What is the Difference Between a Data Point and Data?

In simple terms, a data point is a single piece of information, while data refers to a collection of information.

For example, let’s say you’re conducting a survey to determine your classmates’ favorite ice cream flavor. Each time one of your classmates tells you their favorite flavor, that piece of information is a data point. Once you have collected all the answers from your classmates, you have a set of data that includes everyone’s favorite flavor. Check out the table below for more examples.

Data Point Data (or Dataset)
A single score on a test The scores of all the students in a class
The temperature in your room right now The temperatures at different times and locations around the world
The price of a single stock at a specific time The prices of all the stocks in a particular market
One person’s age The ages of everyone in a population
One GPS coordinate of a location The coordinates of all the locations on a map

So, a data point is like one piece of a puzzle, while data is the complete puzzle that’s made up of many pieces. When we use data, we’re usually interested in analyzing many different data points to find patterns or make decisions based on the whole collection of information.