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8.5.3 Negotiate the option to be taken forward

In many contexts problem-solving activities will involve other people. You may need to seek permissions, advice, support and resources from a range of people, such as your tutor, manager, group or team colleagues, or others who may have authority over or be affected by your work.

Some aspects of negotiation are:

  • gaining the co-operation of colleagues, as necessary;

  • establishing the availability of resources, including staffing;<
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8.4.1 Plan your use of problem-solving skills and select methods

Exploring and planning an activity often results in different options, possibilities and ways forward. Some approaches will be more feasible or will interest you more than others. At this stage you need to think about how you will be using your problem-solving skills and how you will assess the overall quality of your work. To help you make these decisions, you may find tools such as concept maps or critical-path analysis helpful in representing the different parts of the problem-solving acti
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8.3.1 Identify opportunities for using problem-solving skills

Where and how will you use problem-solving skills over the next 3–4 months? What opportunities do you have to develop your skills? For example, you may be working on a course project with a defined goal but the best route to that goal is not clear; you might be involved in contributing to the design of a system, improving its performance or investigating the feasibility of ideas; you may be involved in resolving resource or staffing difficulties, or in planning a major event.

Problems
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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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7.6.4 Evaluate the effectiveness of your strategy

Using the records in your Skills File, look back over your number skills development work and think about how your decisions, and the facilities and constraints of your working environment influenced the way you tackled the task. How effective was your strategy in improving your skills? Identify what was and was not helpful in achieving your goals and outcomes, and assess how your own strengths and weaknesses contributed to this.

Evaluate your achievements against the criteria you estab
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7.6.3 Explain results in relation to your work

You should be able to explain the results of your work, drawing attention to any patterns, trends or relationships you have identified. What are the consequences of your work? Does it support the hypotheses or assumptions you started with? How did you carry out your work? What lines of enquiry did you follow to reach your conclusions? Were there any dead-ends where you felt you could not make further progress, or particular insights that you felt helped you to understand your work better? You
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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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7.5.3 Monitor and critically reflect on your use of number skills

As you use number skills in your work, refer back to the outcomes you hope to achieve and the goals you have set yourself. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • am I on track to achieve my outcomes?

  • what difficulties in using numerical or mathematical techniques have I experienced and what have I done about them?

  • how have the choices and decisions I made impacted on the quality of my work?

  • do I need to make
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7.3.1 Identify opportunities for using number skills

Where and how will you use numerical and mathematical skills over the next 3–4 months? You may need to gather numerical information from different sources, form hypotheses about the information carried by the data, carry out statistical tests to check your hypotheses and then present your results and interpretations. Or you may be working with mathematical models (for example in engineering, environmental or financial applications) and need to understand and use formulas expressing relation
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7.2 Working on improving your number 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 numerical and mathematical skills, 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 ref
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7.1 Introduction to improving your skills in number

This key skill develops your number skills in your studies, work or other activities over a period of time. To tackle all of this key skill, you need to plan your work over at least 3–4 months to give yourself enough time to practise and improve your skills, to seek feedback from others, to monitor your progress and evaluate your strategy and present outcomes.

Application of number (simply called ‘number’ in this key skill) is all about using numerical and mathematical skills to f
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6.7 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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6.6.3 Identify ways of further developing your IL skills

Think about your overall IL 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 your 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 own
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6.6.2 Evaluate the effectiveness of your strategy

Using the records in your Skills File, look back over your information literacy development work and think about how your decisions, and the facilities and constraints of your working environment influenced the way you tackled the task. How effective was your strategy in improving your IL skills? Identify what was and was not helpful in achieving your goals and outcomes, and assess how your own IL strengths and weaknesses contributed to this.

Assess your achievements against the criteri
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Interpret results and identify your main findings

In interpreting your results, think about the coverage of your searches and whether you have missed anything or left out important areas. You cannot find everything, but you should be confident that you have located sources recognised for their accuracy, authority and authenticity. How will you judge the quality and coverage of your material? Be aware that while your information may be accurate and reliable, it may not be unbiased. Look carefully at the sources of your information (ask yourse
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6.5.1 Explore different information sources

Where and how are you going to look for your information? Finding information effectively involves being aware of techniques for locating and digging out the relevant information. Find out about how the sources you have identified are organised and indexed, and formulate your questions appropriately.

Set up different search strategies and criteria to explore alternative lines of enquiry. If you need to search for, evaluate and select information from the Internet or other databases, fin
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6.5 Monitoring progress

This stage of the framework is about keeping track of your progress. Are you using your information literacy skills effectively for your purposes? How do you know? Could you have done things differently: made use of different facilities and expertise, taken more advantage of tutorials, training sessions or local expertise, or recognised that such support would have helped you? Monitoring your own performance and progress needs practice; try to stand back and look at what you are doing as if y
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6.3.3 Identify and research relevant sources of information

Spend some time finding out about what you will need to help you complete you IL work and who you will need to consult. You may need to arrange access to a library, the Internet, databases online, or specialist training or publications. If you need to learn about specific aspects of IL (for example how to reference correctly articles, papers and books, or how to put together a bibliography), then look first at your course material and then at study guides or notes aimed at your area of intere
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6.3.2 Identify the outcomes you hope to achieve

An outcome is the result or consequence of a process. For example, you may want to select information from a number of sources for a report, and to do this you may need to improve your use of information search facilities and your critical skills in comparing and contrasting information. In this case your report is an outcome and using and improving your information literacy skills is part of the process by which you achieve that outcome.

A more focused outcome might be related to recog
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