Data ( , , or ) is a set of values of qualitative or quantitative variables; restated, pieces of data are individual pieces of information. Data is measured, collected and reported, and analyzed, whereupon it can be visualized using graphs or images. Data as an abstract concept can be viewed as the lowest level of abstraction, from which information and then knowledge are derived. Raw data, i.e., unprocessed data, refers to a collection of numbers, characters and is a relative term; data processing commonly occurs by stages, and the “processed data” from one stage may be considered the “raw data” of the next. Field data refers to raw data that is collected in an uncontrolled in situ environment. Experimental data refers to data that is generated within the context of a scientific investigation by observation and recording. The word “data” used to be considered as the plural of “datum”, but now is generally used in the singular, as a mass noun.

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