Many articles give information in the form of percentages. In such articles, tables and other numerical information are also often presented in terms of percentages. Percentages are used so often because they enable comparisons to be made more easily. Every percentage is expressing a value as a fraction (that is, as a proportion) of a hundred. â€˜Percentâ€™ is denoted by % and means â€˜out of a hundredâ€™, so 75% means 75 out of 100.

Look at the table in the article in Activity 6. It co
Author(s): The Open University

We gain much of our mathematical information from our surroundings, including reading newspaper and magazine articles. A skill that will be useful to all of us in our studies is the ability to do this in a structured way, as it is very easy to be uncritical of the information that we see. Newspapers and magazines frequently place mathematical information in the form of graphs and diagrams. All too often, we tend to assume that the information is correct, without questioning possible bias or i
Author(s): The Open University

Mathematics is a subject about which people have strong views, and these can be negative, positive, or a combination of the two. Our own experience, as tutors and students of mathematics, is that mathematics is often seen by others as something that â€˜isn't for meâ€™, and one where beliefs and feelings, especially worry and even fear, can be strong, as a result of previous unhappy experiences. We have written this section to help you to look at your mathematical background, so that you can u
Author(s): The Open University

The Open University (OU) has a number of short courses that introduce you to computing, online learning and the internet.

You can check out these OU course options on the Courses and QualificationsÂ  website at (accessed 8 November 2006).

Among them are:

• TU120: Beyond Google: Working with information online

• <
Author(s): The Open University

If you want to improve your computing skills or knowledge, there are plenty of resources available to help you. This section aims to get your search started by providing you with some useful websites.

Author(s): The Open University

It can be annoying if there are some people in your tutor group who don't participate in discussions. You may feel that this is unfair, or that you are doing more than your fair share of the work.

There's often a minority of people who don't join in at all, for a variety of reasons â€“ pressure of personal circumstances, illness, shyness, or deliberate decision. And different people may be at different stages in the course. A benefit of studying online is that you can fit your studying
Author(s): The Open University

Allow some time to get yourself ready for a course that involves using a PC.

If you already have a PC:

• double check it against the PC specification for your course.

• don't assume that a lower specification will be sufficient.

If your computer doesn't meet the specification, you might:

• be able to upgrade it. Check with the institution you're studying with. They should have
Author(s): The Open University

This option is the most challenging and most rewarding, as it clearly shows that you have explored and analysed the source material and reworked it for yourself. In many cases, the source material may not contain any diagrams, simply text or numbers, perhaps expressed as a table. Alternatively, you may have had to make some specific observations or undertake an experiment to produce your own data. In this case, you may be expected to produce a diagram to enhance or improve your assignment. If
Author(s): The Open University

## Activity 9

It is quite possible to write a good answer to the question without using the diagram. What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of not using the diagram?

### Author(s): The Open UniversityLicense informationRelated contentExcept for third party materials and/or otherwise stated (see terms and conditions) the content in OpenLearn is released for use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share

So far in this unit we have been looking at how you can improve your understanding of other people's texts and diagrams. I have shown you some study techniques that you can use to â€˜translateâ€™ text into diagrams and diagrams into meaningful text. However, this discussion has been focused on what you can do for yourself. At some point, you'll have to produce assignments that require, or will be enhanced by, the use of diagrams. One of the first decisions you'll face is whether to use an exi
Author(s): The Open University

Graphs and charts ought to be easy to read, since the main point of turning numbers into diagrams is to bring out their meaning more clearly. However, they are abstract representations that attempt to summarise certain aspects of the world in a condensed form. Consequently, they require a degree of mental effort on your part to bridge the gap between the formal pictures on the page and the aspects of â€˜realityâ€™ they represent. It is important to approach graphs and diagrams caref
Author(s): The Open University

2.2.2 Reading graphs and charts: manipulating numbers

Text is just one way of communicating information. Numbers are another way, but whether presented singly, in groups or even as tables , numbers often require a lot of work from the reader to uncover the message. A much more immediate and powerful way to present numerical information is to use graphs and charts. When you use single numbers or tables, the reader has to visualise the meaning of the numbers. Graphs and charts allow the reader to do this at a glance. To show how powerful these rep
Author(s): The Open University

2.2.1 Reading diagrams: questioning what they say

With each of these diagrams, and with others you are trying to read, there are several questions you can ask.

• What is the purpose of the diagram, that is, what is it aiming to tell us?

• How is the information imparted?

• What assumptions does it make about our ability to understand it?

• What are we expected to remember?

• How successful is it in doing all
Author(s): The Open University

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?

## Author(s): The Open UniversityLicense informationRelated contentExcept for third party materials and/or otherwise stated (see terms and conditions) the content in OpenLearn is released for use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share

2.1.1 Rewriting text as relationship diagrams

A spray diagram can help with note-making. In this section, I want to go a little further and show how you can use diagrams to help you understand what someone else has written. Here, it doesn't matter how well you can draw, as long as the finished diagram makes sense to you. As you become more confident at drawing diagrams for yourself, you will be able to move on to drawing diagrams for others.

At this stage, you may still have doubts about the value of diagrams for understandi
Author(s): The Open University

2.1 Analysing text

Some people find it easy to use diagrams in their studies. But I realise that there are others who don't take to diagrams at all enthusiastically. If this is how you feel, please read what follows, as I am convinced that everyone can get something from using diagrams to help their thinking. However, if after working through these sections, you still believe that diagramming as an aid to studying is â€˜not for youâ€™, then don't force yourself into an approach that doesn't suit y
Author(s): The Open University

1.2.2 Graphs and charts

Line graphs, histograms and bar charts are diagrams that show the relationship between two different quantities. For example, in hospital, a patient's temperature is often recorded at regular intervals and plotted as a line graph. This allows medical staff to see at a glance how high the temperature is and how it is changing. You often see graphs and charts in the media summarising unemployment figures or a company's profits over the last few months. There are two examples of these types of d
Author(s): The Open University

1.2.1 Relationship diagrams

Relationship diagrams are largely non-pictorial and aim to represent the structural or organisational features of a situation through combinations of words, lines and arrows, and a wide selection of boxes, blobs and circles. Examples of this type of diagram include the first diagram, entitled â€˜Some of the ways â€¦ spreadâ€™, in the Collee article (page 398). Some other examples are shown in Author(s): The Open University

Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

• appreciate what pictures and diagrams can do;

• understand how pictures and diagrams can help you to study texts;

• demonstrate how pictures and diagrams can improve your assignments.

Author(s): The Open University

Introduction

This unit will look at how pictures and diagrams can be used to represent information and ideas. In mathematics, science and technology (MST) subjects, we can often summarise how ideas or processes are connected much more neatly in a diagram than in words, or we can show how something looks and works by drawing a picture of it. This means that, as a learner, you need to be comfortable with pictures and diagrams. You need to learn how to read them â€“ how to extract information from the
Author(s): The Open University