Information Analysis

Definition of Information Analysis

Information Analysis is the process of inspecting, transforming, and modeling information by converting raw data into actionable knowledge in support of the decision-making process.[1]

“Information Analysis is a process of determining and isolating the most salient information conveyed by a given information source and separating this information source into its constituent elements on the basis of predetermined evaluative criteria.” During analysis, the contents of selected source(s) are studied to identify salient information conveyed by the source(s). Then the relevant information is extracted, assessed, and verified. Finally, the extracted information is organized and sorted into headings and sub-headings according to some pre-defined scheme.

Information analysis activities allow you to:

  • Characterize or gain an understanding of your processes, products, resources, and environments.
  • Evaluate to determine your status with respect to your plans.
  • Predict by understanding relationships among processes and products so the values you observe for some attributes can be used to predict others. *Improve by identifying roadblocks, root causes, inefficiencies, and other opportunities for improvement.[2]

Steps in Information Analysis[3]

Certain basic operations must be performed before the actual work of information analysis is initiated. These preliminary operations constitute the following:

  • Study of the subject area or mission in which the information will be analyzed.
  • Study of the potential user and uses for which the analysis will be done.
  • Organization and systemization of the contents or characteristics of the subject or mission, i.e., a prior creation of a table of contents, classification, typology, or analysis and synthesis.
  • Consideration of objectives, resources, and constraints of the system or work within which analysis and synthesis are performed.
  • Determination of evaluation criteria for use as the base for analysis.

Without proper and specific guidelines on the above-mentioned five areas, no meaningful and rational analysis can be performed. After establishing the proper guidelines, the next step is selecting material for information analysis and synthesis.

On completion of the preliminary operations, the analysis proceeds on the following lines:

  • The first step happens to be familiarization with the total contents of a given document or set of documents.
  • The contents are sorted or categorized on the basis of subject contents of documents in a tentative manner using evaluative criteria, tools like classification schemes such as DDC, UDC, thesaurus, or subject headings lists, such as LCSH, MESH, SHE, etc. can be used for sorting purpose (first evaluation).
  • The third step is the selection and extraction of the most pertinent or salient features, filtering out of not needed information, and reduction of materials.
  • Verification of the contents or data in individual extracts (second evaluation) is the main objective of this step.
  • Sorting extracted information into classes and sub-classes (headings and sub-headings) according to the table of contents, classification scheme, or typology for the specialized subject or mission.

See Also