About Systems Science and Why It Is Important

Direct Knowlege Contributor Taylor Bauer
  • By Taylor Bauer, Technical Writer & Digital Marketing Expert
  • Taylor is a writer and SEO manager with a B.S. in Political Communication from Illinois State University. He also received his M.S. in Communications from Illinois State. His background comes from journalism, working at an NPR member station for three years before transitioning to blogging and search engine marketing. He lives in Illinois with his wife and two Toy Australian Sheppards.

About Systems Science

The world is a sophisticated collection of people, places, and things interacting with one another. Making sense of all the different moving parts of life is tricky, but experts believe looking at things as parts of a whole helps to explain your surroundings. Systems science is what helps increase our understanding of the world, and can help to connect components to a greater whole through several applications.

Systems science defines different parts of the natural, social, and technological world as interworking components of larger structures. By studying the organization of interconnecting parts of a network, researches can study what sort of system develops or exists. Utilizing systems science helps make sense of different elements of life as they live in reality or digital spaces.

Systems science is something you and I might not know much about, or hear about very often daily. Just because the subject is very complex does not mean it isn’t essential to learn. Let’s go over what systems science is, and how these lessons can help increase our understanding of the world around us.

What is this Field All About?

Everything from biology and nature to mathematics and computer programming consists of several elements and variables. For example, someone talking about the weather in the United States cannot merely say the country has one sort of weather. Instead, climatologists view the country’s climate as a system, in which different parts of the country make up one larger whole. That whole is organized and defined by the elements of each part of the country’s weather.

When we think about what systems science is, we can’t only look at what things make up its parts, or what the whole is. The entire “thinghood” of systems exist in duality, collections of pieces, and a whole operation on its own. Understanding systems science is hard because not many people study the subject. It’s one of the more rare fields of study.

Overall, the purpose of studying a system is to define how each part exists on its own. From there, we can find its relation to other things with which it shares properties or effects. When considering the complexity of systems, it’s best to build a better understanding of using examples, so let’s talk about a few common areas of study.

Better Understanding Systems Science

Researchers come across numerous roadblocks in their work, including the ability to apply findings to everyday life. Systems science attempts to utilize the organization of various phenomena in the world and find ways to make improvements. Things like world hunger or crime are difficult to fix; if they weren’t, we wouldn’t still be dealing with them today. Rather than focus on one element of the problem, systems help determine what overarching variables are contributing most to questions you and I see or hear about every day.

Systems science is more than just a field of study. At its core, the subject is a way of thinking. Systems provide practical ways to research solutions to problems through the simulation of different approaches. For example, finding ways to use systems science applications for the world’s biggest concerns is possible when you have all moving parts organized into one coherent network.

The key you should take away from how systems can help society is to increase your understanding of interconnectivity. When someone talks about world hunger, we’re not merely talking about two variables: food and people. We also are involving major industries like technology and agriculture. Plus, trade deals and shipping help to move food all over the world. As you can see, the problems are complicated. I think experts would tell you that systems provide the most accurate “big picture” to society’s problems that we can get. That’s why this field of study is so vital to many different sectors.

Applications of the Subject

A popular form of visualizing systems science applications is a concept map. In this exercise, you draw out every single element of a problem or area of focus. Doing so helps to determine all the various things or people that are impacted by one another. Doing so allows critical thinking to help identify ways in which a network of interconnected parts can improve.

Any system worth studying should exist as an identifiable whole, or a more extensive network with many working parts. The whole interacts with its components and undergoes changes when different actions of behaviors occur. Over time, the whole will ebb and flow, including periods of growth and decay, but interconnectivity never goes away. By studying these interactions, researchers find ways to pinpoint problematic parts or outputs and make changes to improve the entire network.

It’s natural for you and me to see things as a causal system. We can understand that if the sun shines and you water a flower that it will grow. It’s natural to us, as it is to other animals with the cerebral cortex. Systems exist whether we understand them or not. It’s up to us to study these systems to improve life. Doing so might mean small improvements, like faster internet connections. Also included are significant changes like our ability to survive even emerge from the study of systems science.

Systems Science FAQ

The importance of systems science is evident, but it can be tough to get started. Here are some common questions to think about as you begin studying the subject.

What makes up a system science?

A systems science makes up of many parts or elements that interact and connect within a more significant network of relationships, inputs, and outputs. Studying these interactions helps to develop an organized way of thinking about separate entities as parts of a greater whole. Systems make up every aspect of life and can be used to solve big problems.

What are some types of systems?

All types of systems fall under the category of either natural or designed networks. Natural examples are things like ecosystems or natural occurrences in the process of evolution. Designed networks are human-made and involve a lot of control, purposeful action, and heuristic motives. Both systems help to explain different phenomena researchers observe.

How is systems science useful?

System science is useful because organizing things by their connections to each other shows transparent relationships. The practice of mapping out networks allows researchers to understand how one action or behavior can affect several other separate yet connected elements of a system. By mapping out these connections, researchers can suggest improvements to help society.

What are some applications of systems science?

Some applications of systems science include the study of space and how nearby planets in our solar system impact one another. An additional form of systems science is the study of urban transportation systems and timing out travel in densely populated areas. Every use of systems science in life helps to show a network of moving parts that impacts one another.