Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I know it may be dumb but what is the difference between the following words?

  • information
  • data
  • knowledge
  • science

Especially the difference between data and information? I know it but cannot explain it well to my teacher.

share|improve this question
    
I think these differences are all General Reference. The one OP is most concerned about is frequently referenced in print - "convert data into information", so even if that one is more subtle than the others, it's easy to find examples making the distinction. –  FumbleFingers Nov 12 '12 at 14:05
1  
@FumbleFingers: These are General Reference only in the minds of educated native speakers. Dictionaries don't spell it out. The definitions of all of these are vague enough that they sound like synonyms, but no native speaker would use them interchangeably. –  Mitch Nov 12 '12 at 14:23
    
@Mitch: I never suggested any of the differences would be obvious by comparing dictionary entries - just that "convert/turn data into information" is a common sequence of words. Looking at a few instances would make even that one fairly obvious, I think. –  FumbleFingers Nov 12 '12 at 15:16
add comment

closed as general reference by FumbleFingers, tchrist, JSBձոգչ, StoneyB, MετάEd Nov 12 '12 at 23:17

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

There are slight differences.

Basically, data is gained through experiments and studies. Information is gained through analysis of this data. Knowledge is then gained from the understanding of the information available. Science is all about this process.

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks u sir , nice explanation –  Synxmax Jun 9 '11 at 7:08
add comment

Data are isolated facts without any particular context or interpretation.

Knowledge is an organized and contextualized statement of what we already know.

Information is new knowledge that was unknown previously. Note that what is information to one person may be knowledge to someone else.

Science is a process by which one tries to generate information about how the world works by creating models that account for current knowledge and then using experimentation to obtain data that leads to new information. The new information may either be consistent with the initial model or it may refute the model, leading to the need to refine or replace the model.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Knowledge is what we know. Data is/are the facts of the World. Information allows us to expand our knowledge beyond the range of our senses. We can capture data in information, then move it about so that other people can access it at different times.

share|improve this answer
1  
'Capture'? I'd say information structures data, provides it a meaningful form. –  StoneyB Nov 12 '12 at 13:35
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.