A data entry software program for making spreadsheets.
The first step in choosing the best data entry software is to determine the specific information processing requirements you have for the software. The amount of data you will be working with will be the best measure of whether a simple spreadsheet or word processing program will suffice or if you will need database entry software or imaging software. The source of your data will affect your decision, because questionnaires will have different requirements than text searches or cataloging terms or values.
Most computers come with a spreadsheet authoring program.
If the intended use is for limited questionnaires with small sample sizes, a simple spreadsheet program will likely suffice. A survey with 10 questions or less submitted by less than 200 people can be manually entered and calculated. Most computers have a spreadsheet program already built in that can handle data entry applications of this size. Otherwise, there are free programs available on the Internet that include a spreadsheet or word processing application. A word processing program can be used for light transcription or translation.
A person’s choice of data entry software depends on how deeply involved he is in the project.
More complex research or information sources will require database capability in the chosen data entry software suite. Again, with less than 200 respondents, the information can be manually entered and the database program can sort the information for you. If you are going to get your information from paper forms, you must employ imaging software that will scan and display them so that you can enter the responses into the database. If your needs include a text search, optical character recognition (OCR) software may be needed in your data entry software.
For more complex surveys or larger sample sizes, there are data entry software suites called statistical programs that can provide and coordinate the different components. These data entry applications are often quite expensive, but since they perform multiple functions and can reduce the amount of human work required, they can be cost-effective in the long run. They are very complicated and require knowledge of statistics and attention to detail in developing lifting technique.
Choosing data entry software largely depends on how deeply involved you are in the project. For an occasional or one-time instance, you might want to consider outsourcing. If you want to start a service or perform large, complicated and ongoing information processing tasks, statistical or packet programming might be a better option.