DATA (/ˈdeɪtə/ DAY-tə , /ˈdætə/ DA-tə , or /ˈdɑːtə/ DAH-tə ) is a set of values of qualitative or quantitative variables . An example of qualitative data would be an anthropologist 's handwritten notes about his or her interviews with indigenous people . Pieces of data are individual pieces of information . While the concept of data is commonly associated with scientific research , data is collected by a huge range of organizations and institutions, including businesses (e.g., sales data, revenue, profits, stock price ), governments (e.g., crime rates , unemployment rates , literacy rates) and non-governmental organizations (e.g., censuses of the number of homeless people by non-profit organizations).
* 1 Etymology and terminology * 2 Meaning * 3 In other fields * 4 See also * 5 References * 6 External links
ETYMOLOGY AND TERMINOLOGY
The first English use of the word "data" is from the 1640s. Using the word "data" to mean "transmittable and storable computer information" was first done in 1946. The expression "data processing" was first used in 1954.
The Latin word data is the plural of datum, "(thing) given," neuter
past participle of dare "to give".
Data, information , knowledge and wisdom are closely related
concepts, but each has its own role in relation to the other, and each
term has its own meaning.
Before the development of computing devices and machines, only people could collect data and impose patterns on it. Since the development of computing devices and machines, these devices can also collect data. In the 2010s, computers are widely used in many fields to collect data and sort or process it, in disciplines ranging from marketing , analysis of social services usage by citizens to scientific research. These patterns in data are seen as information which can be used to enhance knowledge. These patterns may be interpreted as "truth " (though "truth" can be a subjective concept), and may be authorized as aesthetic and ethical criteria in some disciplines or cultures. Events that leave behind perceivable physical or virtual remains can be traced back through data. Marks are no longer considered data once the link between the mark and observation is broken.
Mechanical computing devices are classified according to the means by which they represent data. An analog computer represents a datum as a voltage, distance, position, or other physical quantity. A digital computer represents a piece of data as a sequence of symbols drawn from a fixed alphabet . The most common digital computers use a binary alphabet, that is, an alphabet of two characters, typically denoted "0" and "1". More familiar representations, such as numbers or letters, are then constructed from the binary alphabet. Some special forms of data are distinguished. A computer program is a collection of data, which can be interpreted as instructions. Most computer languages make a distinction between programs and the other data on which programs operate, but in some languages, notably Lisp and similar languages, programs are essentially indistinguishable from other data. It is also useful to distinguish metadata , that is, a description of other data. A similar yet earlier term for metadata is "ancillary data." The prototypical example of metadata is the library catalog, which is a description of the contents of books.
Gathering data can be accomplished through a primary source (the researcher is the first person to obtain the data) or a secondary source (the researcher obtains the data that has already been collected by other sources, such as data disseminated in a scientific journal). Data analysis methodologies vary and include data triangulation and data percolation . The latter offers an articulate method of collecting, classifying and analyzing data using five possible angles of analysis (at least three) in order to maximize the research's objectivity and permit an understanding of the phenomena under investigation as complete as possible: qualitative and quantitative methods, literature reviews (including scholarly articles), interviews with experts, and computer simulation. The data are thereafter "percolated" using a series of pre-determined steps so as to extract the most relevant information.
IN OTHER FIELDS
Though data is also increasingly used in other fields, it has been suggested that the highly interpretive nature of them might be at odds with the ethos of data as "given". Peter Checkland introduced the term capta (from the Latin capere, “to take”) to distinguish between an immense number of possible data and a sub-set of them, to which attention is oriented. Johanna Drucker has argued that since the humanities affirm knowledge production as "situated, partial, and constitutive," using data may introduce assumptions that are counterproductive, for example that phenomena are discrete or are observer-independent. The term capta, which emphasizes the act of observation as constitutive, is offered as an alternative to data for visual representations in the humanities.
This article is based on material taken from the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing prior to 1 November 2008 and incorporated under the "relicensing" terms of the GFDL , version 1.3 or later.
* ^ The pronunciation /ˈdeɪtə/ DAY-tə is widespread throughout
most varieties of English. The pronunciation /ˈdætə/ DA-tə is
chiefly Irish and North American . The pronunciation /ˈdɑːtə/
DAH-tə is chiefly Australian , New Zealand , and South African . Each
pronunciation may be realized differently depending on the
dialect/language of the speaker.