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Qualitative and quantitative analysis


Data, information, knowledge and wisdom Guide&to&Qualita,ve&and&Quan,ta,ve&Analysis


Diagram from http://www.systems-thinking.org/ dikw/dikw.htm


Data,%informa,on,%knowledge%and%wisdom% Unprocessed&(raw)&data&is&not,&of&itself,&informa,on&or& knowledge.&Ackoff&(1989)&describes&how&data&only&becomes& informa(on&through&an&analysis&of&the&underlying& rela,onships&within&it.&&Ackoff&then&develops&&this&idea&further& by&sugges,ng&that&a&recogni,on&of&paEerns&within&this& informa,on,&linking&it&to&known&situa,ons,&principles,& contexts&(or&‘realHlife)&converts&informa,on&into&usable& knowledge.&&Finally,&a&cri,cal&evalua,on&of&this&knowledge& further&enables&us&to&iden,fy&any&deeper&principles&that&can&


enables us to identify any deeper principles that can be generalised to a wider context and to make predictions about future outcomes (wisdom).


generalised&to&a&wider&context&and&to&make&predic,ons&about&future&outcomes&(wisdom).& Ackoff,&R.&L.,&"From&Data&to&Wisdom",&Journal&of&Applied&Systems&Analysis,&Volume&16,&1989&p&3H9&


Ackoff’s model, could just be considered to be an interesting philosophical model of ‘knowledge development’. The model does however have a useful relevance in understanding the process of structuring and writing a research project (see right).


Types%of%data%


For more information on the relationship between data and higher knowledge, see BBC GCSE Bitesize.


Data&comes&in&various&forms&but&is&o\en& described&as&belonging&to&one&of&two&types.&Quan(ta(ve&data&is&typified&by&having&numerical& characteris,cs,&whereas&Qualita(ve&data&is&more&‘languageHbased’&and&is&typically&described&in&terms& of&categories,&key&themes&and&descrip,ve&features.&


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Ackoff’s&model,&could&just&be&considered&to&be& an&interes,ng&philosophical&model&of& ‘knowledge&development’.&&The&model&does& however&have&a&useful&relevance&in&understand& the&process&of&structuring&and&wri,ng&a& research&project&(see&right).&


For&more&informa,on&on&the&rela,onship& between&data&and&higher&knowledge,&see&&HBBC& –&GCSE&Bitesize.&


Unprocessed (raw) data is not, of itself, information or knowledge. Ackoff (1989) describes how data only becomes information through an analysis of the underlying relationships within it. Ackoff then develops this idea further by suggesting that a recognition of patterns within this information, linking it to known situations, principles, contexts (or ‘real-life’) converts information into usable knowledge. Finally, a critical evaluation of this knowledge further


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