Updated May 17, 2023
Difference Between Data vs Information
In short and simple words, Data stands for facts and figures, which may contain bits of information, complete information, or no information. Now coming to information, when data are processed, interpreted, organized, structured, and presented, it makes sense for which one needs the information, only it is called information. Information is described as the form of data that is processed, organized, specific, structured, and represented to infer some meaningful information as per need. This information adds meaning and improves the reliability of the data, ensuring understandability and reducing uncertainty. To transform or extract information from data, one has to make it free from unnecessary details or immaterial things with some value as needed.
Since Data needs to be interpreted and analyzed to extract the information, it may be misinterpreted, which leads to erroneous conclusions; thus, such information inferred from data is said to be that the data are misleading. This scenario is primarily due to incomplete data or a lack of context.
For example, your investment in share markets is common nowadays. So before investing, one has to extract information from the data available, which may be wrong and cost the investor a loss; there could be many reasons behind it. Still, in context to our topic, the reasons could be that the data available are incomplete or lack context.
One more instance we can take, for example, a list of dates can be called Data which is meaningless without the information we could extract from the data like the list of holidays or the list of the weekend or national holidays as per the need.
Similarly, the history of temperature readings for any place is called data. If the same data is organized and analyzed and then presented to find the maximum and minimum temperatures for a duration as per the requirement, then we can call it information.
We can bifurcate data as followings:
1. Primary Data
- Qualitative Data
- Quantitative Data
2. Secondary Data
- Internal Data
- External Data
Head-to-Head Comparison Between Data vs Information (Infographics)
Below are the top 15 differences between Data vs Information:
Key Differences Between Data vs Information
Let us discuss some of the major differences between Data vs Information:
- Data are the raw facts gathered in any condition, event, idea, entity or anything else one needs to conclude any information.
- The facts that we conclude from a particular event or subject for which we filter the data by eliminating the useless data and keeping the necessary data that form the information.
- Data could be anything like simple text or numbers
- Information is the processed and interpreted form of data.
- Data is unorganized, randomly collected facts and figures that could be processed to conclude as needed.
- The organized form of the same data that make sense is called information.
- Data are collected based on observations and records, stored in computers, on paper, or by some other means.
- The proper analysis makes information more reliable by converting data into meaningful insight.
Data vs Information Comparison Table
Let us discuss the comparison between Data vs Information as follows.
|Basis of Comparison||Data||Information|
|Description||Raw facts and figures help to develop ideas or conclusions.||Findings/Analysis from data which make meaningful information as per the need.|
|Format||It could be in the form of characters, letters, numbers, or anything.||Ideas and inferences are extracted from data and properly arranged.|
|Representation||Structure, tabular data, images, color codes, or anything.||The language with graphs as per the need.|
|Meaning||Does not have any meaning.||It has a proper meaning.|
|Interrelation||Collection of information.||We process it from data.|
|Feature||Data is in raw form and does not make any sense.||Collection of data after filtering out irrelevant data, which makes sense.|
|Dependency||No dependency.||It depends on the data.|
|UOM||Measured in bits or bytes or kilobytes and so on.||We measure it on the aspect of time, quality, etc.|
|Support for Decision Making||You cannot use it for decision-making.||They are used for decision-making.|
|Contains||Raw data.||Meaning information.|
|Knowledge Level||Low level||Medium level.|
|Characteristic||Some data are classified to the organization and restricted to public distribution. However, some data are available to the public also.||Available for sale, which has some importance to the public.|
|Significance||Data alone has no importance.||It is significant by itself.|
|Usefulness||It may or may not be helpful because it contains irrelevant data.||The usefulness and value of information stem from the inferences drawn from data.|
|Example||Data about the temperature of a particular region.||Data analysis makes the information valuable to infer facts like the maximum or the minimum temperature of a day for a month.|
So we can conclude the discussion with the point that Data is unorganized information, and information is what we get after processing and analyzing data. Both data vs information terms are very close. Concerning technicality, data means input used to generate some meaningful full output, which we call information.
Data are facts and descriptions from which information can be extracted. Alone, data have no meaning. One has to filter the data to get the correct information from the data to get the information, Data is just a collection of numbers, words, and symbols, or it could be anything from which information could be extracted by analyzing it. Data does not make any sense, but information removed from it makes sense, as discussed.
Data is, again, raw and unorganized facts and figures that require processing to make it meaningful, called information.
We learned that data could be anything and may or may not contain valuable information, which requires analysis to extract useful insights from it. Data alone has no significance, but information has.
Information has a dependency on data, but data has no dependency.
This has been a guide to Data vs Information. Here we have discussed Data vs Information head-to-head comparison, key differences, infographics, and comparison table. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –