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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a dashboard?

A dashboard a way of presenting data on a variety of subjects at once in an understandable way. For the Engage Springfield dashboard, this means presenting a snapshot of several factors which affect the Springfield community. This can help Springfield residents become aware of the strengths of their community, while also being realistic about the ways in which Springfield can improve. We hope that this project inspires further research into the trends we make accessible.

What is the purpose of Engage Springfield?

The purpose of Engage Springfield is to make data accessible that will be helpful for the Springfield community. For example, certain trends on the website could inspire future research at Wittenberg University, providing an opportunity to deepen the relationship between students and Springfield. In addition, being aware of the areas Springfield can improve can help local funding agencies decide where to place funds, or provide citizens with opportunities to become engaged.

Where do your data come from?

Every data page has a “Notes about the Data” section which will include a link to the original data source. In most cases, data is pulled directly from the source website, but in some cases we do include additional calculations. In most cases, any additional calculations will be briefly described in the “Notes about the Data” section.

How did you choose your key indicators?

We made the final decision for which metrics would be made into dashboard indicators. These decisions were informed by a number of factors. For most topic areas we met with community leaders and asked which trends people in the community seemed most interested in. We were also limited to only those data which were available to us, either publicly available or made available through a community partner. Finally, as the dashboard is intended to be used by the community, we also collected some early community feedback on the dashboard to determine if the indicators we had decided on would be beneficial for them to have available. After weighing these factors, we decided on the current 24 key indicators.

Will the key indicators change?

The key indicators will change whenever a new trend proves to be more useful to the Springfield community than a trend currently on the dashboard. As the dashboard continues to evolve every year, more data may become available that more accurately help to “tell the story” of Springfield, for example. However, all trends will be housed on the data page even if they are removed from the dashboard itself.

Why did you not include 45502?

The ZIP Codes 45503, 45504, 45505, and 45506 were chosen because they most easily demonstrate the difference between the North, South, East, and West sides of the city. 45502 forms a circle around the city of Springfield, making it more difficult to classify in terms of geographic area.

Why are graduates under Demographics and not Education?

Several measures on the website could be counted as more than one category, but we decided to group metrics according to where they best fit by our definitions. For example, high school graduates are a percentage of the population – a characteristic of our community, the definition for our Demographics section.

What are the defining features of each category?

Demographics measure characteristics of the community. Factors which mostly stay the same for each person – once a person has graduated from high school, they will always have done so. Households and Families are all those metrics whose unit of analysis is either a household or a family. Economy and the Workforce are either broad economic measures such as GDP or measures unique to individuals such as people in poverty. Crime and Safety are statistics specifically measuring the rate and number of reported crimes or calls for service. Education shows measures of educational performance such as graduation rate as well as information about school districts such as spending per pupil. Public Health are those factors which determine the community’s access to healthcare, health predictors, and health outcomes. Environment measures are concerning quality of natural resources. Civic Engagement are measures of community participation and connection.

I can’t find a specific post. Where should I look?

First, try searching for the post you’re looking for under our main menu. If the trend you’re looking for isn’t there, try using our Contact Us page to ask us about the trend directly, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. We can’t promise that every data trend will be available, but we will work with you to the best of our ability.

Can you prove that one trend is causing another?

Based only on the data that we have on the website, it would be impossible for us to prove any causal relationship. Many of the trends come from separate places, use different samples of the population, or use surveys to make estimates that can’t be compared in this way.

Where do your pictures come from?

The community pictures on the website are provided by Rod Hatfield.