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
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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.

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The BBC offers an Absolute Beginners' Guide to Using Your Computer (accessed 8 November 2006). This guide is ideal for anyone really new to computers.

If you're interested in the more technical aspects of how computers work and how they've developed over time, have a look at the BBC/Open University Information Communication Technology portal (accessed 8 November 2006).

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## 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

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
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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
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The material below is part of an extract (chapter 4 pages pp. 101â€“142 and pp. 265â€“268) adapted for OpenLearn and contained in The Arts Good Study Guide, by Ellie Chambers and Andrew Northedge from The Open University. Copyright Â© The Open University, 2005. The Arts Study Guide forms part of the study material for The Open University course A103 An Introduction to the Humanities and has been designed to be used with other Open University courses.

Except for third party mater
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Hinnells, J. R. (ed.) (1995) A New Dictionary of Religions, Oxford, Blackwell.

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Flew, A. (ed.) (1979) A Dictionary of Philosophy, London, Pan Books.

Bunnin, N., and Tsui-James, E.P.> (eds) (1996) The Blackwell Companion to Philosophy, Oxford, Blackwell.

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Blom, E., revised by Cumings, D. (eds) (1991) The New Everyman Dictionary of Music, London, Dent.

Isaacs, A., and Martin, E. (eds) (1982) Dictionary of Music, London, Sphere.

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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 â€˜wifesâ€™ for wives, â€˜citysâ€™ for cities and â€˜carreerâ€™ for career, and Hansa â€˜sparcityâ€™ for sparsity.

## Spelling

People of
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The task here is very different from our task when faced with numbers, where we need to deal with a high level of abstraction. Writing is often dense and multi-layered, and usually gives us, if anything, too much surface information about our subject. We need to make a mental effort this time in selecting and abstracting information ourselves. In order to do this effectively we need to be aware of the context of the writing. We need to check if we can, for instance, the political and s
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Reading about maps, I have been struck by the number of times that the idea of â€˜maps as part of our everyday experienceâ€™ has been mentioned. In fact, I was thinking about it recently, when I was preparing to travel from Belfast to London. I left home with a mental map of my journey to the airport â€“ but on the way I found that the road was blocked by a burst water main. â€˜Plan Bâ€™ was to consult my local road map for the quickest alternative and, in doing so, I wondered i
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Croall, H. (1998) Crime and Society in Britain, Harlow, Addison Wesley Longman.
Smith, D.J. (1997) â€˜Ethnic origins, crime and criminal justiceâ€™ in Maguire, M., Morgan, R. and Reiner, R. (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (2nd edn), Oxford, Clarendon Press.
Zedner, L. (1997) â€˜Victimsâ€™ in Maguire, M., Morgan, R. and Reiner, R. (eds) The Oxford Ha
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8.5 Constructing bibliographies

At the end of your assignments you need to include a bibliography or list of references. This is an alphabetical list of all the sources that you have used â€“ each chapter, book and article that you refer to in the main body of your discussion. Bibliographies take a particular form and usually involve listing the:

• author's name,

• date of publication,

• title of the piece, and

• details of the publisher.
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8.3 Acknowledging the sources of ideas

Even when you have used your own words it is essential that you acknowledge the source of the ideas you re-present. This entails making a note of the author and date of publication of the material from which you extract key concepts and points. So at the end of our summary of the Croall extract above, we would need to acknowledge that we got our information from that source by putting (Croall, 1998) at the end of the relevant paragraph. If you use more than one author's work in a paragraph th
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1.2 How do you read?

A good way of getting started on developing your reading and note-taking skills is to think about how you read now.

## Activity 1

The short extract reproduced below is taken from The Scotsman and is a journalistic piece of wr
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5.4 Summary of Section 5

Many familiar themes have re-emerged in this section, together with the recognition that attention is involved in the assembly of remembered material as well as of current perceptions.

• Attention is associated with the generation of perceptual objects.

• In addition to being an essential part of external stimulus processing, attention influences remembered experiences.

• ERP data show that cortical signals derived from una
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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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1.4 Eavesdropping on the unattended message

It was not long before researchers devised more complex ways of testing Broadbent's theory of attention, and it soon became clear that it could not be entirely correct. Even in the absence of formal experiments, common experiences might lead one to question the theory. An oft-cited example is the cocktail party effect. Imagine you are attending a noisy party, but your auditory location system is working wonderfully, enabling you to focus upon one particular conversation. Suddenly, from
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