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In this article, we derive an a posteriori error estimator for various discontinuous Galerkin (DG) methods that are proposed in (Wang, Han and Cheng, SIAM J. Numer. Anal., 48:708-733, 2010) for an elliptic obstacle problem. Using a key property of DG methods, we perform the analysis in a general framework. The error estimator we have obtained for DG methods is comparable with the estimator for the conforming Galerkin (CG) finite element method. In the analysis, we construct a non-lineardoi:10.1090/s0025-5718-2013-02728-7 fatcat:cmo4uzc7rnhxdjibz4kwx4fhea