What is the difference between data and information?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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In the senses in which you are using the terms, data would stand for a random collection of facts and information for data that has been analysed or sorted in some way to make it meaningful.

Imagine that I am standing on a street corner and see someone wearing a tan raincoat. A bit later, I see another person wearing a black raincoat. Those are two data points. For most people they are not particularly meaningful.

Now, imagine that I am a fashion retailer and hire a group of people to record the colours of coats being worn by people of both genders in all of the cities in which I have outlets, and collate that data to discover that 75% of men were wearing tan and 58% of women black raincoats, and that women in southern cities wore lighter colour raincoats than women in northern cities. That is useful information derived from the data that I could use in deciding on marketing and retailing strategies for rain coats and other rain accessories in those cities.

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