanie.

In: American Journal of Evaluation, Vol. 40, No. 2, 01.06.2019, p. 214-230.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Grack Nelson, A, King, JA, Lawrenz, F, Reich, C, Bequette, M, Pattison, S, Kunz Kollmann, E, Illes, M, Cohn, S, Iacovelli, S, Cardiel, CLB, Ostgaard, G, Goss, J, Beyer, M, Causey, L, Sinkey, A & Francisco, M 2019, 'Using a Complex Adaptive Systems Perspective to Illuminate the Concept of Evaluation Capacity Building in a Network' American Journal of Evaluation, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 214-230. https://doi.org/10.1177/1098214018773877
Grack Nelson, Amy ; King, Jean A. ; Lawrenz, Frances ; Reich, Christine ; Bequette, Marjorie ; Pattison, Scott ; Kunz Kollmann, Elizabeth ; Illes, Molly ; Cohn, Sarah ; Iacovelli, Stephanie ; Cardiel, Christopher L.B. ; Ostgaard, Gayra ; Goss, Juli ; Beyer, Marta ; Causey, Lauren ; Sinkey, Anne ; Francisco, Melanie. / Using a Complex Adaptive Systems Perspective to Illuminate the Concept of Evaluation Capacity Building in a Network. In: American Journal of Evaluation. 2019 ; Vol. 40, No. 2. pp. 214-230.
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