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Examples of Data

Data is basically information, but it exists in many different forms. Generally speaking the modern common usage of the word 'data' refers to statistical and/or computer-based information. The more accurate definition of the word is 'information derived from methodical observation'. If, for example, you count the apples in a box, the figure you get is 'data'.

Data is also systemic and methodically organized. In effect, data is a combination of raw information derived from whatever sources and tabulated and usable forms. Statistics are the classic form of data in its raw form.

In context with any particular issue, all information is referred to as 'data', in whatever form.

For example, information regarding an inventory may include:

  • Existing records of stock
  • Accounts figures for purchases and sales of stock
  • Information gathered from a physical count of stock
  • Information relating to stock orders
  • Information related to defective stock

All of this data is used in different ways to both get an accurate picture of stock and to find any discrepancy in related information. If, for example, accounts figures for purchases and sales are incorrect, the inventory will show details of the discrepancy.

Computer data

Computerized data is data in its various electronic forms. The different types of computerized data include multiple types of information in various different formats. The general term 'data' refers to information in any form in relation to computer-based information.

Data can also refer to elements of information in various forms. For example, a calculator will add numbers as 'raw data' and provide the mathematical answer as information. In both cases the elements used to make the equation and the answer itself are generally categorized as 'data'. This is a hierarchical form of data in which baseline data and information derived from it are created as a series of identifiable steps.