Data matching in Social Science Research

Any kind of research being conducted to approve or disapprove hypotheses requires the collection of data, which is subsequently analyzed and compared. The conventional data collection methods and processes take up a considerable amount of time. With the advent of modern data collection tools and digitization of data records, the time required for conducting a research has reduced significantly. Data matching softwares are one of the modern technological tools, which have played a role in increasing time efficiency.

In order to fully comprehend the role played by data matching in scientific research, we must first learn what data matching exactly is and what does it entail.

Data matching –what does it entail?

Data matching is a modern method in which through the process of record linkage all corresponding results to a keyword are identified within a matter of seconds. In other words, data matching is the mechanism behind internet search engines such as Google. As you type certain keywords, the search engine shows you all corresponding results within seconds. Unlike internet search engines, data matching in other applications such as healthcare or crime prevention matches data accurately. Data matching primarily uses record linkage to accurately identify, match, and merge records across several large databases. Apart from finding all corresponding records to a query, data matching is also used to verify and validate records across large databases in a time-efficient and cost-effective manner.

The basic purpose that data matching technology serves is enabling utmost accuracy and efficiency. The technology was initially conceived to assist business enterprises to manage their stock in large warehouses by keeping track of inventory accurately in a reliable way. Currently, data matching algorithms and software are being used in multiple applications such as identifying criminals in national databases, mailing lists, health care and even in social & scientific research.

Social Science Research –what does it entail?

Social science pertains to the study of humans and their behaviors whereas the term social science research entails studying the human society in a scientific manner. In this particular area of scientific research, social relationships and the factors impacting them are studied in depth. Using a wide range of scientific data collection methods such as qualitative and quantitative data, these researches require a plethora of data to reach logical conclusions.

Why is social research so important?

Social researchers play an important role by studying different aspects of human societies and their behaviors. The results of these researches allow governments, businesses, and even individuals to make informed decisions based on real evidential data. Social researchers collect data over years and then identify patterns to help people have a better understanding of the collective human society. For instance, it helps governments and marketing agencies to understand the expectations of the public and then make policies or plans accordingly.

Social research also allows governments to devise better health care and education policies. Census, a study conducted to collect comprehensive details about most characteristics of a country’s population, is a prime example of social research. Social researchers use scientific methods to match data and identify patterns within the huge amount of data collected during the census. In an exponentially amassing global population of more than 7 billion individual human beings, it is becoming increasingly difficult for researchers to collect data efficiently. In order to help social researchers with this daunting task, data matching is used to increase accuracy and efficiency.

Role of Data Matching in Social Scientific Research

Data matching exponentially increases efficiency and accuracy in social research. Prior to the incorporation of data matching in social research, the time required to manually analyze a vast amount of data was too much. With the application of latest data matching algorithms and software in social research, the entire process has been streamlined to a great extent.

Time efficient data analyzing

Empowered with data matching technology, social researchers can now easily analyze data by simply entering a query and the data matching software will identify all corresponding results and present them within minutes. For instance, if a researcher wished to ascertain the number of people age 18 in a certain database, he or she could simply add a query and the software would match all corresponding records which include the number 18 in the age column within minutes.

Database structuring and organizing

Data matching software play another important role in social research by allowing researchers to make sense of the vast chaotic data collection by providing a proper structure. By coherently organizing the data according to its relevance, data matching makes the research more focused. Organization of records through data linkage also leaves little room for error, allowing a greater level of accuracy. The intrinsic value of any research depends upon its accuracy and validity of the data used in it.

Impact of Using Data Matching in Social Research

The application of data matching technology in social research has far-reaching implications. For instance, by using data matching software marketing agencies are able to analyze patterns in customer behaviors and devise marketing strategies accordingly. Furthermore, data matching tools are also used to assess the response of a vast consumer base to a certain marketing campaign or product. Unlike conventional methods of assessing consumer behaviors, data matching allows a greater level of accuracy.

Moreover, data matching software also allow researcher and policymakers to cleanse data by removing erroneous and duplicate data in an efficient manner. The removal of incomplete or incorrect data from a database allows the final results to be far more accurate. Any policy decision or marketing plan made using valid and reliable data tends to far more effective and successful.

In summation, data matching can play a significant and positive role in social research. Social science research augments the decision making processes, allowing better decisions to be made which have a direct impact on human societies around the world. Through the incorporation of data matching technology, this process can be streamlined allowing greater efficiency and accuracy.

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