• *The Good Study Guide by Andrew Northedge, published by The Open University, 1990, ISBN 0 7492 00448.

Chapter 4 is entitled â€˜Working with numbersâ€™

Other chapters are entitled: â€˜Reading and note takingâ€™, â€˜Other ways of studyingâ€™, â€˜What is good writing?â€™, â€˜How to write essaysâ€™, â€˜Preparing for examinationsâ€™.

• The Sciences Good Study Guide by Andrew Northedge, Jeff Thomas, Andrew Lane, Alice
Author(s): The Open University

## 7.2.1 Mean, median and mode

The mean, median and mode are all types of average and are typical of the data they represent. Each has advantages and disadvantages, and can be used in different situations, but they all give us an idea of the general size of the values involved. Here we provide brief definitions, and some idea of when each should be used.

The following set of data i
Author(s): The Open University

Charts, graphs and tables are all very helpful ways of representing a set of data. However, they are not the only ways of passing on information about data. This section looks at how you can analyse a set of data to summarise the given information as briefly and simply as possible.

Essentially, there are two features of a set of data that enable summarising: the average and the spread. This section starts by looking at what is meant by â€˜averageâ€™. If you have already studied OpenL
Author(s): The Open University

6.1 What is a pie chart?

A pie chart is a circular chart (pie-shaped); it is split into segments to show percentages or the relative contributions of categories of data.

#### 6.1.1 When are pie charts used?

A pie chart gives an immediate visual idea of the relative sizes of the shares of a whole. It is a good method of representation if you wish to compare a part of a group with the whole group. You could us
Author(s): The Open University

5.3 Histograms

## 5.3.1 What is a histogram?

The simplest definition of a histogram is that it is a bar chart with the adjacent bars touching each other. Unlike a bar chart, histograms are usually drawn only with vertical bars. Generally, histograms are used to illustrate continuous data whereas bar charts are used to illustrate discrete data (distinct categories).

Author(s): The Open University

4.8.3 Mode

The mode, or modal value, is the most popular value in a set of numbers, the one that occurs most often. However, it is not always possible to give the mode as some sets of values do not have a single value that occurs more than each of the others. Like the median, the mode can help us to get a better feel for the set of values. Retailers find the mode useful when they want to know which item to restock first.

Author(s): The Open University

4.5 Histograms

Histograms are a special form of bar chart in which the bars usually touch each other because histograms always show data collected into â€˜groupsâ€™ along a continuous scale. They tend to be used when it's hard to see patterns in data, for example when there are only a few variables, or the actual amounts are spread over a wide range. For example, suppose you manufactured biscuits; it is important to manufacture closely to a given size, as there are regulations governing the sales of biscuit
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4.3 Pie charts, bar charts, histograms and line graphs

These are all different ways of representing data and you are likely to be familiar with some, if not all of them. They usually provide a quick summary that gives you a visual image of the data being presented. Below, we have given a brief definition and some ideas of how each can be used, along with a corresponding activity. We suggest that you look out for similar examples in everyday life, and question the information that you see.

Author(s): The Open University

Tables are used as a way of describing what you are talking about in a structured format. They tend to be used to present figures, either as a summary or as a starting point for discussion. Tables are also probably the most common way of presenting data in educational courses.

Tables have always been compiled by someone. In doing so, the compiler may have selected data and they will have chosen a particular format, either of which may influence the reader. You need to be aware of the co
Author(s): The Open University

3 Reading articles for mathematical information

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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7.1 Introduction

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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2.5 Find out how computers work

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).

Author(s): The Open University

3.1.1 Option 1: Don't use the diagram at all

## 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
Author(s): The Open University

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

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
Author(s): The Open University

Hinnells, J. R. (ed.) (1995) A New Dictionary of Religions, Oxford, Blackwell.

Author(s): The Open University

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.

Author(s): The Open University

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.

Author(s): The Open University

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
Author(s): The Open University