As simple visual diagrams of key dynamics in complex systems, causal-loop diagrams could meet known needs in settings such as theory-based program evaluation and qualitative research. Methods for developing and using causal-loop diagrams, however, are underdeveloped. This dissertation comprises three articles that advance these methods. The first paper describes a systematic review of evaluation studies utilizing causal-loop diagramming to illustrate program theory. The second paper pilots an improved method for systematically generating causal-loop diagrams from qualitative data. The third paper presents a protocol for an interview-based approach to mapping mental models. Together, this research contributes to recognizing the modeler as co-creator, reframes the relationship between intervention and context, and enables more diverse uses for causal-loop diagrams. Ultimately, this research serves to improve the rigor and transparency of methods for developing causal-loop diagrams, broadening their potential applications for modeling, research, and evaluation.
|Advisor:||Wakeland, Wayne W.|
|Commitee:||Sandberg, Billie, Davis, Melinda, Jetter, Antonie|
|School:||Portland State University|
|School Location:||United States -- Oregon|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/9(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Systems science, Public health, Social research|
|Keywords:||Causal-loop diagram, Program theory, System dynamics|
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