Steps in the Data Processing Cycle

By Mike Wallace

The data processing cycle is a formalized attempt at categorizing the steps needed to process data fully. Each step must be taken in order, but the order is cyclic. That is, the data output stage can result in a repeat of the data collection stage, resulting in another cycle of data processing. The data processing cycle is used to aid in computerized data processing, but it can be applied to any process that involves data.

Things You'll Need

  • Data

Step 1

Collect data in the first stage of the cycle, appropriately named "collect data." In this stage of the cycle, data is gathered. The format of the collected data can be made to adhere to a given syntax. This is especially useful for the next stage, data input.

Step 2

Input the data for the "data input stage." In this stage, data is fed from raw form into the computational device. A great deal of processing power is required to parse complex data, so most data adheres to a formal and strict syntax. This allows the data input mechanism to perform less computationally intensive work and reduces errors.

Step 3

Process the data in the "data processing and storage" stage.This stage deals with data processing and manipulation. Once data has been processed, it is stored in a storage medium such as a hard disk.

Step 4

Output the data in the stage called "data output." After the processing stage, data is output for analysis. For example, the data processing cycle might be used to select the best candidates for a job. Once it has completed, the name of the top candidate pops out during the data output cycle. If too many candidates popped out, they could be re-entered as data input, thus restarting the cycle.