FACTORS AFFECTING CODING ERRORS
RAND PROJECT AIR FORCE SANTA MONICA CA
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This Memorandum describes experiments which sought to identify the factors that contribute to coding errors. The experiments used code-stimulus materials numeric codes, consisting only of numbers alpha codes, consisting only of letters alpha-numeric codes of mixed letters and numbers and mnemonic codes natural abbreviations, such as OVH for overheated. Only three-character codes were used. Major findings were 1 Coding errors are proportional to the alpha content. 2 Errors committed with mixed codes reveal a position effect. 3 Perceptual set can increase or reduce error rates. 4 There was evidence of interaction in the statistical sense among the first, second, and third variables. 5 Unless perceptual set is specifically controlled most errors in recording mixed codes consist of substitutions of opposites. 6 Over half the erroneous substitutions appeared to be non- random. 7 Nonrandom substitutions tended to be unidirectional. 8 Most coding errors 75 to 95 per cent result from having a single digit in error. 9 The use of mnemonic codes did not reduce coding errors. 10 Letter-pattern familiarity affects coding errors. 11 Coding errors can be substantially reduced by providing keypunchers with a list of codes. 12 The amount of usable information that is retrievable from coded information depends on three factors a the error rate b the number of codes used and c the number of codes possible with the format in question.
- Computer Programming and Software