8.3 Developing a strategy

In developing a strategy for improving your problem-solving skills you are aiming to:

  • identify the opportunities you can use to develop and practise your problem-solving skills;

  • establish the outcomes you hope to achieve and targets for achieving them;

  • identify the resources you might use for developing your skills, including people who might be able to help you as well as sources of data, books, study guides, tutoria
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8.2 Working on improving your problem-solving skills

The three-stage framework for developing and improving your skills provides the basis for you to become more confident in:

  • developing a strategy for using a variety of problem-solving techniques and tools, including being clear about what you want to achieve, identifying relevant sources of information that will help you to achieve your goals, and planning how you intend to improve your skills;

  • monitoring your progress and critically
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7.7 Drawing ideas together

This key skill has used a three-stage framework for developing your skills. By developing a strategy, monitoring your progress and evaluating your overall approach, you take an active role in your own learning. But learning does not necessarily follow a path of steady improvement, it involves change: revisiting ideas, seeing things from different perspectives, tackling things in different ways.

You are unlikely to be able to complete your work by working through it from beginning to end
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7.6.5 Identify ways of further developing your number skills

Think about your overall number skills and suggest areas where you feel you need to improve, based on the experience you have gained. You might find it useful to discuss with a tutor, manager, another student or work colleague how you might do this. There may be changes you feel you need to make so that you can move forward, such as trying to extend the facilities and resources available to you, changing the way you study to make best use of the time you have, or focusing on improving your ow
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7.6.2 Present information effectively

Organise your data so that you can use it to illustrate and support your arguments or point of view. To do this successfully you must be clear about what you want to say, who is your intended audience, and what points you want your audience to understand. Think about the most appropriate way to present your findings, and whether particular types of charts, graphs or diagrams will bring out the relationships you want to demonstrate. Choosing graph axes carefully (for example using non-linear s
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5.2.3 Identify and research relevant sources of information

Spend some time finding out about what you will need to complete your IT work successfully and who you need to consult. You may need to arrange access to a library, to the Internet, databases on CD-ROM or online, or specialist training or publications. If you need to learn more about specific IT procedures or techniques (for example setting up a spreadsheet, using a database, archiving data), then look first at your course material and then at study guides or notes aimed at your area of inter
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1 About working with others

Very few people study or work in complete isolation. Some courses now set projects and assignments that need to be completed in pairs or groups, either face-to-face or using econferencing. Even if your course does not formally require you to do this, working with others is an important part of your skills portfolio. Most jobs require you to work as part of a team, and employers value individuals who can demonstrate this.

In working on a work project or an assignment with others – in p
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6.2 Pie charts: Activities

Activity 14

4.9 When there's too much to do

This can be a real problem in large conferences. If, for whatever reason, you join a conference later than the other participants, or are unable to be involved for a while, the prospect of joining in can be a bit daunting. There will be lots of messages you haven't read and you may feel that everyone else knows each other.

The main thing to remember is that everyone will be pleased to ‘see’ you when you do join in, and will be helpful and supportive. Here are some strategies you can
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2.2 Reading diagrams

When you're studying, following the sense of a piece of text may not be straightforward. Often, you'll need to rewrite the text as notes or a diagram. Equally, some diagrams will need careful reading, and you'll have to make notes or draw other diagrams. So, how can we read different types of diagrams?


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3.7.2 Language

Your language should be direct rather than fancy. Don't strive for effect. You should always go for short and simple sentences where you can – especially when you are building up a basic essay-writing style. You can play with more elaborate words and grammatical structures later, when you have established a secure basic technique. Don't beat about the bush; pitch straight in to answering the essay question in a direct, purposeful way.


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3.6 Taking an objective, analytical stance

One of the things I said an essay should be is ‘objective’. What does that mean? Being objective about something means standing back from it and looking at it coolly. It means focusing your attention on the ‘object’, on what you are discussing, and not on yourself and your own (subjective) feelings about it. Your ideas should be able to survive detailed inspection by other people who are not emotionally committed to them.

An essay should argue by force of reason, not emot
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2.6.3 Re-working Hansa's essay

Now we have looked at Philip's and Hansa's essays in such detail, what have we learned? Perhaps the best way to answer that is to write another version of the essay, building on all the things we have discussed. In fact, I have taken the basic content of Hansa's essay, tidied it up and shuffled it about a little to bring out her argument more strongly. (However this is not the only possible way of structuring an argument in answer to this question.) I have also woven in some of Ellis's terms,
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1.3 Attending to sounds

From the earlier sections, you will appreciate that the auditory system is able to separate different, superimposed sounds on the basis of their different source directions. This makes it possible to attend to any one sound without confusion, and we have the sensation of moving our ‘listening attention’ to focus on the desired sound. For example, as I write this I can listen to the quiet hum of the computer in front of me, or swing my attention to the bird song outside the window to my ri
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1.2 Disentangling sounds

If you are still feeling aggrieved about the shortcomings of evolution, then you might take heart from the remarkable way in which the auditory system has evolved so as to avoid a serious potential problem. Unlike our eyes, our ears cannot be directed so as to avoid registering material that we wish to ignore; whatever sounds are present in the environment, we must inevitably be exposed to them. In a busy setting such as a party we are swamped by simultaneous sounds – people in different pa
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2.6 Environmental explanations of dyslexia?

‘Environment’ is often used to refer to only social or non-biological influences. However, it actually also refers to the biological, cognitive and behavioural environments that we may be exposed to. If you refer back to Frith's framework (see Figure 2) you will remember that the environment can be h
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2.3.1 Behaviour

First, for many decades, ‘behaviour’ has provided the most dominant kind of evidence – what people and animals can be seen to do. Behaviour can cover a very wide range of activities. Think about examples such as a rat finding its way through a maze to a pellet of food, a participant in a memory experiment writing down words five minutes after having done a memorising task, a small group of children who are observed whilst they, jointly, use a computer to solve a problem, a teenager admi
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1.4 The diversity of psychology

Since psychology is concerned with the full range of what makes us human, it is not surprising that the scope of the discipline is extensive. Psychology has always been a diverse, multi-perspective discipline. This partly results from its origins. Psychological questions were asked first by philosophers, then increasingly by biologists, physiologists and medical scientists. The diverse origins of psychology are visible if we consider four ‘founders’ of psychology – all of whom produced
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2 How to start SPSS

Activity 1

0 hours 20 minutes

This activity shows you how to start the SPSS software, navigate a computer desktop to find a file called Trends chapter 14, and then open it.

You will be requ
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4.4.5 Do – provide information

Clear information for students and advisors is essential. Disabled students need to know whether they can complete all the learning objectives and what adjustments they can expect. They need this information in good time before they start the course so that they can plan ahead. We have more to say on this subject in the section, ‘Informing students’.


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