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The Definition and Differences:

Generally believed that the terms “data” and “information” can be interchangeably and that data and information often mean the same thing. Contrary to this notion; bot the terms mean different things and signify different concepts.

Data is a Variable. The term data can mean anything from a numerical, symbol, equation or statistics. If not situated in a particular field or concept, random bits of data might mean nothing to us.

Whereas, Information is nothing but data put in a context. The Information is utilized and contextualized by humans in a quiet significant way. A good example of a site of information is a computer. A computer (functioning as site of information) utilizes the data fed: programming language, equation or software applications to convert and ameliorate data into information.

Key differences between Data and information is explained using analogies

Data and Information: the key difference

Key Differences:

What is Data?

Data is the complete list of facts and details like text, observations, figures, symbols and description of things. It is the raw list of facts that becomes processed to gain information. The basic concept of data is associated with scientific research collected by different research organizations.

What is Information?

Information is the processed, organized and structured data. It provides context for data. However, both the terms get used together, information can be easily understood than data. In simplified terms, we can conclude that data is unorganized description and facts from which information can be extracted.

Let us now take a look at the important differences between data and information in the list below:

  • Description

Qualitative or Quantitative Variables which helps to develop ideas or conclusions.

Information is a group of data which carries news and meaning.

  • Etymology

Data comes from a Latin word, datum, which means “To give something.” Over a time “data” has become the plural of datum.

Information word has old French and middle English origins. It has referred to the “act of informing.”. It is mostly used for education or other known communication.

  • Format

Data is in the form of numbers, letters, or a set of characters.

Ideas and inferences

  • Represented as

Data can structured, tabular data, graph, data tree, etc.

Language, ideas, and thoughts based on the given data.

  • Meaning

Data does not have any specific purpose.

It carries meaning that has been assigned by interpreting data.

  • Interrelation

Information that is collected

Information that is processed.

  • Feature

Data is a single unit and is raw. It alone doesn’t have any meaning.

Information is the product and group of data which jointly carry a logical meaning.

  • Dependence

It never depends on Information

It depended on Data.

  • Measuring unit

Measured in bits and bytes.

Measured in meaningful units like time, quantity, etc.

  • Support for Decision making

It can’t be used for decision-making

It is widely used for decision-making.

  • Constituted of

Unprocessed raw factors

Processed in a meaningful way

  • Knowledge level

It is low-level knowledge.

It is the second level of knowledge.

  • Characteristics

Data is the property of an organization and is not available for sale to the public.

Information is available for sale to the public.

  • Dependency

Data depends upon the sources for collecting data.

Information depends upon data.

  • Example

Ticket sales on a band on tour.

Sales report by region and venue. It gives information which venue is profitable for that business.

  • Significance

Data without context has no significance

Information is significant by itself.

  • Meaning

Data is based on records and observations and, which are stored in computers or remembered by a person.

Information is considered more reliable than data. It helps the researcher to conduct a proper analysis.

  • Usefulness

The data collected by the researcher, may or may not be useful.

Information is useful and valuable as it is readily available to the researcher for use.

  • Dependency

Data is never designed to the specific need of the user.

Information is always specific to the requirements and expectations because all the irrelevant facts and figures are removed, during the transformation process.

Below you will find, frequently asked questions and their Answers to help you understand Data and Information better:

1)What is data? Explain with an example.

Data is the raw, unorganized, unprocessed information. For ex. the information collected for writing a research paper is data until it is presented in an organized manner. Data is a raw and unorganized fact that required to be processed to make it meaningful. Data can be simple at the same time unorganized unless it is organized. Generally, data comprises facts, observations, perceptions numbers, characters, symbols, image, etc.

Data is always interpreted, by a human or machine, to derive meaning. So, data is meaningless. Data contains numbers, statements, and characters in a raw form.

2)What is information?

Information is the processed, organized data that is beneficial in providing useful knowledge. For ex. the data compiled in an organized way in a research paper provides information about a particular concept.

3)What is valid information?

Valid information is something that is reliable. The information that has been checked and verified for a purpose is valid information.

4)What are the different types of data?

Data is usually of two types:

Qualitative data: It is the non-numerical data. For ex. texture of the skin, color of eyes, etc.

Quantitative data: Quantitative data is given in numbers. Data in the form of questions such as “how much”, “how many”, gives the quantitative data.

Qualitative data: It is the non-numerical data. For example, texture of the skin, color of eyes, etc.

Quantitative data: Quantitative data is given in numbers. Data in the form of questions such as “how much”, “how many”, gives the quantitative data.