The purpose of this paper is to answer questions about various data input and output methods, various storage types and devices, and the speed of a computer. Each of the four questions is divided into a corresponding section below. In the input device section, this paper focuses primarily on user input, rather than the input devices used to extract information entered by a user. In all of the presented cases, electronic scanning methods are the best method, and the method routinely used, to extract data and store it in repositories for compilation and analysis.
Printed questionnaires and telephone surveys are commonplace in today's poll-obsessed society. Today, individuals may receive questionnaires from sources ranging from the Census Bureau to Sears to AC Nielsen. Organizations deliver these questionnaires in a variety of formats and lengths, and require answers that use disparate measurement scales from Likert (bipolar) to unstructured. The style of survey used by an organization will vary greatly based on the subject matter and the goal of the survey. Among the most popular assessments tools of service quality (a common questionnaire/survey topic) is SERVQUAL, an instrument designed by Berry, Parasuraman, and Zeithaml (1994). Through numerous qualitative studies, they evolved a set of five dimensions ranked consistently by customers as central to service quality, regardless of the service industry.
Most questionnaires and surveys use both bipolar Likert/dichotomous and unstructured questions to allow the surveyor to benefit from the strengths of both quantitative and qualitative research. The use of quantitative questions allows surveyors to obtain a high degree of reliability and validity using the scientific method, and enables others to more easily repeat or replicate the study. The qualitative questions provide background for customer responses, and help to identify any underlying issues highlighted by the quantitative research. Triangulation, in this case the combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, allows us to overcome the weakness of using only one research technique.
Both printed questionnaires and telephone surveys that assess service quality, therefore, require some type of manual data input (answers). The only difference is the method used to enter the data into the survey form. In surveys of any size, printed questionnaires either allow for on-line submission or follow a printed format that allows users to fill in pre-defined answers to questions. Surveys that include qualitative methods have one or more sections that allow the user to either type or write comments in an unstructured format. In telephone surveys, the surveyor almost universally uses a Web-based form or a computer program to enter data from the respondent.
In all cases, the keyboard and mouse are the most effective input devices. The use of electronic forms for data input, whether by the respondent or a telephone surveyor, places the data into a readily-usable format. Printed surveys that use fill-in forms can be scanned electronically using a mark scanning device and the data entered automatically into a readily-usable format. The keyboard and pointing device, or a standard fill-in printed form, avoid handwriting errors, misspellings, transcription problems or other issues inherent when using non-standard formats for data input. Respondents and surveyors also need little training to fill-in a bubble or a square on a printed form or to use a keyboard or pointing device to fill out an electronic form (Nickerson, 2001).
When accuracy and efficiency are paramount, bank checks also benefit from electronic input. The traditional method of handwriting checks is inefficient and prone to errors or tampering issues. Organizations have increasingly shifted to the best practice of electronic entry of bank check information. In this case, the keyboard and pointing device are the best method of input for bank...
Cited: Berry, L., Parasuraman, A. and Zeithaml, V. (1994). Improving Service Quality in America: Lessons Learned. The Academy of Management Executive, 8, 32-52.
Nickerson, R. (2001). Business and Information Systems, Second Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Federal Reserve System. (2004). Fedpoint: Float. Retrieved September 24, 2004 from http://www.ny.frb.org/aboutthefed/fedpoint/fed08.html
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