What Are The Three Phases Of Data Processing?


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The three phases of data processing are input, process and output. Each of these phases contribute towards the production of a finished product that is comparable to the manufacturing industry. Within manufacturing the raw materials are considered to be the 'input' to a processing machine. These raw materials are then 'processed' and the finished product is the 'output'. Within the computer, data is the 'input' that is then processed and manipulated to give a printed report or updated file as the 'output'. The input involves capturing and acquiring data and getting it into a form that is understandable to the computer. The computer will then carry out a number of steps in order to provide information and manipulate this data. The computed results are delivered as information (as opposed to data) and arrive as an output that end users require when making decisions. The way in which the information is used by people is nothing to do with data processing, this is simply a use of the output.

There are three steps involved in inputting any data into a computer system. These steps are:

• Collecting
• Verification
• Coding.

During collection, data is gathered from a variety of sources and assembled together. Verification involves checking the data to ensure that it is complete and accurate, as well as determining whether it should be used for processing. Finally, coding takes place to translate the data into machine reading form. 

During processing there are a number of tasks that may be performed by the computer. These include:

• Classifying
• Sorting
• Calculating

Classifying organizes the data in order of characteristics that are meaningful to the end user. Sorting may arrange data in a particular sequence to facilitate processing. Calculating may take place in processes where averages or balances are required as a part of the output. The final phase of data processing, the output, also has a number of activities that may take place. These activities can include retrieving, converting, storing and communicating. Information that is pulled from storage devices is classed as retrieving. Converting may take place if the date needs to be translated so that it can be understood by the end user. Information may be saved onto a storage medium and in these cases storing takes place. Finally, when the information is in the right place at the right time, communication occurs.

The three phases of data processing, input, process and output, each contribute towards turning data into information for an end user.

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