Who We Are

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.

The TIG 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

History of SETIG


The Systems TIG 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).

  • First TIG Chair: Patricia Rogers as our first TIG chair

  • First Program Co-Chairs: Bob Williams and Jan Noga

  • First Communications Chair/Webmaster: Deb Wasserman


Our first conference program. We sponsored 12 sessions that year. Attendance at the biz meeting exceeded our wildest expectations: 60 people packed our tiny room and spilled out into the corridor.


We again sponsored 12 sessions plus our business meeting. Notable events:

  • We launched the Big TIG question during the business meeting, which has since become an annual tradition

  • Bob Williams and Iraj Imam brought together a team of systems thinkers to craft a first-ever anthology on systems thinking for evaluation



[links to individual histories in Google Drive, text from current website]

Principles Project






Link to results of first member survey

Get to know the current members of the leadership team

Sign up for our events or newsletter and become part of the community

Contact Us

Send an email to systemsinevaluationtig [at] gmail [dot] com or reach out directly to the SETIG Leadership team