Framing Social Services as Complex Systems

Michael Wolf-Branigin

in Using Complexity Theory for Research and Program Evaluation

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199829460
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199315895 | DOI:

Series: Pocket Guides to Social Work Research Methods

Framing Social Services as Complex Systems

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This chapter applies the components of complex systems to social work settings. Grasping these components early provides an essential link for properly identifying variables and related data sources so that evaluators and researchers can apply complexity. This chapter concludes with the components of complex systems being applied to a setting where services for persons with intellectual disabilities are provided. The objectives for this chapter include an introductory understanding of how social services are complex systems and the ability to deconstruct a social service based complex system and analyze its components.

Keywords: complex systems; agent-based; sensitivity to initial conditions; self-organizing; feedback; emergent behavior

Chapter.  4741 words.  Illustrated.

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