Information Processing Cycle

What is information?

Information is a processed , organised or classified data which is useful for receiver. Information is the processed data which may be used “as is” or may be put to use along with more data or information. The receiver of information takes actions and decisions based on the information received. Collected data must be processed to get meaning out of it and this meaning is obtained in form of information. Further information is considered useful & meaningful only if has these characteristics

  • Timely − Information should be available when required, a delay in obtaining information renders it useless.
  • Accuracy − Accuracy of information has large impact on the decision-making. Possibilities of even slightest errors should be minimized
  • Completeness − Information should be complete, incomplete information causes incorrect and unintended results.
  • Comprehensive – Information which is incomprehensible is useless for the receiver. This becomes a case of information failure as the sender sent the information but it was of no use for the receiver, thus is not considered as “information”

Understanding “information” in daily life and Examples 

Information is the processed data which is of some use for humans. Information may further be processed and/or manipulated to form knowledge. Information containing wisdom is known as knowledge. Taking an example, digits in a report card are considered as information, similarly stats when placed in a report or used in some context provides an understanding. Data collected during surveys is meaningless unless it is processed. Good questionnaires are formed  and surveys are conducted just to collect data which can be processed to give useful insight. Another example can be a tabular data, if simply a table is formed without with the available data it might not convey the intended message but when data mapping is done using that data to form graphs & charts it becomes information.

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Understanding Information processing Cycle (with diagram & flowchart)

Information processing cycle is a sequence of events consisting of input, processing, storage & output. These events are similar as in case of data processing cycle. In order for a computer to perform useful work, the computer has to receive instructions and data from the outside world. The computer receives data and instructions during the INPUT stage of the information processing cycle. Useful information results when appropriate instructions are applied to data. Applying instructions to data takes place during the PROCESSING stage of the information processing cycle. In order to avoid having to re-enter data and instructions or reprocess information, computers can save information. Saving information on a computer occurs during the STORAGE phase of the information processing cycle. Saving information on a computer occurs during the Storage phase of the information processing cycle. This is followed by the result in OUTPUT stage.

Information processing cycle

Four phases of the Information Processing Cycle

1. Input: Computer receives data and instructions
2. Process: Computer applies instructions to data to produce information (organized Data)
3. Storage: Saving the information for subsequent use or use in future
4. Output: Computer sends information to people in a usable format.

Related: Data Processing, Data Processing Methods, Data Mining

information processing cycle diagram

  1. Input – Entering data into the computer
    1. Feeding the collected raw data in cycle for processing. This is the raw data which is fed for processing & obtaining information.
    2. Input can be done by means of various devices such as keyboards, mice, flatbed scanners, barcode readers, joysticks, digital data tablets (for graphic drawing), electronic cash registers etc
  2. Processing – Performing operations on the data
    1. Once the input is provided the raw data is processed by a suitable or selected processing method. This is the most important step as it provides the processed data in form of output which will be used further.
    2. Processing is usually done by CPU (Central Processing unit) in a computer. CPU is the crucial component for getting the operations done.
  3. Storage – Saving data in soft/physical form
    1. This is the final outcome and the raw data provided in the first stage is now “processed” and the data is useful and provides information and no longer called data.
    2. Storage can be done on external hard disk, inbuilt hard disk, pendrives, micro SD cards, compact disks or even in registers.
  4. Output – Results obtained i.e information
    1. This is the final outcome and the raw data provided in the first stage is now “processed” and the data is useful and provides information and no longer called data.
    2. This can be used as it is or used for further processing along with more data.
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