1. Definition of Terms and Stages of Data Collection

posted Jun 16, 2014, 7:41 AM by Maurice Nyamoti   [ updated Jun 16, 2014, 12:51 PM ]

Definition of terms and Stages of data collection

a) Data

Data is defined as a collection of raw facts (figures, letters, special symbols or a combination of both) that convey little meaning by themselves. example: in a statement like  James, John and Caro

  • what about them?
  • why
  • how
We actually don't know anything about these three people thus it does not have much meaning to us until its fully processed for us to understand

b) Information

Information is defined as data has undergone processing and is meaningful to the user when he/she needs it. The statement simply indicates that information is not just a by-product of data processing, but it must have certain qualities for it to qualify to be a resource to the organization. Thus the qualities of timeliness, correctness and relevancy must be observed for it to be good information.  example: James, John and Caro were awarded certificates for being the cleanest students in our school.
this statement now satisfies our curiosity because it has been attached much more meaning useful to us but we need also to when. This statement can therefore be regarded as information

c) Data Processing

 Data processing can be regarded as the act of collecting data, manipulating it to get information through (input, Processing and output) and finally distributing it to the relevant organs for use.
Data Processing Platform
Data Processing Platform

Data processing cycle are the stages (phases) through which data moves before it becomes information. these stages include:
  1. Data collection
  2. Data input
  3. Processing
  4. Output
data processing cycle
Data Processing Cycle

Stages of data processing cycle

i) Data Collection

Data collection is the act of collecting data from its point of origin to the computer in a form suitable for processing

Stages of Data Collection

Data collection is procedural, thus it attracts the following stages

A) Data Creation

Data creation is the process of capturing data from the source location using data capturing methods like:(scanning, digital camera, touch screen, voice input etc).

B) Data Transmission

This is a term used to refer to the transfer of data from the point of collection (source) to the point where processing is to be done (data processing department) this is possible through computer-to-computer communication, physically by post office or via courier services if the source is away from the data processing department.

C) Data Preparation

Data preparation is the term used to describe the process by which data is prepared and made ready for entry in the computer for processing.

ii) Data input

This is the process where the collected data is converted from human readable form into machine readable form (binary form)

To ensure quick and error free data the following features should be considered:

  • Validation - this is the counter checking whether what is on the input document is exactly what is entered into the computer
  • Media Conversion - this is the act of converting data from different storage medium e.g from a flash disk to a hard disk
  • Sorting - Data should be arranged in a predefined order before being processed

iii) Processing

This is the manipulation of input data into a more meaningful output that can be regarded as being meaningful to the user. Processing involves arithmetic, sorting and logical operations

iv) Output

This is the final activity in data processing cycle where the expected output (information) is displayed. This information is then distributed to places (information dissemination) where its needed to influence decision making process.
Information dissemination may include: electronic presentations over radio or television, distribution of hard copies, broadcasting messages over the internet or mobile phones.


1. Define the following terms
    a) Data Processing
    b) Data processing cycle.
    c) Data
    d) Information
2. using an illustration, describe the four primary stages of the data processing cycle
3. Outline the stages of data collection
4. List the three feature involved during data input stage to minimize errors
5. What is the essence of output stage?


    to see answers, highlight the blank spaces below

        1. a) this is the act manipulating raw data into a meaningful format called information

            b) this are a set of stages that data passes through in order to be transformed into                         information

            c) These are raw facts which do not have much meaning to the user

            d) Processed data which has much meaning and can be used in decision making


data processing cycle
        3. i) data collection

            ii) input

            iii) processing

            iv) output

        4. a) media conversion

            b) input validation

            c) sorting

        5. Display of expected results (information) that can be used in decision making