Data Processing

Data processing

Processing is to transform data into information.

Data processing is the act of handling or manipulating data.

In this process facts and figures are collected, assigned meaning, communicated to others and retained for future use.

It is a series of actions or operations that converts data into useful information.

Data Processing Activities

Various functions and activities which need to be performed for data processing can be grouped under five basic categories

Fig.  Data Processing Activities.
    • Collection

Data collection is also known as data capture. This work is done by various forms.


Data originates in the form of events transaction, observations, and libraries.


After originating measure data according various parameters such as time, value, importance etc.


This data is then recorded in some usable form.

Data may be initially recorded on paper source documents and then converted into a machine usable form for processing.

Alternatively, they may be recorded by a direct input device in a paperless, machine-readable form.


Compare data according our requirement’s with various parameters such as data type, size and constraints etc..

(b) Conversion

Once the data is collected, it is converted from its source documents to a form that is more suitable for processing.

This task perform by various steps such as :-


The data is first codified by assigning identification codes.

A code is collections of numbers, letters, special characters, or a combination of these.

It is useful when data requires classification.


To classify means to categorize, i.e., data with similar characteristics are placed in similar categories or groups. For example, one may like to arrange accounts data according to account number or date.


After classification of data, it is verified or checked to ensure the accuracy before processing starts.


After verification, the data is translated from one data medium to another. For example, in case data processing is done using a computer, then it transferred from source documents to machine storage (magnetic tape or a disk).

(c) Manipulation

After the data collection and converted, it is ready for the manipulation function which converts data into information.

Manipulation consists of following activities:


It involves the arrangement of data items in a desired sequence or in a logical sequence.

The data are arranged in alphabetical sequence ex.  Telephone directory.

All the records in business files are maintained in some logical sequence.

Numeric sorting is common in computer-based processing systems because it is usually faster than alphabetical sorting.


Arithmetic manipulation of data is called calculating. Arithmetic operations are performed on data for create new data .

Calculation is an integral part of data processing example:- calculating an employee's pay, the hours worked multiplied by the hourly wage rate gives the gross pay. Based on total earning, income-tax deductions are computed and subtracted from gross-pay to arrive at net pay.


To reduce masses of data to a more usable and concise form. For example, in a lecture in a class writing concise notes in one or two pages.


To perform an evaluation in relation to some known measure. For example, business managers compare current sales figures with last year to analyse the performance of the company in the current month.

(d) Managing the Output Results

Once data has been captured and manipulated following activities may be carried out :


To store is to hold data for continued or future use. Storage is essential for any organised for processing and re-using data. For storage use a manual system, and electronic devices such as magnetic disks/magnetic tapes in case of computer based system. The storing activity involves storing data and information in organised manner in order to facilitate the retrieval activity. Cost is most important factor in storage.


To recover or find again the stored data or information. Retrieval techniques use data storage devices. Retrieval and comparison of old data provide current information status.

(e) Communication

Communication is the process of sharing information among users. Communication involves the transfer of data and information between related users. As a result, reports and documents are prepared and delivered to the users.

(f) Reproduction

To reproduce is to copy or duplicate data or information. This reproduction activity may be done by hand or by machine. It is also use in generate new data from previous data by performing various operation.


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