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2.3 Learning more

Consider your main use for the PC, and check that you have the skills or knowledge you need. Although some students use spreadsheets and databases, the key skills for most students are:

  • word processing study notes and assignments;

  • searching for information on the web;

  • using conferencing and email.

If you feel you need to know more about using your computer there are a number of options open to you.
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1.1 Ways in which computers can help you to study

Courses use computers for a variety of different reasons. These are a few examples.

  • To let you explore ideas and concepts in more depth, such as by using a multimedia CD-ROM or DVD with interactive exercises.

  • To help you communicate with others on your course. Online conferences offer a way to contact other students and staff for information, discussion and mutual support.

  • To allow you to analyse data, see pictures or
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5.1.4 History

There is no general dictionary or companion to the study of history as such. However, there are period and subject-specific companions and indexes, such as:

Jones, C. (1990) The Longman Companion to the French Revolution, London, Longman.

Consult those appropriate to your course.


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3.7.1 Technical considerations

Handwriting

Nowadays most people use a word processing package to write essays while some people may use a typewriter. However, if you don't have access to either of these you will need to hand-write your essay. Should this be the case, the ease of reading depends on the quality of your handwriting . It is only fair to your tutor to try to make your writing as legible as possible. This will take time and care. But when you have spent a long time putting an essay togeth
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2.6.2 Hansa's essay

Hansa's essay would get a higher grade than Philip's. But, like his, it has both strong and weak points.

Strengths

  • subtle understanding of Ellis's argument

  • excellent focus on the question in the title

  • generally sound structure

  • some very fluent writing in places

  • plenty of attack in the opening – pacey first paragraph

  • good sense of how to draw a conclus
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2.5.6 Essay presentation

Both Philip and Hansa presented their essays neatly, with no crossings out or obvious slips of the pen or type. And they make very few spelling mistakes. Philip puts ‘wifes’ for wives, ‘citys’ for cities and ‘carreer’ for career, and Hansa ‘sparcity’ for sparsity.

Spelling

People of
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2.5.5 Writing style

As we have seen, Hansa tends to use whole clusters of words and constructions that are a bit over-formal rather than wrong. She seems to be trying to impress her reader. For example:

They therefore fled from the country in order to escape the restrictions and consequent boredom placed upon them by the very limited pastimes that a high ranking women in the eighteenth century was permitted to indulge.


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2.5.2 Punctuation

Some of the sentences we have looked at are harder to understand than they might be because they are not very well punctuated. Punctuation marks are the ‘stops’ in a sentence that divide it up into parts. They make it easier to follow the meaning of the words. For instance, it is easier to read this sentence of Philip's if we put a comma after ‘wealthy’:

With society becoming more wealthy, it was possible for t
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2.5.1 Sentences

We can see that Philip knows what a sentence is because he writes some perfectly good ones. For example:

In many ways going into urban life from the countryside was beneficial to woman of the upperclass.

This sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a full stop. It has a subject (urban life) and a main verb (was). As any sentence is, it is a self-contained ‘unit of meaning’. It m
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2.5 Other aspects of writing

Now we will look at the way Philip and Hansa wrote and presented their essays. Did you find them both easy to read? As regards Philip's, my answer is, ‘yes and no’. It is sometimes easy because he has a fluent way with words. But it is often difficult because he does not use enough punctuation to help us make sense of his words, and because of certain mistakes he makes. I found Hansa's essay easier to read. Her writing is more technically correct and more assured than Philip's. But
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1.3.7 Summary

  • We can learn to use writing of all sorts as evidence by practising how to interpret it and by becoming aware of the conventions attached to its primary purpose for example as personal testimony, journalism, commercially produced material, such as market research and academic writing as well as material produced specifically through research such as interview data.

  • When approaching a piece of writing:

     

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1.3.4 Stage 2: Find a way in

Bearing in mind your analysis of the overt purpose of the piece of writing, whether it is explicitly social science or art, politics, entertainment etc., try to establish its basic point, its most obvious message. What is the title or headline; is it clear and ‘factual’, does it refer to some previous debate or require some sort of previous knowledge? Are there sub-headings and can you get an idea of how the ‘story’ goes from them? Skim read the introduction and the conclusion. Can yo
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Introduction

Social scientists collect evidence to support their claims and theories in different ways. Such evidence is crucial to the practice of social science and to the production of social scientific knowledge.

You may be aware of the idea of active reading, which is about reading with the aim of understanding and grasping something: a definition, an argument, a piece of evidence. What that suggests is that active reading is about reading and thinking at the same time. In
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • recognise some of the skills which are particularly associated with the way social scientists work;

  • describe some basic techniques relating to reading, for example, highlighting, note-taking and the processing;

  • write in your own words using references and quoting sources.


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Introduction

This unit is about the very basic study skills of reading and taking notes. You will be asked to think about how you currently read and then be introduced to a some techniques that may help you to alter the way you read according to the material you are studying. In the second section you will be asked to look at some useful techniques for note taking and how you may apply them to the notes you make.

This material is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Introducing the soc
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References

Ashworth, P. (2003) ‘An approach to phenomenological psychology: the contingencies of the lifeworld’, Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 145–56.
Bordo, S. (1993) Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture and the Body, Berkeley, CA, University of California Press.
Burkitt, I. (1999) Bodies of Thought: Embodiment, Identity and
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3.2 Consciousness of the body

Phenomenological theorists distinguish between the subjective body (as lived and experienced) and the objective body (as observed and scientifically investigated). These are not two different bodies as such (phenomenologists pride themselves on overcoming dualisms!); rather they are different facets of our experience and consciousness.

The body-subject, or subjective body, is the body-as-it-is-lived. I do not simply possess a body; I am my body (Merleau-Ponty, 1962
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4.3 Attending across modalities

The preceding section raised the issue of attention operating (and to some extent failing) across two sensory modalities. By focusing on distraction we ignored the fact that sight and sound (and other senses) often convey mutually supporting information. A classic example is lip-reading. Although few of us would claim any lip-reading skills, it turns out that, particularly in noisy surroundings, we supplement our hearing considerably by watching lip movements. If attention is concerned with u
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1.5 Summary of Section 1

The auditory system is able to process sounds in such a way that, although several may be present simultaneously, it is possible to focus upon the message of interest. However, in experiments on auditory attention, there have been contradictory results concerning the fate of the unattended material:

  • The auditory system processes mixed sounds in such a way that it is possible to focus upon a single wanted message.

  • Unattended material a
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3.3.1 Multisensory teaching for students

Guyer et al. (1993) tested the effectiveness of the Wilson Reading System for improving spelling in higher education students with dyslexia. They compared this technique to a non-phonic approach that teaches visual memory techniques to help students to remember frequently misspelled words. A control group of students with dyslexia but who had specifically requested no intervention formed the control group. Both intervention groups were tutored in the given technique for two, one-hour sessions
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