Community Indicators Project Development Guide

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Community Indicators Project Development Guide

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Community Indicators Project Development Guide
by Chantal Stevens, Madeleine deBlois, Ruth Hamberg and Joe Baldwin

A comprehensive resource on how to start, implement, and sustain a community indicators project that will help create favorable conditions for a community to thrive. Individual sections cover:  developing a community indicators project; criteria for indicator selection; sourcing, analyzing, and interpreting data; data literacy; reporting; moving from data to action;  partnerships and collaboration;  communications; and, community engagement.

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The Community Indicators Project Development Guide sets out to provide a comprehensive resource, based on literature search, interviews, and personal experience, on how to start, implement, and sustain a community indicators project that will help create those favorable conditions for a community, and its families and children, to thrive. The focus throughout this volume is on a meaningful participatory co-creation process that leads to scientifically and logically sound measures that reflect a community’s priorities and amplify its voices and therefore can be used to move the needle on community conditions. This volume goes beyond just talking about data. Data matter, but they are just one element of the comprehensive approach needed if indicators are to be used to improve community conditions. The chapters are divided into two parts: one related to the mechanisms of how to develop good indicators and the other one on supporting good practices that will put indicators in action. This first part offers looks at the nuts and bolts behind the process of developing a community indicators project, starting with definitions and an overview (chapter 1). Next, we take a bird’s eye view at the process of developing an indicator project (chapter 2). The following chapters take a deeper dive in some of the elements of that process. We provide an introduction to criteria for indicator selection (chapter 3). We then turn our attention to sourcing, analyzing, and interpreting data (chapter 4, 5 and 6) and including quick guide to data literacy (chapter 6). We then examine the theory and practice behind successful reporting (chapter 7). And finally, we look at the holy grail of community indicators efforts: how to move from data to action (chapter 8).The second part focuses on the network. Community indicators project do not operate, nor can they succeed, in a vacuum. This section looks at the importance of building solid network, starting with strong partnerships and on-going collaboration as well as effective leadership (chapter 9). Good communications (chapter 10) are essential to any successful initiative and overlap with the development of purposeful community engagement (chapter 11). Finally, we offer some practical tools for community engagement (chapter 12). More than ever, in these times of distrust of science and of institutions, we need to convene, unite, and ultimately ignite an interest in knowledge and a desire for change. We need practitioners who understand all the facets of this endeavor and can effectively sustain the effort. We hope that with this volume, more and more communities will equip themselves with information and be empowered to drive change and lead their communities toward a positive future.