Big Data vs Data Mining

Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby
Chances are you've heard the terms 'big data' and 'data mining' thrown around quite a bit, especially if you work in a field that is information intensive. But what do they mean? This lesson explains the role of each.

New Ways of Looking at Information

When you think of places to keep data, how often do you actually imagine a filing cabinet? Or when you envision a spreadsheet, do you really imagine a gigantic piece of paper?

With all the advances in technology over the past 40 years, the way business is done has been revolutionized. That also means that the ways that companies interact with their data have forever changed. Two of the most important ways that companies interact with information that was once thought unimaginable are big data and data mining. However, these two are actually quite different.

What is Big Data?

Over the past few years, the amount of data that we produce has grown tremendously. Try to go a day without creating digital data, I dare you. You can't touch your phone, your TV, or your computer. You will also have to pay for everything using cash. And forget about tracking your steps or heart rate with your new wearable health monitor. So, you see my point about creating digital data?

There's just one question - where does it all go?

That's where big data comes into play. Everything you do is creating data, and big data allows researchers to look at it as a whole and see if there are trends. If you've ever studied statistics, you know that polls are more accurate if a larger sample size is used. Big data lets researchers examine everyone all at once, making it the largest sample size possible.

What is Data Mining?

Data mining, on the other hand, has been around a bit longer. That said, it is still quite important. If you want to understand data mining, check out a baseball player's statistics sheet. As a rule, baseball players do one of two things - they pitch, or they bat. Sure, they field and run the bases, but at the end of the day, so much of baseball is about the showdown between the pitcher and the batter. Yet an enormous amount of statistical analysis has been created about every batter and even more about every pitcher. That is data mining - taking a limited amount of data and looking at it in every conceivable way to find trends.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account