The two main types of indicators are Process and Outcome Indicators.
Process Indicators tell us whether the project is delivering as intended. They tell us whether the project is moving in the right direction to achieve its objectives. Process indicators tell us the extent to which we have achieved our objectives. Information on activities - what and how many - and should be collected throughout the project lifespan. Process Indicators can also include a quality aspect - looking at how well activities were carried out.
Outcome Indicators look at the higher-level results - the extent to which the project is meeting its goals or objectives. These Indicators tell us whether the expected change occurred. This type of Indicator is often stated as a percentage, ratio or proportion so we can see what was achieved in relation to the total population.
These can be short-term, mid-term and long-term. For example, in a health project:
- A short-term result (Output) could be a change in knowledge about hygiene. For example, as a result of Activities, the target group has more information / knowledge about the relationship between hygiene and disease, and practices to improve hygiene in food preparation. , e.g. By (DATE), 150 mothers of (LOCATION) have learned (WHAT?).
- A mid-term result (Outcome) could be a change in behaviour: hand-washing, sterilisation of surfaces, etc., e.g. By (DATE), XYZ% of households of (LOCATION) practicing (WHAT?).
- A long-term result could be the Goal of the resulting improvement in children’s health
Indicators can also be Direct or Proxy
Direct Indicators tell us firmly whether the results are being achieved. They are a direct result of an intervention e.g. the levels of savings in a savings and credit program. Typically, Direct Indicators are easier to measure and verify.
Proxy Indicators (sometimes called ‘soft’ or indirect Indicators) are changes which we assume to be related to direct impacts. So, levels of women's savings would be a Proxy Indicator of poverty reduction. Proxy Indicators are often quantitative ways to measure qualitative results.