why validation and verification techniques are used

5. 3. 3
Data entry - Validation and Verification
There are many different errors that can occur when inputting data into a system. Many are simple transcription errors ( errors that occur when data is copied from a document into a computer ). To try and reduce the amount of input errors, a system designer can build in validation and verification checks into the software that the data is entered into. It is important to understand that these checks cannot eliminate all mistakes, they just try and ensure that the data is as accurate as is reasonably possible for the purpose it is being collected for. VERIFICATION: This type of data entry check is used to try and ensure that the data is. Since a computer cannot do this by itself it has to involve a human in some way. - the data is entered twice, possibly by two different operators. The two entries are then compared against each other and a warning given if they do not match. s- this is basically proof reading, the data that has been entered into the computer is visually checked by a human, either on screen or from a printout, to be sure that it matches the data source. VALIDATION: VALID, in other words it is sensible.

It does NOT mean that the data is actually correct! to limit the range of numbers a user can enter. For example: Imagine if you were making a database for a user to store details of yachts that are sold in a second-hand boatyard and you know that they never sell anything longer than 20 metres and less than 13 metres. It would make sense to make a range-check validation rule for the 'LENGTH' field so that if an entry was made that was outside this range then a warning message would pop up and the entry would not be accepted. A typical range-check validation rule might be: BETWEEN 13 AND 20 This could also be entered as: =13 AND =20 Format - these only allow valid text or numbers. Many use input 'masks' such as 000LLL. Such a mask would only allow 3 numbers followed by 3 letters. Member lists - this method of validation is used to limit entries to those that are members of a list of allowed entries. The choices may appear in a drop-down list to reduce transcription errors or be in the form of a list of acceptable entries that the input is checked against. For example, a member list for a Vehicle Make field in a vehicle database might be Renault, Ford, Honda etc.

A member list validation rule such as Renault OR Ford OR Honda would limit entries to members of this list. - this type of check is used with numbers. An extra 'check digit' is calculated from the numbers to be entered and added to the end. The numbers can then be checked at any stage by re-calculating the check digit from the other numbers and seeing if it matches the one entered. One example where a check digit is used is in the 10 digit ISBN number which uniquely identifies books. The last number of the ISBN is actually the check digit for the other numbers, for example - the ISBN 019276150 1. The Modulus-11 system is one example of a check digit system and it can apparently detect 99% of input errors ( there is still a small chance that more than one error occurs and the resulting number has the same check digit ). How the Modulus-11 system works The weightings are adding together ( the checksum The remainder The check digit is then added to the end of the number. To check if the number entered is correct the calculation is repeated but this time the check digit is included in the calculation.

Because of this the remainder should now be 0 and it it is then there is a 99% chance the other numbers were entered correctly. Note: if the check digit is a 10 then this is printed as an x to keep it to a single character. i. e. the number 019276150 would have a check digit of 1 as shown below. 2. Validation Validation is one way of trying to reduce the number of errors in the data being entered into your system. The validation is performed by the computer at the point when you enter data. It is the process of checking the data against the set of validation rules which you set up when developing your new database or spreadsheet system. It is critical that you understand what this definition means and can repeat it when asked in an examination question. Students regularly say in exam answers that validation checks that the data is correct. It does NOT!! If you enter Smithe instead of Smith or 07/08/07 instead of 08/07/07 no amount of validation in the world will pick up that human error. So while validation can help to reduce the number of errors when entering data, it cannot stop them be very clear about that.

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