Context has become absolutely essential to grasping what is taking place in society, no matter what the area of examination. Seeing the whole range of actions in a set pattern . . . is essential to understanding the specifics of what needs to be done. . .
Data, information and knowledge are levels of awareness along a continuous scale. Data are facts in isolation - the specific number of this, or the particular color of that. In common language, "Do you have the data?" means do you have specific, unconnected facts. Information emerges when data are combined to make a point about a topic. Again in common language, "information retrieval" means to acquire data within a specific category, or to piece together data in one category. Knowledge is information in context. In common language, "she's knowledgeable" means she has accumulated information within a larger context of theory or experience and has that learning at her disposal. All of this differ from wisdom, which would be knowledge in perspective.
Contributed by: Tracy Phaup