Developing Indicators and Questions


  • To develop research indicators and questions


  • Scrap paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • “Bubble Maps Example” handout (1 per participant)

Prepare Before


Warm Up

What is research design? What are indicators?


Participants will create bubble maps in small groups.

  1. Divide the group into teams of 4-5 youth members. Lay out the framework for your evaluation. For example, if your evaluation is focused on how well an after school program fosters youth development, address the question, “What are the core elements of an ideal program that is set up to support youth development?”
  2. Create a set of questions about evidence based on your framework. For example, if emotional and physical safety are two of your core requirements for youth development, then ask, “How would we know if this organization is emotionally and physically safe for young people?” Put each of these questions at the center of a large piece of paper.
  3. For each question, brainstorm answers and record how ideas branch off from the central question (see example in handout). Ask follow-up questions to pull more details out of the group.


Once participants are done with their maps, have them discuss the following questions in their groups:

  • What ideas connect on the map?
  • What are general themes?
  • What is missing?
  • Based on these themes, what are key indicators?
  • What kinds of data should we consider collecting?


Reorganize the groups so that participants are paired with people from other groups. Have partners analyze their bubble maps and share each other’s work.


Bring the full group back together and have participants share what they discussed. Facilitate a discussion with the following questions:

  • What are the most important questions we must consider moving forward?
  • What portion of this activity was challenging for you?

As a full group, generate one bubble map that incorporates as many ideas as possible.