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For my coursework, I am going to be making a database of used cars. The database is to help customers and staff to see what cars are available and specific information about them.
Having a database file of the cars will prove beneficial to the staff as it would take less energy, time and money to search for cars than searching through paper based files. Paper based files can get lost or damaged much easier then electronic files. Electronic files can be copied, emailed, exported and backed up making it easier to organize for the business. This would be more efficient, because you can search specifically through the database to look for certain requirements to meet a customer’s need.
In a database, you can add, edit, save, query and print records. These features are very simple for staff to carry out and are very effective. Using a database allows you to avoid errors through validation rules and input masks. A database can store a large quantity of records, which is also efficient for the business because they can store loads of information about customers.
With using a database, you can also make reports, visualisations of data (graphs and charts), tables and data entry forms. This is useful to a growing business that also has a chain of shops/outlets in the country, because data can be emailed easily and the information would be sent in reports and visualisations so managers won’t have to organize meetings and waste money.
With a database you can combine different type’s data easily such as numbers and text. Data manipulation is performed by using queries. This is using a structured query language on an easy user interface to help search through records.
This is beneficial for customers as well, because they can get a faster and more suitable service. Instead of waiting around for staff to find what they want, staff will be able to query the database in a matter of minutes.
Overall, a database will help the business be more organized, have easy access to information and be more productive.
Another helpful tool that Access database has is the query tool. With this tool, you can search for anything in the database easily without spending a lot of time searching through records. This is very useful for a business as it saves a lot of time searching for cars or features that customers may ask for. Here are a range of questions that customers may ask:
1. Can you show me any blue Volvo’s?
2. Have you got any cars that are diesel?
3. Which four door cars do you have?
4. Which cars do you have that are below 5,000?
5. Which cars do you have that have done less than 7,000 miles?
6. Can you show me a list of black cars?
Which of these cars are priced under 10,000?
7. Which Ford cars do you have?
Which of these cars is priced 10,000 to 15,000?
8. Which cars do you have that have air conditioning?
Which of these cars is under 10,000?
9. Which cars do you have that are over 20,000?
Which of these cars are diesels?
10. Which blue cars are there?
Which of these cars have 5 doors?
11. Can you show me a list of VW Golf’s that have Air conditioning?
12. Which cars do you have that have 5 doors and are petrol?
13. Which Nissan cars do you have that have 3 or 5 doors, but are not petrol?
14. Which Vauxhall cars do you have that have 5 or 4 doors?
15. Which cars do you sell that have 2 doors and are petrol?
For my coursework, I used a range of sources for my database. These sources are all varied slightly according to the details that were present. These are the 3 different sources I used:
Motor Point – www.motorpoint.co.uk
The Car Shop – www.carshop.co.uk
NK Motor – www.nkmotors.co.uk
(Sources are shown on the next three pages.)
These sources seemed all accurate, and I decided on what field types I used based on the data present from these sources. I didn’t use all the data from every one of these sources, as some seemed unnecessary or didn’t include enough information.
One record only presented the make, litres and price and because it contained so little data, I did not use it.
Some data, I did not copy down because I already had similar records present already: so I was looking for more of a variety. In a business, a car database will have numerous amounts of similar data for cars, but for my coursework I wanted to show as much variation as possible.
Vauxhall Zafira 1.8 Club Auto, 5 doors, Grey, 5495
The Car Shop:
Vauxhall Zafira 1.8i Club Auto, 5 doors, Grey, 5995
These two records seem too similar, so I only used one of them.
The method I used to collect the data was by looking at various different sources and deciding on all the data they had in common i.e. make, model, price etc. and copying down various information from each source. I double-checked all the information I copied and also made sure I did not copy down similar or same information. This method of collecting data is based on the output that I will be producing. The outputs are reports based on 5 different queries that customers may have about the cars.
Reasons For Choice Of Software
For my coursework I had to compile a database of second hand vehicles using current information from local garages, leaflets and newspapers. The database will be designed so that staff can obtain details of vehicles easily.
After I gathered information about 50 vehicles, I decided to test the data with different software’s. These software’s were Access Database and Excel Spreadsheet.
* Reduce errors in data with validation rules.
* Data security by having the ability to put password protection on files.
* Databases are designed for multiple users, and each user can have different data permissions.
* Can perform many tasks efficiently – reports, forms, graphs, queries etc.
* Database systems are complex, difficult, and time-consuming to design.
* Damage to database can affect the business greatly.
* Extensive conversion costs in moving form a file-based system to a database system.
* Initial training required for all programmers and users.
* It’s easy to edit data and the software can instantly recalculate the total for you.
* Simple layout.
* A database can be quickly and easily created using Excel.
* New columns or rows of information can be generated easily throughout the data entry process.
* A spreadsheet is a useful tool for data management as it helps to manage and sort data i.e. alphabetically.
* Updating multiple table links can require a lot of tweaking with a spreadsheet application.
* With a spreadsheet, by default any cell can contain any kind of data – can’t control what users input.
* This software can contain a lot of unknown errors.
I decided to choose Access Database because it was the best software to produce the required outputs. The required output is a report based on information that is processed from the database and you can’t produce reports easily in Excel which is one of the first reasons I decided to use Access. It’s easy to setup and you can manipulate it to make sure there are no mistakes. Multiple users can access database files which is more efficient for a business that has a lot of staff and requires updates of records.
You can query a database which is relatively easier then filtering spreadsheets. You can also do more complex queries in Access then in Excel. You can find information quickly and efficiently which reduces time and money in a business. You can control what is inputted in each cell and create validation rules and error messages to assist user’s i.e. staff.
In Excel you can’t control what you put in any cell, so if you make a mistake without realising, that mistake will remain unknown which can corrupt the data and cause there to be false records present.
I personally prefer to use Access Database because of its easy user interface and setup.
The data that the company will be using seems more compatible for this software as well, because some of the fields are Yes/No answers which can easily be inserted using a tick box.
Overall, Excel spreadsheet does have its advantages, but compared to Access Database, it isn’t as efficient as it could be.