Use measures, indicators or metrics

As part of an evaluation, it is often important to either develop or use existing indicators or measures of implementation and/or results.

Using an existing indicator or measure can have the advantage of producing robust data which can be compared to other studies, as long as it is appropriate.

Considerable  work has been done to develop measures and indicators that can be used for the outcomes of development projects.

The terms “measure”, “metric” and indicator” are often used interchangeably and their definitions vary across different documents and organisations. Hence, it is always useful to check what these terms mean in specific contexts. 

Terms that are commonly associated with measurements include:

  • target is the value of an indicator expected to be achieved at a specified point in time. Often a benchmark is used to mean the same thing.
  • An index is a set of related indicators which intend to provide a means for meaningful and systematic comparisons of performance across programmes that are similar in content and/or have the same goals and objectives.
  • standard is a set of related indicators, benchmarks or indices which provide socially meaningful information regarding performance.



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