Data - Term Overview

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A data is the representation of a variable that can be quantitative or qualitative that indicates a value that is assigned to things and is represented through a sequence of symbols, numbers or letters.

The data describe empirical facts. To examine them, they must be organized or tabulated, since a piece of data by itself can't demonstrate too much, but the whole must be evaluated to examine the results.


The databases are made up of a set of data classified according to criteria and stored on a medium (digital or not) in order to be consulted and accessed simply and quickly. The data can be generated automatically and cumulatively with computer programs or entered manually.

The data that is entered in a database can be of various types depending on the information that is accumulated in that database. For example: an employee database includes the personal information (name, telephone number, address) of all the members of a company or organization.

Data in computing

Informatics data is the general expression that describes those characteristics of the entity on which it operates.

The function of programs and applications is data processing, since each programming language has a set of data from which it works. All the information that enters and leaves a computer does so in the form of data.

Inside files there are data that are smaller packages of other data called records (gathered by the same or similar characteristics).

Type of data

In programming it's essential to determine the type or category of the data with which you're working. Each data set of a specific type is manipulated differently to obtain the desired results.


- Whole numbers. Data type formed by a numeric variable that doesn't have a decimal part.
- Real. Data type formed by a numeric variable that can have a decimal part.


- Character. Data type consisting of a unit or symbol that can be a letter, a number, a capital letter, or a punctuation mark.
- Chain. Data type formed by a set of characters arranged consecutively that is represented in quotation marks.


Boolean. Data type that can represent two values: true or false.

Statistical data

Statistics is the branch of mathematics that analyzes data obtained from different representative samples to know a phenomenon. There are two types of data that are analyzed in statistics, which must be processed and framed within a context to generate information;

- Qualitative data: Data that answer the question which? or which is it? and are represented by letters. For example: name, gender.
- Quantitative data: Data that are referred to the numbers. For example: price, height, age.

Difference between data and information

The concept of data is closely linked to that of information, but there is a fundamental difference between the two terms. While the data refers to recorded events or facts, the information consists of those raw data that are processed in such a way as to generate content that can be known and interpreted by users.

The data doesn't make sense by itself, but when processed and contextualized, it becomes accurate and available information to know a phenomenon, make decisions or carry out actions.

Data examples

Qualitative data examples

- Name: Mark Smith
- Occupation: Teacher
- Address: Avenida Conquistadores
- Gender: Male

Examples of quantitative data

- Age: 59
- Height: 1.56
- Number of children: 4
- Years in office: 8

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