Data refers to information represented in a particular form for purposes of processing or usage. Although interchangeably used with “information,” the extent to which data can be informative to a person is dependent on how new the data is to that person.
Where Is the Concept Applicable?
Data as a concept is mostly linked to scientific research. However, many institutions and organizations collect and store data for various purposes. For instance, business entities collect data on aspects such as stock prices, revenues, profits, and sales. Governmental institutions collect data on literacy rates, unemployment rates, crime rates, among others. Therefore, whether you’re collecting information on why schools in New York City are segregated or you’re trying to find out the rates of corruption, the concept of data will always be there.
How Data Is Collected
There are two main sources through which data can be collected: primary source and secondary source. In primary source, data is first obtained by the researcher. The secondary source, on the other hand, involves obtaining collected data from other sources. An example of secondary data is that which is obtained from a scientific journal.
As mentioned earlier, data only becomes useful once it has been analyzed. There are various methodologies of data analysis, and they include data percolation and data triangulation. Data percolation, for instance, involves articulate data collection, classification, and analysis by use of five possible analysis angles (minimum of three) to ensure the research is as objective as possible. Techniques such as literature reviews, computer simulation, qualitative methods, quantitative methods, and interviews with professionals are used. Once collected, several predetermined steps are applied to “percolate” the data to ensure that only relevant information is extracted.
A Take Away Message
The concept of data is an important aspect of our everyday life. Once it is collected and properly analyzed, data provides important information, which informs the decisions of various institutions, including governmental organizations, business enterprises, and religious entities.