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Data (can be singular or plural in common usage)

The quantities, characters, or symbols on which operations are performed by a computer, which may be stored and transmitted in the form of electrical signals and recorded on magnetic, optical, or mechanical recording media. (The terms data, information and knowledge are frequently used for overlapping concepts. The main difference is in the level of abstraction being considered. Data is a broad term, embracing others, but is often the lowest level of abstraction, information is the next level and, finally, knowledge is the highest level.) See Raw data, Derived data, Metadata.

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Definition is a bit abstract.

What does it mean to say that "data is a broad term, but is often the lowest level of abstraction"?! Who wrote this?

How about saying that "data", "information" and "knowledge" are sometimes regarded as a sliding scale of increasing refinement: "Data" is raw facts; "information" is the message of that data, "knowledge" is understanding that information.

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Exclude statistics?

One could argue that 'data' specifically excludes statistics and other results of processing the raw data. This is argued here:

and repeated here ("Scope of Data"):

Those definitions are clearly wrong to say that "data" only includes that which "has not been organised, adapted or otherwise materially altered since it was obtained or recorded". Evidently, anonymised data is still data. But carefully boiling data down into some overall statistics could be argued as generating 'information' rather than 'data', although I think most people would regard numerical information like this as data as well.

In light of the controversy seen in the comments below that first link, I think it is worth adding to this definition of 'data' that "a few have argued" that it excludes statistics and other information. Although I don't have anything of substance to point to what the majority view is.

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