Research Handbook on Community Development
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Research Handbook on Community Development

Edited by Rhonda Phillips, Eric Trevan and Patsy Kraeger

This timely Research Handbook offers new ways in which to navigate the diverse terrain of community development research. Chapters unpack the foundations and history of community development research and also look to its future, exploring innovative frameworks for conceptualizing community development. Comprehensive and unequivocally progressive, this is key reading for social and public policy researchers in need of an understanding of the current trends in community development research, as well as practitioners and policymakers working on urban, rural and regional development.
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Chapter 16: Social indicator projects for rural communities: the case of the Northwoods Quality of Life Database

Brandon Hofstedt


Community indicators are increasingly gaining popularity within the community of science, among practitioners, and by the broader public. Currently, there are a number of attempts across the United States and elsewhere to organize, analyse and share important community level data. In this chapter, I describe the work underway by the Center for Rural Communities at Northland College related to the Northwoods Quality of Life (NWQoL) database. NWQoL is comprised of a collection of primary and secondary data and focused on overall quality of life in rural communities. I begin with a brief introduction to social indicators projects, followed by an account of specific community and county level indicator projects underway in the United States. I then turn my attention to rural communities and highlight NWQoL focusing on its conceptual framework, geographic scope, technical organization and data collection processes. I end the chapter by discussing the ultimate use and purpose of a database.

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