Evidence for Learning: Explore Module 2

Explore Module 2

Module 2: What is the difference between data, information and evidence?

This module is one in a series developed to support AIS ACT school leaders explore research evidence and its application in schools.

This module explores key terms including data, information and evidence. Start by watching this short video, and exploring the resources below. 

This module explores the difference between data, information and evidence. 

Data is information that is collected and analysed in order to produce findings and/​or to inform decision-making’.1 Data is either qualitative’, or quantitative’.

Information is the organisation of the data you’ve gathered, including the analysis.

Evidence is the available body of information that supports a hypothesis or claim’1, or indicates whether a belief is true or valid. 

We also consider the following well-used terms:

  • Evidence-based which refers to an approach or intervention which is supported by a sound base of research evidence. 
  • Evidence-informed which explores the integration of professional expertise with the best external evidence from research to improve the quality of practice’.2

1. Australian Education Research Organisation. (2022). Using evidence. Retrieved from: https://www.edresearch.edu.au/

2. Sharples, J. (2013). Evidence for the Frontline. London: Alliance for Useful Evidence [online]. Retrieved from https://apo.org.au/node/34800

Module 2 2023
  • Task

    Under three headings of data, information and evidence – consider how your current activities align to these and jot them down. 

    • Within your school, do you have a balanced approach to these – can you identify examples of the application of data, information and evidence? 
    • Where are you strongest?
    • Where have you got the most room to grow? 
  • Reflection

    Each time you hear or read evidence-based’ take a moment to think:

    • What is the evidence that it is referring to? 
    • What questions could you ask to better understand what evidence underpins the claim?
  • Discussion Prompts

    • What opportunities exist for you to have conversations about data, information and evidence with your colleagues?
    • How might you build the capability of others to understand these terms better?

In 2013, Professor Jonathan Sharples presented a discussion paper titled Evidence for the Frontline. Although almost a decade old, and written for a UK audience, this paper explores key concepts that relate to the application of an evidence-base in schools. 

It is available here if you’d like to dive more deeply.