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Oct 18 2012

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What are the Characteristics of Information

information, characteristics of information, attributes of information, data, data vs informationGenerally information must be useful and serve a purpose from the part of users’ perspective. Good information is that which is used and which creates value. Experience and research shows that good information has numerous qualities. Information must be useful to someone and where it will be used making any kind of decision. Information needs to be of high quality to be useful and accurate for the users. Good information is relevant for its purpose, sufficiently accurate for its purpose, completes enough for the problem, reliable and targeted to the right person.

Characteristics of quality information

  • Accuracy: Information needs to be accurate enough for the use to which it is going to be put. Information needs to be of high quality to be useful and accurate in order to fulfill the user’s requirement. To obtain information that is 100% accurate is usually unrealistic as it is likely to be too expensive to produce on time. Accuracy of information is much more important. For example, if government statistics based on the latest census wrongly show an increase in births within an area, plans may be made to control birth rates and ultimately it will create negative impact of general people of the country against the government taken policy.
  • Reliable: The information that a person uses must be relevant to the current problem at hand. Reliability deals with the truth of information. In particular, information should faithfully represent that which it purports to represent, or could reasonably be expected to represent. People will use information without any doubt in their mind and make any kind of decision without risk. For example, when an author writes a book in any discipline people trust the author for getting reliable information presentation. In that case, author employs editor for presenting reliable information to its readers for just ensuring the reliability of information.
  • Completeness: Completeness is another attribute of high quality information. Information should contain all the details required by the user. Otherwise, it may not be useful as the basis for making a decision. For example, if ABC Inc. is supplied with information regarding the costs of building a flat for its client and servicing and maintenance costs are not included, then a costing based on the information supplied will be considerably underestimated and also incomplete.
  • Timeliness: Information must be on time for the purpose for which information is required. Out-of-date information can keep a company from achieving their goals or from surviving in a competitive arena. Information received too late will be irrelevant for making any kind of decision. For example, if you receive a brochure from ABC Inc. and notice there was an offer of discounting for purchasing a flat by yesterday, then the information is too late to be of use of it and making decision to utilize it.
  • Cost of Providing Information: The information used must be of economical use to companies that use them. Information should be available within set cost levels that may vary dependent on situation. Cost benefit analysis should be taken into consideration for using any kind of information. For example, ABC Inc. wants to start a market survey on a new product’s promotion purpose. The survey could occur promotion cost more than the forecast initial profit from the product. In that case, ABC Inc. would probably select that a less costly source of promotion channel should be used, even if it may give somewhat inferior information as well as customer’s impact.


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