Information vs. Knowledge


This article is about the difference between information and knowledge.

We will first explore about the meaning of both information and knowledge. After that we will look at the difference or distinction between information and knowledge.

People sometimes tend to use the words information and knowledge interchangeably, without understanding the fact that information and knowledge have different meanings.

This difference can be slight and subtle and do’t really matter when we use it generally in day to day life for example consider two sentences given below

  • Raj is informed about grocery shop outside the apartment
  • Raj knows about grocery shop outside the apartment

Now if you take above two sentences then in general terms it really does not really matter if the person Raj has information about grocery store or he knows about grocery store.

So, in general terms we tend to use both the terms interchangeably.

Now If we want to be more precise then knowledge is something more then information. It is awareness or understanding of the subject acquired through education and experience.

So, you might have plenty of information about a topic or subject, but you have no way of explaining things why they are the way they are as presented in the information.

For example, you have information that when you throw a ball upwards it always falls back to Earth.

Now this is a fact you are aware of. You are aware of this information and do not know anything more about it. You can tell others about this information, but you cannot explain it any further. This is information.

Now what if you know the reason behind ball falling back to Earth? If you know then you would be able to explain the reason behind this fact.

Now you know much more. Not only you possess the information you are also knowledgeable enough to explain the fact and provide reasoning and accountability to the information. This is knowledge.

So, if in general usage if you are using these terms interchangeably without drawing too many distinctions it is ok to do so.

Now if you want to be more precise then you draw a distinction between knowledge and information and use the terms appropriately.

Let us now look at the meaning of these two different terms in a formal sense.

What is information?

  • Information originated from the Latin verb “Informare” (to inform) in the sense of “to give form to the mind”, “to discipline”, “instruct”, “teach”.
  • Information shortened as info is that which informs.

Meaning of Information:

  • Information is a short and logical description of anything.
  • It describes the meaning, concept, and distinguishing properties of any subject, object, or thing.
  • The concept of information has different meanings in different contexts.
  • Information consists of facts and data organized to describe a situation or condition.
  • Information is raw. It is just facts, concept,s or meaning. It is not acted upon by any receiver.
  • Information is made up of ordered facts and data to explain a circumstance or condition. For example, while filling an application form of any institute you must fill in the information about yourself like your name, age address, etc.
  • The figure given below shows how raw data is processed and filtered into information.
  • When the data is processed into information, it doesn’t have any irrelevant data. It includes data that has meaning, significance, and intent.
  • It also involves the manipulation of source data, which becomes knowledge after the processing.

Meaning of Knowledge

We already have written an article on knowledge explaining the concept, nature, and types of knowledge. Here in this article I will brush up the meaning of knowledge.

The dictionary meaning of knowledge refers to ‘assured belief,’ ‘that which is known,’ information, instruction, enlightenment, learning, practical skill.

  • The world ‘knowledge’ refers to learning, instruction, cognition, acquaintance, or information. There are many ways to define knowledge.
  • Knowledge is rational in nature and it is certain and verifiable. It is also dynamic in nature; it keeps on changing as the time changes.
  • Knowledge is both objective and subjective.
  • The structure of knowledge is based on facts and values. Knowledge is a structure of information into a meaningful whole. It is well organized system of facts giving meaning to it.

Information vs. Knowledge

Here are important differences between Information and Knowledge in tabular form. You can side by side compare the key differences between these two terms.

Information vs knowledge table

Basis of comparisonInformationKnowledge
MeaningInformation is organized data about someone, or something obtained from various sources such as television, internet etc. So, information is facts or data being systematically presented in each context.Knowledge refers to the awareness or comprehension of a person’s education or experience gained on the subject. It refers to the relevant and objective information gained through experience.
TransferInformation can be easily transferred through different means. It can be transferred through both verbal and nonverbal signals.It is difficult to transfer knowledge as it require learning and efforts on the part of the receiver.
PredictionInformation alone is not sufficient to generalize or making predictions about someone or something.Knowledge can be used to make predictions or make influences.
ScopeInformation has narrow scope. This is because every information is not necessarily a knowledge.Knowledge has wider scope. This is because all knowledge is information.
OrientedInformation is theory oriented.Knowledge is experience oriented as it is derived through experiences.
NatureInformation is static in natureKnowledge is dynamic in nature
What is itInformation is a refined form of data which is helpful to understand the meaning of something.Knowledge is relevant information with the help of which conclusions can be drawn and generalizations can be made.
Combination ofInformation is combination of data and contextKnowledge is combination of information, experience and intuition.

Key differences between Information and Knowledge

  1. Information corresponds to data that has been given some meaning by way of contextual connection whereas knowledge refers to a deterministic mechanism where correlations among a given set of information are established.
  2. Information deals with the way data is related whereas knowledge examines patterns within a given set of information.
  3. Information does not need any cognitive ability whereas knowledge needs some cognitive and analytical ability.
  4. In an information, meaning applied to the data may not necessarily be useful. The knowledge will have some usefulness and is even applicable if you find situations where you can apply knowledge.

Questions expected on this topic

  • Define Information and knowledge.
  • What is the meaning of information and knowledge?
  • Write about the distinction between Information and Knowledge.

Further Reference

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3 years ago

Hi everyone

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