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7.4 Evaluating your strategy and assessing your work

Present a reflective summary that gives details of:

  • A judgement of your own progress and performance in using problem-solving skills, including an assessment of your progress. Discuss your use of criteria and feedback comments to help you assess your progress.

  • Those factors that had the greatest effect on your achieving what you set out to do, including those that worked well to help you improve and those that worked less well.


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8 Part B: Evidencing your number skills

This Part requires you to present a portfolio of your work to demonstrate that you have used and integrated your number skills within your study or work activities to achieve the standard required. For example, you might include learning about new mathematical techniques to tackle a particular task; using graphs, diagrams, tables or charts more effectively in presenting, analysing and comparing results; setting up and using mathematical models to predict and explain behaviour; using equations
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9.1 Further reading

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

    Chapter 4 is entitled ‘Working with numbers’

    Other chapters are entitled: ‘Reading and note taking’, ‘Other ways of studying’, ‘What is good writing?’, ‘How to write essays’, ‘Preparing for examinations’.

  • The Sciences Good Study Guide by Andrew Northedge, Jeff Thomas, Andrew Lane, Alice
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7.2 Averages

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
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7.1 Introduction

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 ‘average’. If you have already studied OpenL
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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).

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4.1.2 When is a line graph not a good format to use?

When you have a large amount of data without an obvious link. For example, when your data shows shares of a whole, in which case, you would use a pie chart.


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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.

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6.1 Introduction

As a student, you're likely to engage in a variety of writing tasks. You'll almost certainly handle significant amounts of text and, depending on your course, perhaps also numbers or diagrams.

This section looks at the different way that you write using a computer, and also provides some referencing advice.


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2.2.1 Reading diagrams: questioning what they say

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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1.2.1 Relationship diagrams

Relationship diagrams are largely non-pictorial and aim to represent the structural or organisational features of a situation through combinations of words, lines and arrows, and a wide selection of boxes, blobs and circles. Examples of this type of diagram include the first diagram, entitled ‘Some of the ways … spread’, in the Collee article (page 398). Some other examples are shown in Author(s): The Open University

5.1.6 Languages and Law

Your course will recommend appropriate dictionaries, grammars and reference books.


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3.6 Taking an objective, analytical stance

One of the things I said an essay should be is ‘objective’. What does that mean? Being objective about something means standing back from it and looking at it coolly. It means focusing your attention on the ‘object’, on what you are discussing, and not on yourself and your own (subjective) feelings about it. Your ideas should be able to survive detailed inspection by other people who are not emotionally committed to them.

An essay should argue by force of reason, not emot
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3.4 Showing a good grasp of ideas

To show your grasp of the ideas you have been studying you have to express them for yourself, in your own words. Your tutor will certainly be looking out for signs that you understand the centrally important issues. For example, Philip showed that he understood the significance of Ellis's point about women's loss of a household management role. But he was very vague about the effects this had on women's lives in the countryside, which suggests he hadn't really sorted out that part of h
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2.5.1 Sentences

We can see that Philip knows what a sentence is because he writes some perfectly good ones. For example:

In many ways going into urban life from the countryside was beneficial to woman of the upperclass.

This sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a full stop. It has a subject (urban life) and a main verb (was). As any sentence is, it is a self-contained ‘unit of meaning’. It m
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2.5 Other aspects of writing

Now we will look at the way Philip and Hansa wrote and presented their essays. Did you find them both easy to read? As regards Philip's, my answer is, ‘yes and no’. It is sometimes easy because he has a fluent way with words. But it is often difficult because he does not use enough punctuation to help us make sense of his words, and because of certain mistakes he makes. I found Hansa's essay easier to read. Her writing is more technically correct and more assured than Philip's. But
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1.3.3 Stage 1: Preparation

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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1 The importance of evidence

The gathering, presentation and assessment of evidence are crucial and indeed inescapable parts of the practice of social science, hence the crucial role of evidence in the circuit of knowledge (see Figure 1).

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Introduction

This unit looks at the prevalence of maps in everyday life, their uses and their importance. From mental maps to public transport and street maps it moves on to historical and history-making maps. Along with assessing the political importance of some maps it examines how we read maps and looks at how to evaluate the information contained within them. Although maps might seem to be objective and factual the unit looks at the values embedded in both maps themselves and our perceptions of them.<
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2.1 Reading techniques: scanning

There are three main techniques that you can use in order to read in such a way as to achieve your purpose: scanning, skimming, and focused reading. Let's take each in turn.

The technique of scanning is a useful one to use if you want to get an overview of the text you are reading as a whole – its shape, the focus of each section, the topics or key issues that are dealt with, and so on. In order to scan a piece of text you might look for sub-headings or identify key words and p
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