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A list of popular misconceptions that students have when studying databases.
Common Database Misconceptions
Health Warning- There is almost no published peer reviewed research into common database misconceptions however this list is the result of pooling together over 100 hundred years of experience teaching novices databases at various levels. The list is not exhaustive and we don’t currently have any measure of the relative frequencies of these misconceptions however they have cropped up with regular frequency for the teachers involved in the identification process.
A data dictionary is actually a database table
A record is a field and vice-versa.
A database is the same as a spreadsheet.
A database can only have one table
Difference between number formatting and types.
Foreign key values are unique like primary key values.
The database file is the same as the database table.
There is no need to apply a length check when the maximum field size (of text field) has already been restricted.
Searching and sorting are the same operation.
Ascending order and descending order are round the wrong way.
Queries always return every field in a table or tables.
A complex sort means that you sort all of the records on the first field then sort all of them again on the second and subsequent fields.
Forms and reports are database operations not ways of displaying database results.
The user interface is part of the database.
The database is the graphical table within the DBMS.
A relationship between entities is uni-directional so if it makes sense reading it one way that must be the type of relationship. Many to many relationships end up being identified as one to many.
Primary key and foreign keys are the same thing.
Foreign key is always in the first table (table on left) or vice versa.
If two or more attributes are marked with a PK or a * then they are separate primary keys instead of one key made of several values.
A record with a particular foreign key value doesn’t have to exist in the table where it is the primary key.
In a complex sort it doesn't matter which field is sorted first.
I don't need a complex sort when I can carry out 2 or more separate sorts.
A database file and a table are the same
Sequence/order of data entry/creation doesn't matter (ie a value used as a foreign key must already exist)
Query involving multiple tables only requires those tables containing the search fields there is no need for the linking table(s)
SUM and COUNT are the same
Grouping and sorting are the same
Subqueries – a query cannot pick data out of another query.
Data from a database query has to be displayed using the user interface tools such as forms or reports in the Database Management System.
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