Data and Info

Finding information isn’t the same as using information. There is a process of analysis to take raw facts and shape them into a bigger picture. This is done by a human, not a search engine. This is what I hope to teach you today.

English is a living language, people tend to change it. Words get misused and eventually accepted in their new wrong meaning. This has happened in the case of information science language. Our case in point follows.

The term Data and Information are wrongly interchangeable in modern English. Data is raw, unorganized, unprocessed facts. ie. “That leaf fell and moved it 10 feet in that direction”.

Once data is processed in a context, structure or organization, it becomes information. ie. “The wind is blowing leafs to the north.” To take this information farther, we need to do some analysis.

Analysis

Analysis is broken into two parts:

  • Initial Data Analysis
  • Final Data Analysis

Initial Data Analysis is about data cleanup and then vetting the data, reorganizing and visualizing the data. It is crucial to avoid bias at this stage by avoiding any analysis techniques that aim to answer your original research question. Otherwise, in some cases your data cleanup will taint your data to lean toward the conclusion you want or even fear.

Wizards first rule – People will believe a lie is true if they want it to be true, or if they fear it to be true.” – T. Brooks, Wizards First Rule