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Applied Systems Thinking for Health Systems Research


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Table of Contents

1. Introduction - Scope, intended audience and how to use this handbook
2. Systems approaches in health systems research - approaches for embedding research
3. Boundary critique - approaches for framing methodological design
4. Soft systems methodology - an approach for stakeholder and researcher reflection on a problem
5. Cynefin - a tool for situating the problem in a sense-making framework
6. Causal loop diagrams - a tool for visualizing emergent system behaviour
7. Network analysis - a tool for understanding social network behaviour of a system
8. Human systems dynamics - a tool for understanding self-organizing behaviour of actors in the system
9. Process mapping - a tool for visualizing system processes from end-to-end
10. Systems dynamics - a tool for modelling and testing solutions
11. Scenario technique - a tool for simulating and reflecting on alternative solutions
12. Outcome mapping - a tool for planning, monitoring and evaluating complex interventions in systems
13. Conclusion - How these approaches and tools can fit together and be used

About the Author

Dr Don de Savigny is Professsor of Health Systems and Policies Research at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, University of Basel, Switzerland. Don has taught and applied Systems Thinking approaches and methods in implementation research for health systems development in low- and middle-income countries for many years, particularly in Africa.Dr Karl Blanchet is Associate Professor on Health Systems Research and the Director of the Health in Humanitarian Crises Centre at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK. Karl has applied Systems Thinking approaches, Social Network Analysis and Systems Dynamics Methods to understand how health systems react and adapt to shocks such as armed conflicts or diseases outbreaks.Dr Taghreed Adam is a Scientist in Research and Knowledge Uptake at the World Health Organization, Geneva. Taghreed has supported the empirical application and publication of systems thinking approaches in health systems of low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) in two journal series and applied systems thinking approaches in health systems research in various LMIC settings.

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