Introduction to Relational Systems Evaluation

Jennifer Brown Urban, Thomas Archibald, Monica Hargraves, Jane Buckley, Claire Hebbard, Miriam R. Linver, William M. Trochim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In this paper, we introduce Relational Systems Evaluation (RSE), the focal topic of this volume. RSE is a framework for program planning and evaluation that is theoretically grounded, empirically tested and focused on building evaluation capacity. Theoretically, RSE is rooted in an evolutionary approach to program development and evaluation informed by systems thinking. The application of RSE involves a collaborative partnership approach pairing evaluators or researchers with program practitioners, the use of collaborative modeling and planning tools, and an emphasis on nurturing an Evaluative Thinking mindset. The goal of RSE is to produce more thoughtful and useful evaluations and, ultimately, better programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-18
Number of pages8
JournalNew Directions for Evaluation
Issue number169
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2021


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