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GCSE ICT - Collecting data

What is data?

Data is raw facts and figures.


In order to process data it has to be
collected.

The method of collecting data


depends upon what it is going to be used
for.

Designing a data capture sheet

The process of collecting data is


called DATA CAPTURE.
If a printed form is used to collect
data it is called a DATA CAPTURE SHEET.
The design of a data capture sheet
should help the user to collect data
efficiently and accurately.
It should also enable the data to be
entered into a database efficiently and
accurately.
A good design will have:
o Informative headings.
o Simple instructions.
o An easy to use layout.
o Logical divisions into sections.
o Been tested before use.

Individuals can also be


given their own code number to identify
them (e.g. National Insurance Number).

Why use codes?


o They are quicker to enter.
o It reduces the size of computer files,
which increases the speed at which
data can be handled.
o Codes can be unique.

Data
codes
should
always:
o Be the same length this will add
validation (checking that data has
been entered correctly).
o Be easy to use.
o Not be too short so that additional
codes can be added later.

Entering data into a database

Questions

Data capture is about


getting the answers to specific questions.

There are two types of


question. These are:

Closed questions
o Closed questions are the easiest to
answer and easiest to process.
o This is because the answers are
closed (i.e. they only allow users to
enter answers from a specific list of
alternatives).
o Closed questions can produce Yes/No
or True/False answers.

Open-ended questions
o Open-ended questions are the more
difficult to answer and less easy to
process.
o This is because the answers are openended (i.e. they allow users to enter
any answers they wish).

Coding data

Because
closed
questions only allow users to enter
answers from a specific list of alternatives
it is easy to encode the data before
entering it into a database.

For
example,
examination grades can be entered a
single letters (A, B, C, D, E, F, or U).

Another example is
gender, which can be entered as M (for
male) or F (for female).
06 Collecting data

Once data has been


captured, it will need to be entered into a
database.
This can be done by a
variety of methods.
Keying in data
o This is the most common form of data
entry as it is flexible and can cope with
different types of data.
o However it is time consuming and
errors can occur very easily.
Magnetic ink character
recognition
o Magnetic ink character recognition is
particularly
suited
to
entering
numerical data.
o It is most commonly used by banks
and financial institutions.
o Magnetic ink characters are printed at
the bottom of cheques.
o They are used by banks to identify the
bank a customer banks with, the
individual branch where their account
is held, and the customers bank
account number.
Optical
mark
recognition
o Optical mark recognition is particularly
suited to entering data from closed
questions.
o OMR readers sense marks made on
specially designed data capture forms.
o OMR is a very cheap, easy and quick to
handle system of inputting data, but if
a user makes a mistake they are
difficult to correct.
Optical
character
recognition
o Optical
character
recognition
is
particularly suited to entering data
from open-ended questions.

GCSE ICT - Collecting data


o Optical character recognition uses a
scanner to input text into the
database.
o It requires special software to convert
the scanned image of each letter into
an ASCII code, and it often confuses
similar shaped letters and numbers
(e.g. S and 5, B and 8).

Barcode readers
o Barcodes are particularly suited to
entering coded data, especially if the
codes are long and there are lots of
alternatives.
o The lines on a barcode represent
numbers, and can be scanned very
quickly using a laser scanner.

Automatic data capture

Some data can be


entered directly into a database by
electronic signals.

Examples of automatic
data capture include:
o EPOS (Electronic Point Of Sale)
o Remote sensing of traffic flow
o Turnaround documents

06 Collecting data

Turnaround documents
are produced by computers for use as
input documents.
Examples
of
turnaround documents include:
o Utility bills (for water, council tax,
telephone, gas, and electricity)
o Credit card bills
Turnaround documents
are usually printed onto pre-printed
forms.
They also have a tear
off section at the bottom that can be used
as an input document when it is
presented for payment.
The tear off section will
often have magnetic ink characters or a
barcode to identify the payee.

Extension Task:
Did the data capture sheet you designed
have any closed or openended questions?
Identify at least one of each type of question
on your data capture sheet. Also identify any
data that could have been coded.