Data, Information, and Knowledge

Compare and Contrast Data, Information, and Knowledge in an Information System

University of Phoenix


“Data items can be numbers, letters, figures, sounds, and images (Rainer Jr. & Prince, 2005).” Using the Big Bank scenario children assigned to one of the three rooms is based on data, the room number would be listed as a numeric value, and by itself has no context. Also, employees can have multiple children enrolled in the daycare center which is also listed as a numeric value with no context on its own. Therefore, these two scenarios should fall under the data category.


Information in a system “refers to data that have been organized so that they have meaning and value to the recipient (Rainer Jr. & Prince, 2005).” In the Big Bank scenario with how the employees and children are identified should fall under the information category. The context would be something like Employee ID# + name + phone number + work location = information. And for the children, the context would be DOB + name + gender = information.


“Knowledge consists of data and/or information that have been organized and processed to convey understanding (Rainer Jr. & Prince, 2005).” Tracking and reviewing the children’s dietary restrictions should defiantly convey understanding, so, this scenario should be categorized in the knowledge category. Data and information can both be found in this scenario.

Why does it matter if an information system developer mixes up the terms?

The “data-information-knowledge-wisdom hierarchy (Weinberger, 2010)” would become distorted causing errors with how the information is collected within the system.

What consequences might result if the terms were interpreted improperly?

Confusion would most likely occur for any analyst looking to gain knowledge from the “data-to- information transformation (Weinberger, 2010)” rendering the data useless because it will not make sense.


Rainer Jr., K. R., & Prince, B. (2005). Introduction to Information Systems. Wiley.

Weinberger, D. (2010, February 02). The Problem with the Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom Hierarchy. Retrieved from Harvard Business Review: info-is-not