1.7 Testing

The aim of testing is to uncover errors in the design and implementation of the database, its structure, constraints and associated user and management support. Testing is usually considered to involve two main tasks – validation and verification. Without adequate testing users will have little confidence in their data processing.

Validation answers the question: has the right database been developed to meet the requirements? It attempts to confirm that the right database has been co
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except 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

1.6.4 Supporting data management strategies

Most of the development we've covered so far in this unit has focused on meeting specific user requirements – that is, ensuring the right data are constrained correctly and made available to the right user processes. However, other questions must also be addressed in order to support a data management strategy: How frequently should data be backed-up? What auditing mechanisms are required? Which users will be permitted to perform which functions? Which database tools and user processes wil
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except 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

5.2.2 Opening up ideas: analysing the question

What do you need to know about your assignment? Most importantly, what it's about (i.e. the topic). Once you have worked this out, you are in a better position to gauge how much you already know and how much you will need to find out.

Activity 9

Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except 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

5.1 Estimating the time for the task

First you need to know how much time you have available for your assignment. The pacing of your studies comes outside the scope of this unit, but it can be very de-motivating when you no longer feel in control of your studies because – for whatever reason – you have fallen behind. So it is extremely important to meet the deadlines set by the course team in your course calendar whenever possible.

Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except 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

4.3 Essays

Now let's turn to essays.

Activity 4

Note down what you consider to be the purpose of an essay.

Discussion

Michel de Montaigne, a French philosopher,
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except 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

4.2 Reports

Let's look at reports first.

Activity 3

Note down what you consider to be the purpose of a report.

Discussion

Your answer may well depend on the subje
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except 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

4.1 Writing requirements

Being a successful writer in one area doesn't always make it easy to know what is required in another. Here are some general questions that you can ask to help define the requirements for particular pieces of writing:

  • What will my tutor be expecting? (this is sometimes phrased as ‘think about the audience’)

  • What is the most appropriate format: report or essay? Do I have a choice, or is it stipulated in any guidance notes I've been
    Author(s): The Open University

    License information
    Related content

    Except 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

2.2 Developing writing styles

If any of the statements on the previous page rings true, let us reassure you: many other students are feeling the same as you. Writing skills can be learned. We want to emphasise straightaway that this is a process that can be continually developed.

There is no single ‘correct’ way of writing: different academic disciplines demand different styles. This can be confusing if you feel that you've mastered what is required for one course, only to find that something different is
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except 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 Your feelings about writing

Think for a moment about your reasons for studying this unit. Is it perhaps because you don't understand what is expected of you in your assignments, or that you aren't clear about how to improve? What are your feelings about your writing skills? What previous experience have you had (if any) of essay or report writing?

Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except 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

Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • understand what writing an assignment involves;

  • identify their strength and weaknesses;

  • consider the functions of essays and reports;

  • develop writing skills, whatever the stage they have reached.


Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except 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

Acknowledgements

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see terms and conditions), this content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this unit:

Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except 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

8.6 Research skills

This kind of work teaches some very valuable skills:

  • how to set about an enquiry

  • how and where to find source material and information

  • how to make your own investigations

  • strategic planning

  • time management

  • cutting corners and being pragmatic

  • analysing and interpreting primary and secondary source material

  • forming your own conclusions<
    Author(s): The Open University

    License information
    Related content

    Except 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

5.5.4 Evaluate the effectiveness of your strategy

Using the records in your Skills File, look back over your IT 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 IT skills? Identify what was and was not helpful in achieving your goals and outcomes, and assess how your own IT strengths and weaknesses contributed to this.

Evaluate your achievements against the criteria you establishe
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except 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

5.5.2 Use the views of others to guide your presentation

Asking others to read, listen to and comment on the presentation of your results can give you important feedback on your work. Think about who you can ask to provide you with constructive criticism and helpful comments on your work. To help others comment effectively, be clear about what you want them to focus on. For example do you want comments on technical detail, accuracy of content, quality of argument, general structure, grammar and spelling, presentation of results, and so on? Decide h
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except 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

5.4.4 Monitor and critically reflect on your use of IT skills

As you use IT 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 information technology 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 any changes in the way I
    Author(s): The Open University

    License information
    Related content

    Except 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

5.2.3 Identify and research relevant sources of information

Spend some time finding out about what you will need to complete your IT work successfully and who you need to consult. You may need to arrange access to a library, to the Internet, databases on CD-ROM or online, or specialist training or publications. If you need to learn more about specific IT procedures or techniques (for example setting up a spreadsheet, using a database, archiving data), then look first at your course material and then at study guides or notes aimed at your area of inter
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except 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

7.3 Monitoring your progress

Use your records or logbook to provide a reflective commentary on:

  • what you did to help you set up and use numerical, graphical and algebraic methods and techniques to achieve your goals; for example, what you did to:

     

    • evaluate information from different sources and develop alternative lines of enquiry;

    • carry out calculations to appropriate levels of accuracy and draw on a range of nu
      Author(s): The Open University

      License information
      Related content

      Except 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

7.2 Developing a strategy

Present notes or records to show you have planned your use of number skills. Include:

  • the goals you hope to achieve for your number skills over 3–4 months or so, taking into account the work you have to do and your current capabilities;

  • notes about the resources you might use and the information you need to research to achieve your goals; for example, discussions and econferences, online resources, skills books, course materials, wo
    Author(s): The Open University

    License information
    Related content

    Except 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

8 Part B: Evidencing your information literacy skills

This Part requires you to present a portfolio of your work to demonstrate that you have used and integrated your information literacy skills within your study or work activities to achieve the standard required. For example, you might include learning about new search tools and user interfaces; using databases, catalogues and other resources more effectively; organising and presenting citations and bibliographies; reviewing critically the coverage, authenticity and authority of your sources.<
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except 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

8 Part B: Evidencing your IT skills

This Part requires you to present a portfolio of your work to demonstrate that you have used and integrated your IT skills within your study or work activities to achieve the standard required. For example, you might include learning about new software for a particular task, using databases and other resources more effectively in searching for information, setting up and using different ways of communicating and sharing information, setting up and using computer-based models to predict, expla
Author(s): The Open University

License information
Related content

Except 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