Are you in hurry?
Click here to skip the introduction. And, directly jump over your main concern i.e., difference between data and Information.
You’ll be amazed to know that Data and Information are two such words that exist in the world to create the most dilemma among the people.
Yes? Not exactly!
I might be wrong.
Maybe some other words also exists.
Most people understand that both these words are same and have the same meaning.
They also confused between these two and use it interchangeably.
I sincerely hope that you do not come in the list of those people.
If I’m right, Feel free to bounce back from this article.
There is no need to read this article, because you will already have a better understanding of these terms: Data, Information and the difference between Data and Information.
And, If I’m wrong,
Let’s explore the difference between Data and Infromation.
So, Here we go!
In simple words: Data is a single value or a collection (group) of values, that does not have any significance (importance) or meaning on its own.
A value can either be a single character or a sequence of characters.
The characters may be letters of english alphabets [uppercase (A to Z) or lowercase (a to z)], digits (0-9) and special symbols (@, #, $, %, ^, &, * etc…)
– Each value of a data is called data item or element.
Technically speaking: Data is a raw and isolated facts and figures about an entity (real world objects) or an event that refers to, or represent conditions, ideas, persons and objects.
If you are wondering that what does raw, isolated, facts and figures means here, then let’s have a quick look on these terms:
Raw: The word “Raw” indicates that data have not been processed yet.
Isolated: Being discrete or independent.
Facts: Which we can express in words or description of something.
Figures: Which we can express in numeric values or simply numbers.
We derive data from environment by doing some experiments and observations.
So, Data should be observable and recordable.
Characteristics of Data:
Data is an unorganized, unprocessed, unanalyzed and an uninterrupted entity.
Data is not organized until it is processed and it lacks context (situation/properties) and therefore cannot be interpreted.
And, Due to the fact of unorganized and unprocessed, lack of context and interpretation, data does not give any concrete idea/information about an entity and have no meaning or value and seems random and useless to humans.
So, to make data meaningful and useful to humans it need to be processed.
Generally, Facts and Figures carry something specific but which are not organized in anyway which provide no further information without the context can be considered as data.
Data is measured, collected (recorded), reported and analyzed through observations and experiments, whereupon it can be visualized using images, graphs, tables or other analysis tools.
Data is generally presented in the form of Text, audio, video, images, maps, graphs, music etc.
What is Information ?
Information is nothing but same as that of data but it provides meaning and context to the data.
After processing the data, when its meaning starts to be understood, then it is called information.
It means: When Data is processed, organized, classified, or presented in a given context so as to make it meaningful and useful to the person who observes or receives it, then it is called information.
Information is something that is interpreted, communicated and transmitted by humans or some electronic devices.
It decreases the uncertainty and gives some meaningful idea of some facts and figures about an entity.
To put together, Information is “structured or organized data, which has been processed in such a way that the information now has relevance for a specific purpose or context, and is therefore meaningful and valuable”.
Average of your test scores, Your residential address etc.
Let’s understand what actually Data and Information are with a real world example:
Let’s say I wrote 160198, what is this? Is it data or information?
Some of you might be thinking that this is information and for some this is data.
If you are thinking that this is information, then my question to you is, do you get any complete information about what it is actually talking about.
Doesn’t get. Right?
I’m saying, it is a number.
May be I am saying that this is a roll number, it may also be that I am saying that this is a bank account number.
It can also be that someone has a loan of this much rupees or it can also be that someone has a bank balance of this much amount.
So there’s a lot of assumptions here. Right?
You can’t find any concrete information.
Since you are not getting any concrete information, That’s why it will be called data.
Now we processed it,
Now you must be seeing this, You must be knowing that, this has become a date.
16/01/98 i.e., 16th January 1998.
So what is this now? Is it data or information?
If it is still coming in your mind that this is information,
then my question to you is, so can it be date of birth, yes it can be, can it be data of expiry, it can also be, Could it be the date of journey, it could be, could it be the date of manufacturing, it could also be.
So there’s still a lot of assumptions here,
Still you are not able to access any concrete information from this.
So what is this still, this is data.
Now I processed it again, DOB –
What do you think now, is it data or information?
If you still think that this is information, then you should think, does the date of birth is the same for everyone in the world.
Whose date of birth, still you are not getting any concrete information,
So what will it still be called, it will be called data.
Now I wrote, DOB –
16/01/98 of Mr. Tom. Tom’s date of birth is this.
So is this information, still not information. Why isn’t is?
Because there will be many Mr. Tom in the world whose date of birth can be this.
So what still? Exactly which Tom, which Tom is the one whose date of birth is this, we don’t know.
That’s why this will still be called data, not information.
Now suppose I processed it again.
16/01/98 of Mr. Tom. S/O (son of ) Mr. Mark.
So has this become information now?
This has not become information yet.
Why not because, Tom’s father, who is Mark, whose date of birth is
16/01/98, may be so many in the world.
Let’s say there’s only hundred, then are we able to reach that exact Tom, we are not able to reach.
So it will still be called a data, not information.
Now I processed it further, DOB –
16/01/98 of Mr. Tom. S/O Mr. Mark, R/O (Resident of)
92, Wilson Garden, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India.
So are you now getting complete information from this?
That is, you have a Tom whose father’s name is Mark, his address is: R/O (Resident of)
92, Wilson Garden, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India. His date of birth is
So has this become information now?
YES! 💪 This become information now.
So, now my question to you is that in how many steps you will get the information, that is, how many times the data should be processed so that it will become information.
There is no exact answer to this question, it depends only on, when your requirement is getting fulfilled.
Like if we talk in this case, Here you want Tom whose father’s name is Mark, his address is: R/O (Resident of)
92, Wilson Garden, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India. His date of birth is
So you have to write this whole. Then only you will get the complete information.
If we delete any of these things, suppose we have deleted the address, then you will not be able to get complete information.
What is data and what is information, it depends on the observer (receiver) who receives it.
Let’s say someone from your own city asked your home address, what would you tell him?
Will you tell him your house number, your street and your locality as well as the name of your city?
NO. You don’t need to tell him the name of your city.
Because the city in which you are living, that person is also living in the same city.
The information for that person will only be that, what is your house number, which street do you live in and what is your locality.
Whereas, if a person from any other state asks you for your home address,
Then you will have to tell him your house number, the name of your street and locality as well as the name of your city and state.
Because this person does not know which place you are from and also which state you belong to.
And the person for whom this was information in the previous case is now data for this person in this case.
Because unless you tell him the name of your city and the name of the state, that person will not get any concrete information that, Which place do you actually live in?
And, That’s why I said, What is data and what is information, it depends on the observer (receiver) who receives it.
Difference between Data and Information Table:
|Data is derived form the Latin word "Datum" which means 'something given'. "Datum" is the singular form of 'Data'.||Information is derived from the French verb "Informare" which means to 'inform'.|
|Data may be singular or plural both.|
It depends upon you, you can use "data" as a singular noun or plural noun.
Both will correct according to your particular situation.
|"Information" is uncountable noun.|
|In simple words: Data is a collection of alphabets, numbers and special symbols, that does not have any significance (importance) or meaning on its own.||Information refers to ideas, references and conclusion about something.|
|Technically speaking: Data is a raw and isolated facts and figures about an entity (real world object) that refers to, or represent conditions, observations, ideas, persons and objects.|
And, It lacks a context.
|It is processed, organized, classified and refined data with some meaningful context. Which is derived from a given data.|
|In computers: Data is input.||Information is output.|
|It is collected and visualized.||It is processed data.|
|Does not have any fixed purpose, meaning or use.||Have specific purpose.
And, It is meaningful and useful to humans.
|It need to be processed. |
without processing, It is meaningless and useless to humans.
|It do not need to be processed.|
|It do not need to be accurate, systemize, understandable, relevant and timely.||It should be accurate, systemize, understandable, relevant and timely.|
|It is an unprocessed, unorganized, unanalyzed or an uninterrupted entity.||It is a processed, organized, classified and analyzed data.|
|Data is measured, collected (recorded), reported and analyzed through observations and experiments, whereupon it can be visualized using images, graphs, tables data trees or other analysis tools.||Information can be structured and interpreted using languages, texts, ideas and thoughts.|
|Data is prerequisites for Information.||Information is prerequisites for knowledge.|
|Data alone has no significance.||Information is significant by itself.|
|Data depends upon the sources for collecting data and does not depend on Information.||Information can't exist without data.
And, therefore it depends upon data.
|Data are building blocks (i.e., units) of information.|
Means, Data are a part.
|Information is the whole.
Means, It refers to the completeness of something.
|It is measured in bits (0's and 1's) and bytes (sequences of 8 bits).||It is measured in meaningful units such as quantity, quality, time, accuracy and completeness etc.|
|Data is individual (discrete) entity.||Information is data plus meaning.
(i.e., Information = Data + Meaning)
|Does not give a clear and concrete knowledge/idea about something.||Gives a clear and concrete idea about something.|
|It is low-level knowledge.||It is the second level of knowledge.|
|It alone does not directly helps in decision making.||It directly helps in decision making.|
|Data does not designed keeping in mind 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 interpretation or transformation process.|
|The data collected by any researcher or scientist, may or may not be meaningful and useful.||Information is meaningful, useful and valuable as it is easily available to the researcher for use.|
|Example: Height of all students of your class measured in a random way.||Average height of your class derive from the given data.|
Data and Information in computers:
In the world of computers, data are the inputs, or what you tell the computer to do or save.
Information is the output, or how the computer interprets your data and shows you the requested action or instruction.
The value that you give in the form of input to the computer to do some manipulation (calculation) is known as data.
To do some calculation, data must be processed to produce the required output.
And, If someone wants to store the data in the memory then, he/she can easily store the data in the memory unit (i.e., “RAM” and “ROM”).
The result or the output that generated after processing of data is known as information.
In Computers, Data is represented and measured in terms of binary digits (i.e.,
Types of Data:
Broadly speaking, Data can be divided into two main categories (types):
1. Qualitative data
2. Quantitative data
1. Qualitative data
– Data that describes qualities or characteristics (features) of something is known as qualitative data. These are often found in the form of words or description, symbols and images.
And, the type of data that does not contain any numerical value (i.e., numbers) is also known as qualitative data.
Examples: I am taller than my friend, Mahatma Gandhi was great.
In the above examples, Taller and Great describes qualities of two persons in words, so we can say that these two examples describes qualitative data.
2. Quantitative data
– As the name indicates, Quantitative data are the data which has some quantity.
And, we already know, quantity is measured in terms of numbers. Data which is in the form of questions such as “How many”, “How much” gives the quantitative data.
So, we can say that – Data which measures something in terms of numbers are called quantitative data.
In simple words: These are the data which you can count.
Examples: 2 kg sugar, 5 dozen bananas, 1.5 liters milk.
In the above examples, 2, 5 and 1.5 represents the quantitative data.
Quantitative data can be further divided into two types, namely: Discrete data and Continuous data.
Discrete data represents numerical value which can only be whole numbers (0, 1, 2, 3, …). It does not contain fractional or decimal part.
In simple words, These are the data which you can count in your fingers.
Discrete data contain a finite number of values, such as: Number of days in a month.
Discrete values can’t be divided into smaller parts.
Discrete data remains constant over a particular time interval.
Examples of Discrete data:
Total number of students in your class, Total number of workers working in a company, Number of channels in your TV, etc.
Continuous data represents numerical value which may or may not be whole numbers. It can contain fractional or decimal part.
In simple words, Continuous data are the data which you can’t count in your fingers.
Continuous data refers all possible values between two points.
Example: There are infinite number of possible values between 2 and 3, such as: 2.000001, 2.9, 2.75, 2.23459, etc. But each and every value is always somewhere within the range of 2 and 3.
Continuous data are usually collected from precise measurements.
Continuous data indicates accuracy.
Continuous values can be divided into smaller parts.
Continuous data varies over time and can have different values at any given point.
Examples of Continuous data:
Thickness of a paper, Weight of a micro-particle, Height of all students of your class, etc.
Data Measurement chart:
|Bit (b)||Single binary digit: |
|Nibble||4 bits [Group (sequence) of 4 bits]|
|Byte (B)||8 bits (Group of 8 bits)|
|Kilobyte (KB)||1024 bytes|
|Megabyte (MB)||1024 kilobytes |
|Gigabyte (GB)||1024 megabytes |
|Terabyte (TB)||1024 gigabytes |
|Petabyte (PB)||1024 terabytes |
|Exabyte (EB)||1024 petabytes |
|Zettabyte (ZB)||1024 exabytes |
|Yottabyte (YB)||1024 zettabytes |
In this article, you learned What is Data , What is Information and you also became familiar with the difference between Data and Information with real world examples and many more…
I really hope that you liked my article and got a lot of value from it.
Now, It’s your turn!
If you have any question, feel free to ask in the comment section below right now.