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Note: The article below has been written more than 9 years ago!

Double checking vs. Typing twice

  • Let’s say someone gives you a written note with a bank account.
  • Let’s say you’re a teacher and have to calculate averages for 30 pupils from 4 different exams at a respected university.
  • Let’s say you’re an accountant, and have 40 bills to put into an accounting system.

Each of these situations should leave with little room for any error, and with big problems if you do something wrong (money are put into a different account, a pupil does not join the university and, finally, you do wrong things in accounting).

How to make sure you’re right about inserting the data correctly?

  • A classical solution would be „insert & check”. The thing is, most people would be affected by confirmation bias – „Oh, I wrote 19,275, and here it is on the original paper – 19,275. This must be right!”. Therefore, to be absolutely sure everything is correct, most people would check more than one time. But the final feeling would still be of uncertainty – „What if, still, I am wrong?”.
  • I would suggest a solution which is more efficient time-wise, and, likely, with a better final peace of mine – „This must be right!”. The solution involves inserting the data two (at extremes, three) times. So, instead of making an Excel with all the pupils’ data, make 2 (even 3) Excel spreadsheets. In the end, there are automated solutions which check for differences. Even a fast ALT + TAB between two open windows with the same data should give a good result. In the end, the job is done faster & with better results for the inner peace.


Last modified on: 2015.11.29, at: 18:29.

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