Not applicable is a term that is used to indicate information that is not available or that does not apply to a particular situation. This is commonly abbreviated n/a or N/A.
FormsForms are commonly designed with assumptions that don't apply to all situations. For example, a loan application might ask for your previous address but you may have lived at a single location your entire life or your previous address may be in another country that doesn't fit into the address format on the form. In either case, it is a common practice to simply enter "N/A."
ResearchResearch based on surveys and other user input often generates a large number of N/A fields. Researchers may include this in their analysis as N/A is not the same as an incomplete response that should be discarded. How N/A is treated depends on the nature of the research. For example, research regarding workplace stress may ask participants how they commute to work. A response of N/A may be reasonable interpreted as an employee who doesn't commute, most likely because they work from home.
Processes & ProceduresProcesses and procedures may require N/A to be entered when information isn't known or isn't relevant to a particular situation. This is done to differentiate between a field that has been overlooked and one that simply doesn't apply.
ComputingApplications and systems commonly detect and handle N/A responses. In many cases, such responses are accepted and processed accordingly. For example, if you enter "N/A" as your previous address a system may recognize that this is not an address but an indication that no previous address is applicable to the situation. Not handling N/A user input can result in defects such as a system that registers a customer's middle name as "N/A."
DatabasesN/A has a different meaning from null. Null indicates a field has not been set. In other words, that a field is unknown. N/A can be used to indicate that a field is not applicable to a particular record. Nevertheless, it is common for databases to record N/A as null unless a field is an enumerated type with N/A as one of the accepted options.
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