Coding is the procedural function of assigning concise and specific values (either alpha or numeric) to data elements collected through surveys or other forms of research so that these data may be quickly and easily counted or otherwise processed and subjected to statistical analyses, most often using a computer. These values may be alphanumeric in format, although it is common practice to use entirely numeric characters or entirely alphabetical characters when assigning labels. Numeric character values generally are almost universally referred to as "numeric codes" while alphabetical character values (and sometimes alphanumeric labels) are commonly referred to in several fashions, including "strings," "string codes," and "alpha codes," among others.

Inasmuch as data processing and analysis is typically accomplished through the use of specialized computer application software ...

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