What is Data Collection? Essay

Submitted By Adrian-SG
Words: 983
Pages: 4

Collecting Collecting is the information process that involves deciding what to collect, locating it and collecting it. It involves more than simply entering data. Collecting involves four steps: • Defining the required data—deciding what data is needed • Identifying the source of the data—where the data can be found • Determining how the data will be gathered—what tools will be required • Gathering the data—collecting and entering the data into the information system. Data can come from either primary or secondary sources. Primary sources refers to data that is collected first­hand. Many organisations prefer to generate their own primary data because they consider it meaningful and reliable, although it is time­consuming and costly. Data from primary sources is acquired by interviewing people, conducting surveys and questionnaires, or observing a system in operation (see Figure 1.8). Secondary sources refers to data that is collected or created by someone else. For example, newspapers, books, other print media, electronic databases, CD­ROMs and the Internet are secondary sources. This is often the quickest and least costly method of collecting data. Data is entered into an information system either manually or electronically. Manual entry involves typing the data using a keyboard.
Electronic entry involves entering the data using input devices such as scanners, digital cameras, microphones or sensors. It is important that procedures are in place to ensure the data is accurate, up­to­date, relevant and secure. If the data collected comes from unreliable sources or is inaccurate, the information gained from it will be incorrect. This is referred to as
‘garbage in, garbage out’ (GIGO). Organising Organising is the process that arranges, represents and formats data for use by other information processes. It is carried out after the data is collected. The organisation of data depends on the purpose of the information system. For example, if the information system is used to store and search a large amount of data, the data needs to be categorised. This will allow it to be stored in a database. Organising gives some structure to the data. When developing an information system it is essential to determine the format in which the data will be represented. The format of the data determines the most appropriate software application and the processing that can be carried out. For example, if a text document is scanned and represented as an image, the text cannot then be processed using a word processor. If data is poorly organised, it may result in the use of inappropriate applications or the proces­ sing of unnecessary data.

Analysing Analysing is the process that interprets data, transforming it into information. It involves examining data and giving meaning to it. When data has been ordered and given some meaning by people, it is called information. The particular type of analysis depends on the format of the data and the information that is required. For example, to obtain a report on all the sales in the past month would involve searching, selecting and sorting data. Charts and graphs are often used in the analysis of data. They make it easy to interpret data by making instant comparisons and revealing trends. Charts help people to make quick and accurate decisions. Analysing data may involve the use of a model to represent some aspect of the real world. When a model is used to simulate a real situation, people can make predictions and examine the effect