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Toolkit:Systems Thinking for Safety/Causal Loop Diagrams

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Description

A causal loop diagram (CLD) is a causal diagram that aids in visualizing how different variables in a system are interrelated. The diagram consists of a set of nodes and edges. Nodes represent the variables and edges are the links that represent a connection or a relation between the two variables. A link marked positive indicates a positive relation and a link marked negative indicates a negative relation. A positive causal link means the two nodes change in the same direction, i.e. if the node in which the link starts decreases, the other node also decreases. Similarly, if the node in which the link starts increases, the other node increases as well. A negative causal link means the two nodes change in opposite directions, i.e. if the node in which the link starts increases, the other node decreases and vice versa.


Further reading

Kim, D. H. (1992). Guidelines for Drawing Causal Loop Diagrams. The Systems Thinker, 3(1), 5-6. http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~sme/SystemsThinking/GuidelinesforDrawingCausalLoopDiagrams.pdf

Kirkwood, C.W. (1998). System Behavior and Causal Loop Diagrams. In System Dynamics Methods: A Quick Introduction. CC BY-NC 3.0 http://www.public.asu.edu/~kirkwood/sysdyn/SDIntro/ch-1.pdf

Meadows, D. & Wright. (2009). Thinking in systems: A primer. Routledge.

Wikipedia (2014). Causal loop diagram. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causal_loop_diagram