"Showing the Context": A Need for Oligopticonic Information Systems in Homelessness Measurement Journal Article uri icon



  • Organizations like businesses, governments, and nonprofits often have established milestones to stay focused on their strategic goals. However, public and social sector organizations often have goals that are difficult to measure. To better understand how data can be more sensitively appropriated in difficult-to-measure contexts, we conducted design workshops with 25 individuals with a stake in how homelessness is measured - including funders, staff and people experiencing homelessness. This study provides a detailed account of how diverse stakeholders measure progress towards these often difficult and vague goals. We found that the approaches to data collection fall under either the sociocentric perspective (which seeks to answer questions about community-level impact) or the egocentric perspective (which focuses more on the experience of the individual experiencing homelessness). We argue that in contexts where goals are vague and difficult to observe or measure, collaborative information systems should be approached by combining the sociocentric and egocentric perspectives into an oligopticon, rather than focusing only on the sociocentric perspective (which can be understood as a panopticon). As we outline, oligopticonic information systems have the capacity to deal with more diverse types of data and experiences by embracing the requirements that we have outlined.

publication date

  • April 14, 2023

has restriction

  • closed

Date in CU Experts

  • October 17, 2023 6:52 AM

Full Author List

  • Bopp C; Voida A

author count

  • 2

Other Profiles

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2573-0142

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 24


  • 7


  • CSCW1