Data, information and knowledge
Professional Monitoring and Evaluation is based on hard facts: data, information, knowledge and understanding. Let us take a closer look at these concepts:
WHAT IS DATA?
As you will know, data is a collection of objective facts, such as numbers, words, images, measurements, observations or even just descriptions of things. In other words: Data is chunks of raw facts about the state of the world.
For example: crime rates, unemployment statistics, but also handwritten notes of interviews, or a recorded description of an observation.
Data is raw, unorganized and lacks context. To be useful, it needs to be turned into information.
WHAT IS INFORMATION?
Information is data that has meaning and purpose. It can help us understand what is happening.
For example: the noises that I hear are data. The meaning of these noises – for example a running car engine – is information.
WHAT IS KNOWLEDGE?
Information can serve to create knowledge. Knowledge can instruct how to do something.
And finally, knowledge can be turned into understanding that explains why it is happening.