Information system, dataset, indicator

An information system is a system of interrelated components that work together for collecting, processing, storing and disseminating information amongst stakeholders/beneficiaries to support decision-making, coordination, control, analysis and visualisation (e.g. DHIS-2; National Statistics Office repository; DHS platform).

A dataset is a file that contains all the individual records of one specific survey (e.g. DHS survey in country “X” of 2005). A dataset can be available in one or more information systems. For example, the Niger DHS survey of 2012 can be found in the STATcompiler information system (DHS official platform) and in the information system of the National Statistical Office of Niger.

An indicator is calculated based on one or more variables from a dataset.
The same indicator can be found in different datasets but may or may not be comparable because:

  • The definition of the indicator is not exactly the same. For example, the definition of some indicators of DHS surveys have evolved over time.
  • The survey sampling methodology is different.