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Data reliability is
|“||the accuracy and completeness of computer-processed data, given the uses they are intended for.||”|
- Completeness refers to the extent that relevant records are present and the fields in each record are populated appropriately.
- Accuracy refers to the extent that recorded data reflect the actual underlying information.
- Consistency, a subcategory of accuracy, refers to the need to obtain and use data that are clear and well defined enough to yield similar results in similar analyses. For example, if data are entered at multiple sites, inconsistent interpretation of data entry rules can lead to data that, taken as a whole, are unreliable.
Assessing data reliability can entail reviewing existing information about the data, including conducting interviews with officials from the organization being audited; performing tests on the data, including advanced electronic analysis; tracing to and from source documents; and reviewing selected system controls.