Systems Mapping

Systems mapping is at the heart of SIPHER's research processes, allowing us to create visual representations of complex real world systems.

Systems maps are visual representations of a target system consisting of nodes and edges between nodes to represent the interdependencies of attributes within the system.

They are primarily qualitative thinking tools.

Systems maps can be informed by evidence from different sources, combining for example expert knowledge and academia literature. By visualising the complete system systems maps can represent the complexity of the system (e.g. depicting subsystems, interdependencies and feedback loops). 

SIPHER has developed a series of systems maps and causal loop diagrams for two policy areas:


In SIPHER, we have primarily sought to develop participatory systems maps, aggregating by stakeholder views and expertise.

Our systems mapping provides a framework through which our researchers and policy partners can better understand the complex interrelationships between material inequalities and health and wellbeing outcomes.

This understanding results from systems maps allowing the representation of a wide range of different factors and their causal interactions. 

This depiction of the system then informs various other elements of our research, including evidence synthesis and the development of our policy microsimulation and dynamic systems models.