6.1 Introduction

The process of keeping up-to-date in your chosen subject area is useful for your studies and afterwards, for your own personal satisfaction, or perhaps in your career as part of your continuing professional development.

There are a great many tools available that make it quite easy to keep yourself up to date. You can set them up so that the information comes to you, rather than you having to go out on the web looking for it. Over the next few pages, you will be experimenting with some
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5.5 Social bookmarks

If you find you have a long unmanageable list of favourites/bookmarks you might like to try social bookmarks as an alternative.

Activity – what you need to know about social bookmarks

Read 7 things you should know about socia
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5.4 The 5 Ds

If you don’t use a system at all, then you could suffer from the effects of information overload:

  • losing important information

  • wasting time on trying to find things

  • ending up with piles of physical and virtual stuff everywhere

One technique you might like to apply to your files (be they paper or electronic) is the 5Ds. Try applying these and see if you can reduce your information overload.


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4.4 O is for Objectivity

One of the characteristics of ‘good’ information is that it should be balanced and present both sides of an argument or issue. This way the reader is left to weigh up the evidence and make a decision. In reality, we recognise that no information is truly objective.

This means that the onus is on you, the reader, to develop a critical awareness of the positions represented in what you read, and to take account of this when you interpret the information. In some cases, authors may be
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2.1 Early beginnings – From magic to medicine

The life sciences sector, and its precursor the pharmaceutical industry, has a long and rich history. Pharmaceuticals, which are defined as compounds manufactured for use as medicinal drugs (remedies), date back to 2735 BC and the Chinese Dynasty of Shen Nung. Their development can be traced through ancient Hindu, Egyptian and Mediterranean civilisations. The word ‘pharmaceutical’ originates from the Greek pharmakon, meaning ‘drug’. In t
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5 Making a choice

If you are interviewing a shortlist of potential providers, the clearer you are in your own mind about what you require, the more effective your selection is likely to be. Given the size of the investment you are likely to be considering and its potential impact on the organisation, this selection process may be at least as significant as the selection of a senior manager, and you should invest appropriate effort in making your choice. You will want to think carefully about the process you wi
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4 models and methodologies offered

One of the more visible parts of the service many consultants offer is the model or models on which they base their work. When consulting, activity always needs to be related to the local situation. The consultant will normally start by trying to understand the client perspective, but then seek to expand that perspective, using theory and experience from elsewhere.

So you will probably need information on the theoretical models used by any consultants you are considering. In addition to
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1 Characteristics of service provision

Choosing a service provider tends to be far more difficult than choosing a supplier of goods. While there may be tangible components in the service an HR consultant offers, what HR consultants provide is largely intangible. As a starting point the following activity asks you to consider the issues likely to be involved in the initial decision to use a consultant.

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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • appreciate the characteristics of consultancy when viewed as a service offered for sale;

  • as client, identify suitable contexts for using consultants;

  • as client, identify, gather information on, and evaluate the suitability of competing consultants.


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References

Craig, S. and Jassim, H. (1995) People and Project Management for IT, Maidenhead, McGraw-Hill.
Elbeik, S. and Thomas, M. (1998) Project Skills, Oxford, Butterworth-Heinemann.
Gulliver, F.B. (1987) ‘Post-project appraisals pay’, Harvard Business Review, March–April.
Sabbagh, K. (2000) Power into Art,
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3.3 Evaluation during implementation of a project

At this stage the project activities are monitored to determine how their timing, quality and cost match the plan. The results of this monitoring are reviewed to see whether the plan needs to be modified. New environmental conditions may indicate the need to change the organisation's strategic direction. It might be necessary in that case to re-align the project, so that the outcomes relate to the new direction. In some cases it may be necessary to abort the project, if it is no longer approp
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3.2 Evaluation during the planning stage

Evaluation at this stage is usually concerned with whether plans represent good value for money. It may be appropriate to evaluate inputs to the project, to ensure that their quality and quantities are sufficient to achieve the objectives. In large building projects, many specialist tasks are subcontracted. Specifications are developed, and potential contractors are invited to tender for work. The element of competition can lead to problems if some tenderers are over-anxious to win contracts.
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3.1 Evaluation while developing the vision

A project is often shaped through discussion among those developing the vision and direction of the project. They may agree in general terms about what is to be achieved, but have to make a number of choices before deciding how to proceed. It may be important to allow time for different views to be heard and considered, and for attitudes to change and – hopefully – converge.

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8 Satisfying the client and end user

Most projects have an identifiable client or customer group which will benefit from or use the outcome of the project. The client may be external to the organisation which is implementing the project, for example, the customer for whom a new building is being constructed. Or the clients may be internal, for example, the users of a new IT system. As we have already seen, it is important that the client or end user shares and endorses the project's objectives and is actively involved in its dev
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7 FAQs

These questions represent general issues about ‘getting started’, but they have a particular focus on special requirements, whether it’s about volunteering for particular age groups or virtual volunteering for those with a lack of regular time to commit, or problems with mobility.

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9.5 Social work and the law in Scotland

In this unit you will be asked to reflect on the meanings of both social work and law. You will find that these concepts are open to a range of possible definitions, and that the functions of social work and law can change depending on the practice context. Their meaning is also affected by the perspective from which they are viewed, for example, the service user's experience of social work and law will not always match the expectations of the professional, or the perceptions of the general p
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5 Additional learning resources

Video resource

If you enjoyed the theme of the videos in this unit watch the video below to find out more about the OU course DD208 Welfare, crime and society.

Download this video clip.
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4.2 Introducing surveillance

The videos in this section will introduce you to surveillance as an idea and a practice. The main theme of these videos is how surveillance can be viewed as double-edged: it has both protective and disciplinary aspects to it. This double-edged nature of surveillance is explored through a case study of a shopping mall – the White Rose Centre on the outskirts of Leeds. You will come across a range of different evidence, including interviews with an academic, a policymaker and different users
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2 Note taking from an audio visual text

The first important point to make is that note taking is more than a process of summarising everything that you see; it must be an active process of engaging with the material and thinking it through for yourself. In the videos, the multidimensional nature of the visual images and the stories they convey means that you will not be able to take in everything on first viewing. The videos allow us to present visual as well as audio information and in a form that makes it easier for you to revisi
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4.5 Summary

So far, then, we have seen that family meanings matter for individuals, for social policy and professional practices, and for family studies – both for the ways in which family studies are undertaken, and for the ways in which such academic work impinges upon wider understandings and social processes. Each area of family meanings may thus also shape each of the other areas.


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