Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Information Versus Knowledge
I recently had a discussion with my students about the difference between information and knowledge. We have all heard that we live in an information age. Information is readily available to most of us, all hours of the day or night (though the quality of this information is open to debate, given the explosion of the internet). So, what is information? Information is represented by facts, definitions, data, and details. Information differs from knowledge, however, and knowledge is what you strive for in your scholarly writing. Knowledge is based on information, it is taking all those bits of information, plus concepts and theories, and examining them as a whole. It is more "depthful" than mere information. Knowledge is more than this, however. Knowledge is developed over time. It is the process of taking in all the information relevant to a topic and reflecting on it, examining it for patterns, and analyzing and evaluating it. You cannot do this in one day and this is part of the reason procrastination is a real problem- how can you write a scholarly, knowledgeable, analytical paper if you have not spent the time and mental energy to find and review information, relevant concepts and theories, and formulate ideas, reflect and analyze? Think about it.