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What is the difference between Data and Information

Updated Jan 16, 2020

Unlike data, Information serves to be meaningful facts, figures and values that can be used for deriving benefit, creating reports, making decisions or filing away data for historical usage. For instance, “6000” is raw data; however, if it is written as “6000 feet” it becomes useful information for users. As more and more elements are added, higher levels of information can be attained.

The article will be depicting a comparative chart and tabulated points to explain the basis of differentiation in context to data vs information as well. Read on for more.

Data vs Information

Basis of Difference Data Information
Meaning Data refers to raw, unrefined facts and figures. It can be utilised to serve as inputs in any computing system to produce results. It is based on observations and records that are stored in computers. When data is processed, the output thus received is known as information. Information, if reliable and accurate, helps a researcher carry out the proper analysis.
Features Data is available in the form of individual units that possess raw materials only; it does not carry any meaning by itself. Information is a result of processed data; it may contain a group of data that collectively depicts logical meaning.
Dependency Data is not reliant on information. It depends on the sources put to use for its collection. Information is derived from data.
Peculiarity/ Nature Data by itself is vague. It can be categorised as qualitative or quantitative data variables that are useful for developing ideas or conclusions. Information is specific. Generally, it is grouped data that provides news and meaning.
Measurement Data is measurable in the form of bits and bytes. It is in the format of numbers, letters, set of characters, etc. Information is measurable in meaningful terms.
Represented as Data can be collated as tabular data, data tree, graphs, etc. Information is found as ideas, thoughts, references and language based on given data.
Methods of Use Data is collected to be useful. Data, when processed into reliable information, becomes useful.
Use in decision making Data is of no use in decision making when used in its raw form. Information or processed data is handy in decision making.
Level of knowledge Data provides low-level knowledge. The information comprises the second level of knowledge.
Confidentiality Data belongs to an organisation and cannot be sold to the public. Information may be made public if required.
Design Data is not designed to serve the purpose of any specific need or user. Information is specific to the needs and expectations of users as the irrelevant facts/ figures are eliminated in the process of transformation.
Deterioration Data deteriorates with time. Information remains as it is with time.
Types Qualitative and Quantitative data are two types of data. Qualitative Data is formed when the categories available in data are separated and expressed via natural languages. Quantitative Data refers to numerical quantification and includes counts and measurements capable of being represented as numbers. Information types are varied and as per user requirements.
Units of measurement The units of analysis of data Bits, Nibbles, Bytes, TB (Terabytes), kB (kilobytes), GB (Gigabytes), YT (Yottabytes), MB (Megabytes), EB (Exabyte), PT (Petabyte), ZB (Zettabytes), etc. The units of measurement of information are the same as quantity, time, voltage, etc. information occurs in the form of references and ideas.

What is DATA?

The answer to the famous interview question, “what do you mean by data?” is that data is distinguishable information arranged in specific formats. It is derived from the Latin word Datum that means “something given”. Generally, data can be collected in different forms such as letters, a set of characters, numbers, images, graphics, etc.

  • In the language used by computers, data is represented in the form of binary digits or 0’s and 1’s. The bits and bytes of data patterns are interpreted for the sake of serving values or facts.
  • In the earlier days, punched cards were utilised for data storage; they were replaced by hard disks, magnetic tapes, etc.

What is Information?

When the question “what is information?” pops in interviews, the answer is that information in terms of computer language is the result obtained after processing data. Facts and data are capable of being analysed, accessed and used to gain knowledge and derive meaningful conclusions. Information is data that is understandable, relevant, systemised, accurate and timely. The word information has its origin in the verb “informare”[French/middle age English] that relates to the verb inform; further, informis interpreted with the intent to form and develop a specific idea.

  • Information is critical, accurate and meaningful to aid rational decision-making processes.
  • There are several encoding techniques in place for the cause of interpretation and transmission of desired information.
  • Information encryption can be incorporated for increasing the security levels desired for safe transmission and storage of information.

Key difference between information and data

  • Data is raw, unorganised figures and facts that carry no meaning in itself. Data has to be carefully processed to make it meaningful. On the other hand, information refers to a set of data that has been prepared in meaningful ways and as per given requirements.
  • Another essential data and information difference is that data is usually available in its raw form as numbers, letters, set of characters, etc. Conversely, processed data or information is presented in the way of ideas, references, inferences, etc.


In case you still have queries related to what is data and information, then do get back to us in the Comments section below. We will help you understand the meaning of data and information in computer language in more details. Along with the differences in data information, we will help you define data and information with the more profound concept of data and information, examples of data and information, etc. as well.