Data Coding

Coding refers to the process of assigning numerals or other symbols to answers so that responses can be put into a limited number of categories or classes. Such classes should be appropriate to the research problem under consideration. They must also possess the
characteristic of exhaustiveness (i.e., there must be a class for every data item) and also that of mutual exclusively which means that a specific answer can be placed in one and only one cell in a given category set. Another rule to be observed is that of unidimensionality by which is meant that every class is defined in terms of only one concept.

Coding is necessary for efficient analysis and through it the several replies may be reduced to a small number of classes which contain the critical information required for analysis. Coding decisions should usually be taken at the designing stage of the questionnaire. This makes it possible to precode the questionnaire choices and which in turn is helpful for computer tabulation as one can straight forward key punch from the original questionnaires. But in case of hand coding some standard method may be used. One such standard method is to code in the margin with a coloured pencil. The other method can be to transcribe the data from the questionnaire to a coding sheet. Whatever method is adopted, one should see that coding errors are altogether eliminated or reduced to the minimum level.

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