Principles for Indicator
- Use existing data as much
- Reevaluate underlying
assumptions in the data and indicator concept
- Integrate long-term focus
with short-term change
- Relate indicators to
appropriate reference point (individual, dollar,
community, population (eg 1,000))
- Identify direction of
- Present indicators as a
- Determine linkages
Criteria for Indicators
Reflect community values.
The crucial role of indicators is communication.
Perhaps more important than providing data,
indicators illustrate community values and elicit
reactions. Good indicators are expressed in
imaginable, not eye-glazing numbers, and resonate
with the intended audience.
They fit the purpose for measuring, telling you
something about the system you need to know.
rationales exist for using the specific indicator
and for drawing general conclusions from it. Test
questions: Is the indicator truly measuring what it
is meant to measure, and not a by-product? Is the
indicator well-grounded and founded in fact? Can you
support, defend and justify it in logical or
Data exist that are relevant to this geographic
area, and preferably comparable to other cities,
counties or communities. If data are not readily
available, a practical method of data collection or
measurement exists or can be created.
a valid indicator may strike the public as
"incredible," for example, if the data
source has a particular reputation in the community.
Test questions: Is the indicator believable in the
eyes of the community participants who selected it,
as well as to the community at large? Does the data
source for each indicator help reinforce credibility
or detract from it?
You must be able to trust what the indicator shows.
For example, a gas gauge that shows it is half full
when it is really empty may cause you to run out of
gas in an inconvenient place. In addition,
indicators should be measured consistently over
time, so that you have comparable data.
Indicators must give you information while there is
still time to act.
VISION AND VALUES. Does
the indicator relate to the vision that stakeholders
hold for the future of the community? Is there a
vision statement that can be used as a reference?
RESOURCES AND NEEDS. Many
measurement tools highlight only community deficits.
They position the community to react to shortcomings
without also focusing on assets that can and should
be strengthened and enhanced. Are there indicators
in the set that highlight what is working in the
AND ACTION-ORIENTED. The
indicators will need to be "marketed" to
have broad-based effect. Creativity, both in the
selection of indicators themselves and in the
presentation of the indicators, will aid in their
being noticed and used. Will the indicators selected
illustrate efforts made to improve the community?
Attractive to local media.
The press publicizes them and uses them to monitor
and analyze community trends.
project is part of the City
of Seattle Citizens Technology Literacy and Access
initiative in cooperation with the volunteer
Citizens Telecommunications and Technology Advisory
Seattle. Additional assistance for the
forum is being provided by Progress Project of the Evans School of Public Affairs and the Glaser Progress Foundation
and Seattle Community
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