Field work with the computer: Criteria for assessing systems
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Computers, both large and small, can be of great assistance to a field worker. This assistance falls mainly in the area of relieving the field worker from tedious mechanical phases such as typing, sorting, and retrieving information. An examination of field work methods identifies issues and problems which must be addressed by any system for undertaking field work. A rationale for a “loose and inclusive” (as opposed to an exhaustive and mutually exclusive) coding system is presented. Efficiency, confidentiality, data reduction, and flexibility of testing propositions are discussed as criteria for assessing any system which facilitates field work. The paper concludes by contrasting the methods previously used to collect data, reduce its bulk, code, and retrieve information with what is possible with today's computer hardware and software, and with what will be possible in the near future.
KeywordsSocial Psychology Social Issue Field Work Data Reduction Code System
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