Indicator factsheets

The role of these indicator policy fact sheets is to provide basic, comparable and easy to digest information on a range of alternative indicators. They have been developed within the BRAINPOoL project, drawing on interviews with indicator producers and promoters, desk-based analysis of web pages, reports and scientific papers and from our own media analysis.

Rather than provide detailed information on methodology the fact sheets aim to concisely inform potential users about: the approach and intentions of the indicator’s producers/promoters, the scientific basis and relevance of the indicator to different audiences, and aspects of the indicator’s impact/success in different types of media.

As well as demonstrating the broad array and diversity of alternative indicators on offer we hope this information helps policy makers explore or identify the right indicators necessary for their decision making. These fact sheets could also serve the media and business sectors interested in supplementing their analysis with alternative data or indeed members of the general public wishing to become more informed and engaged on issues of well-being, progress or sustainability.

Indicator factsheets

Name of indicator/indicator initiative Link
Better Life Index
DEFRA Sustainable Development Indicator Set  
Domestic Material Consumption  
Ecological Footprint  
Eurostat Sustainability Indicator Set
Gallup-Healthways Well-being-Index  
Gross Domestic Product  
SPIRAL (Council of Europe)  
Gross National Happiness  
Happy Life Years  
Human Development Index  
Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare  
Jacksonville Community Indicators  
Measuring National Well-being Programme  
QUARS (Regional Indicator of Quality of Development)  
United Nations Sustainable Development Indicators  

Example factsheet

Name of indicator/index: Title/name of the indicator (including acronym)

Organization/author: The indicator provider/developer

Year created/periodicity/latest publication: First publication/frequency/ latest official publication

Brief description: Conceptual and methodological foundations

Country coverage: Geographical scope (number of countries involved in results)

Style of presentation: A visual example of how the indicator presents its data in a way that makes important trends easy to see (e.g. through graphs, charts or maps).

‘Indicator factors’ from a public perspective: An indicator with high public relevance will provide information that responds to people’s concerns in an appealing and accessible way. In this section we answer a question that is pertinent in this regard: How often does the indicator appear in public media (newspapers, magazines and wire feeds). The ratio between public and expert media reveals if the indicator is communicating more to the lay public or to experts. Figures are accompanied by information about who the main users of the indicator are and by what means the indicator addresses its audience.

‘Indicator factors’ from a policy perspective: This section aims to describe how pertinent or applicable the indicator is from a policy perspective. This includes the overall attributes of data publication over time (distribution or trend analysis), identification of the main audience and an indicator’s legitimacy (e.g. is it authoritative, impartial, and responding to the interests of all major stakeholders).

‘Indicator factors’ from a scientific perspective: This section summarises the scientific foundations of the indicator – who developed it, whether it is a new or established methodology, the publishing and review process and data quality. The table shows the total amount of expert media coverage (scholarly journals, trade journals, reports, thesis and dissertations, and books).

Media results in the Fact sheets: Our analysis has produced three figures on media coverage – total number of results, amount of public media coverage and amount of expert media coverage. The total number of media results is used as a general proxy for the current impact/success of the indicator (at least in terms of awareness). The ratio between public and expert media reveals its success at reaching different audiences. A chart showing the trends in media coverage since its launch is also a part of each selected indicator fact sheet. It enables, for example, a connection to be made between the appearance of the indicator in the media and a specific political process or situation, as well as tracking its general coverage over time. Besides providing interesting information about each indicator, the data from the media analysis also enable comparisons between indicators.