Featured Resources on Indicators

These tools and frameworks offer diverse information about indicators. This list has been assembled from many sources and fields and annotated by evaluator Suzanne Callahan of Callahan Consulting for the Arts.

Authors: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this 71-page report defines process evaluation and describes the rationale, benefits, key data collection components, and program evaluation management procedures. Within the framework of discussing tobacco use prevention, this paper is a very good primer for process evaluation for readers in a variety of fields. It provides clear and well-presented charts, graphics, principles, and summaries to help guide readers.
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Authors: W.K. Kellogg Foundation and ROI Ventures
Publication Date: August 31, 2008
Resource Format: practical tool
This set of resources is useful to organizations that want to increase their social impact. The Kellogg Foundation asks, “Ever wonder if you are getting through to people?” They offer twelve principles in the Knowledge to Understanding framework that aid in knowledge transfer. An introductory video provides a snapshot of the framework and a report and interactive slideshow provides more depth into all twelve guiding principles.
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Authors: Craig McGarvey
This piece is an excellent primer on how to think about outcomes and the hurdles that may arise in measuring them. It addresses and deals with challenges such as measuring intangibles. Published by GrantCraft (a division of the Ford Foundation), the eleven-page guide is written for grantmakers to describe outcomes-based evaluation. It defines key terms and makes a case for why outcome measurement is important.
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Authors: Mark R. Kramer
Written for funders, this 43-page piece is about social entrepreneurship, its relatively new place in the field of philanthropy, and implications for evaluation. Developed from research with grantees and two dozen interviews with funders, it talks about flexibility, leadership, and risk in funding innovation, and why these are key.
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Authors: Deb Levy, Kathy Brennan
Resource Format: book / article, practical tool
This article from the Social Edge website (a program of the Skoll Foundation) aims to connect practitioners of the social benefit sector to network, learn, and share resources. It provides useful language and concepts about measuring outcomes in the social science field. Written to "social entrepreneurs," the piece explains that qualitative information can be effective in measuring social change, but one needs to be systematic in collecting and using qualitative data to evaluate programs.
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Authors: The Metropolitan Group
Resource Format: practical tool
What is the difference between outputs and outcomes? Between outcomes and impact? “Measuring What Matters: The Challenge of Quantifying Social Change” steers clear of jargon and offers an accessible evaluation framework for practitioners.
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Authors: Chris Dwyer
Resource Format: practical tool
This tool serves as a model to align values, actions, and measures of progress for State Art Agencies. In table form, it lays out a generic base for locating concepts of participation within a framework of concepts of public value and motivating values of different groups. The table can serve as a basis for developing the types of outcomes and measures related to State Art Agencies' actions to broaden, deepen and diversify creators, stewards and spectators/participants.
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Resource Format: book / article
This paper is one of a number of working papers produced for the project “Understanding the drivers of, and value and benefits afforded by, engagement in culture and sport”. The objectives of the project are to define and model the following broad relationships: 1. The impact of policy options and other factors on the level of engagement in sport and culture. 2. The outcome of engagement in sport and culture. 3. The value of these outcomes. This paper focuses on the last of these points.
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Animating Democracy resource
Authors: Mark Valdez
Publication Date: May 23, 2017
Resource Format: practical tool
The Performing Artist Companion to Animating Democracy’s framework, Aesthetic Perspectives: Attributes of Excellence in Arts for Change, offers ideas and insights to help performing artists and performance companies apply the framework to address their needs and interests.  Aesthetic Perspectives aims to enhance understanding and evaluation of creative work at the intersection of arts and community/civic engagement, community development, and justice.
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Animating Democracy resource
Authors: Chris Dwyer
Resource Format: case study, practical tool
The Preliminary Menu encompasses process outcomes (short-term), intermediate outcomes (during the life of the project), and impact (long-term, post-project results) for the Art & Soul Project in Starksboro, VT. Community members and researcher/evaluator Chris Dwyer used the worksheet to clarify what to measure and how.
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Authors: Catherine Ward Thompson, Andrew Patrizio, Alicia Montarzino
Resource Format: practical tool
ixia, the public art think tank, is funded by the Arts Council England and aims to provide guidance on the role of art in the public realm. Through its activities, ixia identifies and challenges restrictive practices which result in limited and missed opportunities for artists working in the public realm. ixia works with artists, policymakers and implementers within the public and private sectors and carries out research, supports events, delivers training, and commissions publications.
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Animating Democracy resource
Authors: Maria Rosario Jackson
Resource Format: book / article, case study
In this 11-page paper based on experience and examples, Jackson lays out in understandable terms a practical and reasonable approach for arts practitioners who are grappling with evaluation of their programs. The piece serves as a reality check for arts practitioners regarding what they can and cannot claim as effects of their programs.
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Authors: Suzanne Callahan
The 171-page book, Singing Our Praises, demystifies evaluation by highlighting glowing examples of how arts presenters have used it to learn about their success. Case studies tell the stories of presenters, artists and funders as they learned about the concept of participatory evaluation and put it into practice. These voices from the field provide real-life experiences, but they also reflect some of the more universal issues that will arise for other arts practitioners.
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Authors: Tomorrows Partners
Resource Format: practical tool
Sparkwise, a new kind of digital dashboard developed by design and innovation firm, Tomorrow Partners, uses visually compelling platforms to share the stories of impact of films and visual media. Measuring the impact of films and visual media is made easier by this all-in-one platform that tracks social media, publicity, and community engagement. Free, cloud-based, and open source, Sparkwise transforms measurements of impact into videos, maps, and graphs that make sharing impact easy and accessible for media artists, funders, stakeholders, and audiences.
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Authors: Innovation Network, Inc. (Innonet)
This 20-page report was produced by Innovation Network – a nonprofit organization that shares planning and evaluation tools and know-how by providing consulting, training, and online tools to help organizations create lasting change in their communities – with support by Annie E. Casey Foundation and The Atlantic Philanthropies. The report examines the current state of advocacy strategy and evaluation practice. It includes a section on the importance of interim measures of success and a list of indicators for advocacy activity.
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Resource Format: case study
The Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation used evaluation and visual engagement techniques to document how “The End of the Line,” a documentary addressing the problem of overfishing our oceans, has impacted the debate in the UK surrounding sustainable fishing practices in England. The foundation conducted multiple entry/exit surveys at movie theaters in London collecting both qualitative and quantitative data, measured social media and press coverage, and conducted follow-up focus groups with the initial survey takers to determine the lasting impact of the film.
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Publication Date: October 11, 2013
Resource Format: database, practical tool, website
Filled with resources, blogs, current events and much more on arts in the prison community; the Prison Art Coalition is a valuable tool to create awareness and promote the arts for the incarcerated.
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Authors: W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Available online as a pdf (or it may be ordered from the Kellogg website for free), this 116-page handbook from the Kellogg Foundation provides a framework for thinking about evaluation as a relevant and useful program tool: “For those with little or no evaluation experience, and without the time or resources to learn more, this handbook can help project staff to plan and conduct an evaluation with the assistance of an external evaluator.” A blueprint for conducting project-level evaluations, this handbook is an excellent resource and was written primarily for project directors who have dir
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Authors: Chris Dwyer
Publication Date: September 26, 2014
Resource Format: practical tool
The Worksheet to Define Indicators with Casemaking in Mind sets up five questions to methodically work through to help clarify and define indicators that matter to targeted stakeholders.
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