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Table design help!



 
 
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  #1  
Old November 13th, 2009, 01:24 PM posted to microsoft.public.access.tablesdbdesign
hannah
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Posts: 66
Default Table design help!

I'm a bit of an access novice (training on basics, searching for help on the
rest) building a database for a research project. I've tried having a wee
look for this question but I can't spot it anywhere (probably because it's
obvious to everyone else).

I'm designing my tables and what to put in them and I've hit on something
I'm not very sure about. For some questions there's a yes or no question
(e.g. "do you eat cheese?) and a follow up if they say yes, theres an "if
yes, which of these types..." follow up question. I'm not sure whether I need
to structure these into two different tables or whether I can use one table
for both? I was planning to use tick boxes for these but if there's a better
way, please let me know! Thanks very much for help in advance - I don't know
where I'd be without these groups (well I do, somewhere not very good!)
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  #2  
Old November 13th, 2009, 01:26 PM posted to microsoft.public.access.tablesdbdesign
hannah
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Posts: 66
Default Table design help!

P.S. what I totally forgot to say was whether it's okay to have a table with
just one field (e.g. just "do you eat cheese?" tick box)? Want to make sure
I'm doing this right from the beginning!

"Hannah" wrote:

I'm a bit of an access novice (training on basics, searching for help on the
rest) building a database for a research project. I've tried having a wee
look for this question but I can't spot it anywhere (probably because it's
obvious to everyone else).

I'm designing my tables and what to put in them and I've hit on something
I'm not very sure about. For some questions there's a yes or no question
(e.g. "do you eat cheese?) and a follow up if they say yes, theres an "if
yes, which of these types..." follow up question. I'm not sure whether I need
to structure these into two different tables or whether I can use one table
for both? I was planning to use tick boxes for these but if there's a better
way, please let me know! Thanks very much for help in advance - I don't know
where I'd be without these groups (well I do, somewhere not very good!)

  #3  
Old November 13th, 2009, 09:06 PM posted to microsoft.public.access.tablesdbdesign
Fred
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Posts: 1,451
Default Table design help!

Hello Hanna,

I noticed that nobody answered.

To be honest, your post indicates confustion on even the fundamentals, and a
responding would be even tougher than starting at zero because they would
have to start by undoing you wanting to talk about the cart before the horse,
as your post seeks to do. And you've given zero informaiton about the horse
leaving nowhere to start.

Well, if you survived that paragraph, you need to start by defining for us
(if not for yourself) the nature of the real-world process that you want to
databse, and decide and determine what the "entities" aree that you want to
database.

I'm guessing that one of these entities will be "questions" beyond that
you gave us nothin' to go on.

- Maybe your entities include people (who are taking the survey)

- Depending on what the nature of potential answers are (just yes/no?
Multiple choice from a set list? Free-form writing in the blank? anoth
entity might be potential (allowable) answers on multiple choice questions

- Maybe your entities include surveys (which are groups of questions) if
there are multiple surveys

- Maybe your entities include instancs of answers to questions

You'll have to tell us.


The answer to your "if-then" question will be dependent on your structure,
which you are going to build upon your "entities" answer. Also on you
defining whether or not a particular answer leads to just one "next
question" vs. a group of them.


I know that that makes your "next step" pretty complicated right now, but I
think that such is inevitable, and hopefully this helped a bit.


  #4  
Old November 13th, 2009, 09:41 PM posted to microsoft.public.access.tablesdbdesign
Jeff Boyce
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Posts: 8,621
Default Table design help!

In addition to Fred's observations, consider whether you need to reinvent
the wheel.

If this is a survey/questionnaire, perhaps work already done by Duane H.
could get you started:

http://www.rogersaccesslibrary.com/O...p#Hookom,Duane

Regards

Jeff Boyce
Microsoft Access MVP

--
Disclaimer: This author may have received products and services mentioned
in this post. Mention and/or description of a product or service herein
does not constitute endorsement thereof.

Any code or pseudocode included in this post is offered "as is", with no
guarantee as to suitability.

You can thank the FTC of the USA for making this disclaimer
possible/necessary.


"Hannah" wrote in message
...
I'm a bit of an access novice (training on basics, searching for help on
the
rest) building a database for a research project. I've tried having a wee
look for this question but I can't spot it anywhere (probably because it's
obvious to everyone else).

I'm designing my tables and what to put in them and I've hit on something
I'm not very sure about. For some questions there's a yes or no question
(e.g. "do you eat cheese?) and a follow up if they say yes, theres an "if
yes, which of these types..." follow up question. I'm not sure whether I
need
to structure these into two different tables or whether I can use one
table
for both? I was planning to use tick boxes for these but if there's a
better
way, please let me know! Thanks very much for help in advance - I don't
know
where I'd be without these groups (well I do, somewhere not very good!)



  #6  
Old November 16th, 2009, 10:56 AM posted to microsoft.public.access.tablesdbdesign
hannah
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Posts: 66
Default Table design help!

Thanks for your in put and apologies for my lousy explanation! You are right
Fred in that I don't feel particularly clear on the fundamentals of what I'm
doing really at all. And thanks Jeff for suggesting Duane's database, I've
downloaded a copy and tried to look closely at what he's done. My main
problem is that I've come to this project halfway through and my Access
training has been limited.

During training, we set up the tables for the first questionnaire (and
unfortunately, this doesn't resemble Duane's database much) but I'm now
trying to do the second one by myself and I just felt a wee bit confused
about what exactly goes where.

My entities include multiple surveys, each with different questions and
multiple answers, and details about the organisation filling in the survey.
Answers can be in a variety of forms (yes/no, write in the blank, multiple
choice and multiple choice where they can choose 'other' and specify).

My structure at the moment is (and I apologise now for the dreadful
explanation): a table with the name of each questionnaire and notes about it.
For each questionnaire, this links to a table with the contact details and
country of respondent. This links to a table for each of the overarching
questions and then I've grouped the smaller questions around these by theme.
I know this is nothing like Duane's but it's what we were advised to do in
training!

What I was wondering about in my earlier post is if it's okay to have a one
field table. I've got a smaller question (yes/no) and I wasn't sure whether
the question that leads from it ("if yes,...) should be in a separate table.
I thought instinctively yes but my training lady put the fear into me about
one field tables and I tried reading up on it on the internet but I just seem
to tie myself more in knots.

I appreciate I'm probably beyond help at the moment (and doubly bad at
explaining my problems!) but anything you can offer would be really
appreciated. Thanks again for your help already, it's really given me more to
think about.




"Hannah" wrote:

I'm a bit of an access novice (training on basics, searching for help on the
rest) building a database for a research project. I've tried having a wee
look for this question but I can't spot it anywhere (probably because it's
obvious to everyone else).

I'm designing my tables and what to put in them and I've hit on something
I'm not very sure about. For some questions there's a yes or no question
(e.g. "do you eat cheese?) and a follow up if they say yes, theres an "if
yes, which of these types..." follow up question. I'm not sure whether I need
to structure these into two different tables or whether I can use one table
for both? I was planning to use tick boxes for these but if there's a better
way, please let me know! Thanks very much for help in advance - I don't know
where I'd be without these groups (well I do, somewhere not very good!)

  #7  
Old November 16th, 2009, 02:22 PM posted to microsoft.public.access.tablesdbdesign
Fred
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Posts: 1,451
Default Table design help!

Hello Hannah,

First, answering your specific question, one-field tables are seldom useful
and seldom "the answer" for what you are trying to do. The one notable
exception is to to create a "pick list" for dropdowns etc.

One thing that you didn't tell us, but I'm presuming is the case.....will
this application be where they actually participate in the survey? I.E. the
person sits at the computer, and looks at the questions and answers them
through the Access application that you are going to write?


- - - -

That said, your mission as you describe it is very complex. For you to do
it yourself as described would probably require sever years of teaching
rather than a post in this group.

I think that you are going to have to either simplify it, or else have
someone more expert work on it for you. (like pay a developer or something.)
But don't use anyone who solicits for business in these forums.


Just being honest, which is hopefully helpful.


  #8  
Old November 16th, 2009, 04:07 PM posted to microsoft.public.access.tablesdbdesign
hannah
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Posts: 66
Default Table design help!

Hello Fred,
Your honesty is very much appreciated - every bit of advice is really useful
and I dread to think where I'd be without the amazingly helpful people in
this group.

In response to your question, this application won't be where the person
participates in the survey - they've already filled it in on paper. It will
be mainly me that inputs the data but I'm hoping that I can make the
application easy enough to use so that other people could use it too
(ambitious as this seems given my access skills!) I think this is part of the
problem in that the people who designed the questionnaire didn't make it very
clear or give much thought to how they were going to analyze the data at all!

The other key bit of information I should have written in my description was
that after I've put all the data in, it won't be changed or updated in anyway
(it's part of a one-off research project). I want people to be able to use
the application and see how it's set up but there will be no need to
add/change data in future.

I definitely agree that this needs simplified but I'm not really sure how to
go about it? unfortunately there's no budget for getting someone else to
develop it. At the moment, I've got a rudimentary application but I'm far
from sure that I'm going aboout it in the best way.

Anyway, thanks again for all your help (and patience!) - I genuinely can't
tell you how much I appreciate it.

"Fred" wrote:

Hello Hannah,

First, answering your specific question, one-field tables are seldom useful
and seldom "the answer" for what you are trying to do. The one notable
exception is to to create a "pick list" for dropdowns etc.

One thing that you didn't tell us, but I'm presuming is the case.....will
this application be where they actually participate in the survey? I.E. the
person sits at the computer, and looks at the questions and answers them
through the Access application that you are going to write?


- - - -

That said, your mission as you describe it is very complex. For you to do
it yourself as described would probably require sever years of teaching
rather than a post in this group.

I think that you are going to have to either simplify it, or else have
someone more expert work on it for you. (like pay a developer or something.)
But don't use anyone who solicits for business in these forums.


Just being honest, which is hopefully helpful.


  #9  
Old November 16th, 2009, 05:54 PM posted to microsoft.public.access.tablesdbdesign
Fred
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Posts: 1,451
Default Table design help!

Hannah,

What you just said DOES simplify it:

A. The database doesn't have to direct the process of which questions cause
which followup questions. Since it is past tense, they are all just
questions that may or many not have been answered.

B. Your users of the DB will be at least partially skilled or familiarized.



That makes things easier. So here are a few more questions after which
I or someone could take a guess at a structure to get you started:

1. Do you want the database to "know"/record what the possible / allowable
answers are for each question?

2. Do want the database to "know" record the "if then " linkages between
questions?

3. Does the DB have to guide the data-enterer along those paths/linkages?
(your answer should be NO on this if you want to simplify)

4. Are the same people taking multiple surveys? Are there several "fields"
with information on the person (address, city, state, phone etc.)








  #10  
Old November 16th, 2009, 06:07 PM posted to microsoft.public.access.tablesdbdesign
Fred
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Posts: 1,451
Default Table design help!


Also:

5. Do you already have a real-world numbering system for people (Like
PersonIDNumber)

6. Do your already have a real world naming or numbering system for the
questionaires?

7. Do you have a real world numbering system fo the questions. Is it
unique across ALL questions, oor just across the questions within on
questionaire?


 




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