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Table 5.1 Analysis starting points for Participatory Systems Mapping. Source: Authors’ creation

From: Participatory Systems Mapping

Way to start Starting point options How to build Interpretation
Stakeholder-suggested factors Intervention or controllable factors Downstream nodes and edges What is the intervention or controllable factor affecting? Are there unexpected indirect effects?
For multiple nodes, create a union or intersection of multiple downstream submaps How are multiple interventions complementing or clashing with each other?
Paths between intervention nodes and outcome nodes What does the intervention rely on to achieve its goals? What wider context might affect it?
Important or outcome factors Upstream nodes and edges What is influencing the thing we care about? Is it vulnerable or supported?
For multiple nodes create a union or intersection of multiple upstream submaps or ego networks. What synergies or trade-offs might there be between achieving the things we care about?
Ego networks What is influencing the thing we care about, and what does it influence?
Paths between intervention nodes and outcome nodes How are interventions reaching the thing we care about?
Vulnerable to change factors Up and/or downstream nodes and edges What might mitigate or drive change in this factor? What impact might change have?
For multiple nodes create a union or intersection of multiple downstream submaps. How might changes or risks interact and compound each other?
System-suggested factors Influential (i.e. many outgoing connections) Downstream nodes and edges What is this influential thing affecting? Is it a lever or a vulnerability?
Central to the map (i.e. well-connected, or bridging parts of the map) Downstream and/or upstream nodes and edges What is influencing this central factor? What influence does it have? Is it a bridge or bottleneck?
Ego networks What is this central factor close to?
Influenced (i.e. many incoming connections) Upstream nodes and edges What is influencing this highly influenced factor? Is it being pushed in one or many directions?
Unusual network property (i.e. low number of connections, but bridges two part of the map) Any of the above Does this factor play an important but counter-intuitive role in the system?