Constructing a health and social indicator framework for indigenous community health research

Elisabeth Marks, Margaret D. Cargo, Mark Daniel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Health and social indicators that capture the distinct historical, social, and cultural contexts of Indigenous communities can play an important role in informing the planning and delivery of community interventions. There is currently considerable interest in cataloguing and vetting meaningful community-level health and social indicators that could be applied to research and health promotion activities in Indigenous communities in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, inclusive of conventional indicators as well as measures developed specifically for use in or with Indigenous communities. To avoid haphazard selection of indicators, and to assure the comprehensiveness and relevance of any given set of indicators, a framework that can accommodate and conceptually classify indicators representing a full range of domains is required. We report here on the development of a conceptual framework, by which Indigenous community indicators, and more general community-level social indicators, can be sorted, catalogued, and systematically classified within four hierarchical levels. The indicator framework was developed across Canada, Australia and New Zealand in consultation with academic researchers and Indigenous community stakeholders, building from established health and social indicator systems. The Indigenous indicator framework permits Indigenous communities, public health researchers, and funding agencies to compare and select the most appropriate indicators for application in specific contexts from the multitude of existing indicators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-110
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes


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