What is SMART?

When we develop a question that we are interested in answering, we want to make our question become one that we can investigate scientifically.  And to do that, we want to make our question SMART – which is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic/Relevant and Timely.

Here is what each of those words mean when we are developing our question:

Specific
Does the question focus on one thing you can easily investigate nearby?  Will it be easy to plan a way to investigate the question?

Measurable
Will the data collected be something that can be counted or measured with a specific tool or instrument?

Attainable
Will it be easy for you or someone you know to collect the data?

Realistic/Relevant
Will the investigation be possible in the time you have and with the people and equipment available?  Is the question important to your community?

Timely
Is the question relevant to your community right now? Does the question have a set period of time or an endpoint?


Here is an example of a SMART question:

How does the number of species of crabs caught in fishermen’s traps in Hatchet Cove change in March through April in 2021?

Specific – caught in fishermen’s nets in Hatchet Cove

Measurable – number of species

Attainable – fishermen can provide us a count

Realistic/Relevant – we want to see what the number of species are in our location

Timely – March through April 2021

How can I help a friend make their question SMARTer?

When you add a comment on a friends iWonder Question, you can tell them which of the SMART categories their question meets by just ticking to boxes for those categories before you comment and clicking the red ‘CAST MY VOTE’ button.  Then you can make a helpful suggestion in the comments on what they could do to make the question SMARTer.

How can I make my question SMARTer

Your WeatherBlur friends and colleagues will vote on your iWonder question and offer suggestions on how you can make the question smarter.  

How to edit an iWonder question on WeatherBlur.com

  • Be sure you are logged in.
  • Go to the ‘My Account” page.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page.  You will see all your iWonder questions listed.
  • Click “Edit” next to the question you want to edit.
  • Make the changes you need then click the red “Update your question” button.
  • Your question is now updated…and you can see all the edits made when you see the question back on  the iWonder page