European Survey of Information Society


Home   Structure of ESIS   Background to the ESIS Project   Project Management Contacts   Lead and local Contractors   History of ESIS
Indicator (statistics)

In statistics and research design, an indicator is an observed value of a variable, or in other words "a sign of a presence or absence of the concept being studied".
For example, if a variable is religiosity, and a unit of analysis is an individual, then that one of potentially more numerous indicators of that individual's religiosity would be whether they attend religious services; others - how often, or whether they donate money to religious organizations.
Numerous indicators can be aggregated into an index.
The complexity of biological systems makes evaluating them a challenge. Bioindicators, such as indicator bacteria, are ecological indicators, sometimes requiring further consideration of environmental indicators. In public health study, one relies on health indicators. In a given locality, community indicators inform planners, while the design quality indicator can be the basis of building permits. Assessment of social conditions relies on sustainability indicators or the genuine progress indicator. Standard measurements are given in the OECD Main Economic Indicators. Individual psychological preferences are assessed with the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator.