Data and information are mostly misunderstood and people use either of the words to mean the same thing. However, data and information are two different things. They are related in such a way that, information is processed data. These two are pretty much different in a number of ways that we will discuss in depth in this article. Information actually features a message that can be interpreted courtesy of a sequence of symbols. Data is often inaccurate; in fact, it stands for values of variables belonging to a set of items whereas information is more accurate about a specific matter.
There are many types of data, some of them are: natural, transport, geographical, cultural, scientific, financial, statistical and meteorological. The difference between data and information with examples is well elaborated below.
Difference between Data and Information in research
Majority of people ask are data and information interchangeable terms? Below are the answers to these questions;
1. Data is unprocessed information
As noted before, data and information are interrelated. However, data most commonly refers to unprocessed information. This means that it is in its most pure form and has not gone through any sort of analysis or processing of any sort. Information is generally data that has been analysed or processed. It basically gives insights about specific matters of importance. Therefore, we can freely say that information comes forth as a result of data.
2. Data is considered as input and information is output
Data is taken to be the input given a computer system where as the information is taken to be the output of the data. This is because data is simply useless in itself until it is processed in order to obtain the meaning. This is why information is assumed to be the human representation of data. Data involves the inclusion of facts and figures which have not yet been processed while information is purely dependent on data.
3. Data is made of figures and facts, information is readable
This means that there can be no information with the absence of data, which is the reason why information wholly depends on data. However, data is as a result of facts and figures which have been encoded to have some meaning no matter how useless it is on its own.
4. Data is unspecific, information is specific
The other difference is that data is unspecific while information is a bit more specific. This means that there are many possibilities which can be formed by data since it has no specifics defining it. This helps to distinguish between data and information.
5. Data is independent but information is dependent
Another outstanding difference is that data is independent of the information but information is wholly dependent on the data. This is the basic concept that proves that data is processed to give forth information whereas the information does not define data since there are different other possibilities of data which may give a different message in terms of information.
6. Data is a single unit but information is a group of data
Data is a single unit whereas information features a group of data which contains news and meaning. Information is mostly a combination of data which is gathered to make sense in order to pass on a message. However, data is as simple as it is; there are no other units apart from the single one that it discloses to form information. This is a good definition of data vs information.
7. Data has no meaning but information gives meaning
Data holds no meaning whatsoever, whereas, information has a logical meaning. This means that data is in itself insignificant and cannot be used in itself. Information, nonetheless, is of essence since one is able to get the message once information is clearly understood with respect to the recipient intended to receive it. Data is more of the unprocessed material in its pure form while information is the processed material which is as a result of the analysis and processing.
Finally, data and information are two different entities. The two terms cannot be used to mean the same thing. This is because data is unprocessed information. A document that any person reads is information but the data is made of small units and information is a combination of data. We hope that all questions on differences between data and information have been answered properly.
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