After studying this course, you should be able to:

• reflect on the reasons for needing to improve skills in using charts, graphs and tables

• understand the following mathematical concepts and how to use them, through instruction, worked examples and practice activities: reflecting on mathematics; tables; line graphs; bar charts and histograms; pie charts; analysis

• draw on a technical glossary, plus a a list of references to further reading and sources
Author(s): The Open University

We have now looked at a number of different graphs and charts, all of which were potentially misleading. We hope that from now on if you have to work with a graph or a chart, you will always consider the following points:

• look carefully at any horizontal or vertical scale that is given;

• consider each graph or chart separately, don't compare them unless you are sure that they have the same scales;

• if it is not easy to
Author(s): The Open University

Some of the sentences we have looked at are harder to understand than they might be because they are not very well punctuated. Punctuation marks are the â€˜stopsâ€™ in a sentence that divide it up into parts. They make it easier to follow the meaning of the words. For instance, it is easier to read this sentence of Philip's if we put a comma after â€˜wealthyâ€™:

With society becoming more wealthy, it was possible for t
Author(s): The Open University

Do you sometimes feel that you do not fully understand the way that numbers are presented in course materials, newspaper articles and other published material?

What do you consider are your main worries and concerns about your ability to understand and interpret graphs, charts and tables?

Spend a few minutes writing these down before you read on.

One student has said:

I am never quite sure that I
Author(s): The Open University

After studying this course, you should be able to:

• reflect on existing skills and mathematical history, set up strategies to cope with mathematics and assess which areas need improving

• understand the following mathematical concepts, through instruction, worked examples and practice activities: reflecting on mathematics; reading articles for mathematical information; making sense of data; interpreting graphs and charts

• draw on a technical glossary, p
Author(s): The Open University

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, â€˜yes and noâ€™. 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
Author(s): The Open University

Bearing in mind your analysis of the overt purpose of the piece of writing, whether it is explicitly social science or art, politics, entertainment etc., try to establish its basic point, its most obvious message. What is the title or headline; is it clear and â€˜factualâ€™, does it refer to some previous debate or require some sort of previous knowledge? Are there sub-headings and can you get an idea of how the â€˜storyâ€™ goes from them? Skim read the introduction and the conclusion. Can yo
Author(s): The Open University

Numbers and diagrams are highly abstract and condensed summaries of the world. They require a degree of mental effort to bridge the gap between them and the aspects of the â€˜realâ€™ world they stand for. Approach them slowly and with care, allowing yourself time to get the feel of what you are looking at. Don't assume you already know what you are looking at.

Author(s): The Open University

Having established roughly what we are looking at when we see a table of numbers or a diagram, how do we read it systematically? It may be best to think of this as a process with several stages.

Author(s): The Open University

Although we live in a society where a huge amount of information is available in the form of numbers, some of us still feel a mental fog descend when we are asked to deal with them. This is because numerical information is information in a very condensed and abstract form. A number on its own means very little. You have to learn to read it. Numeracy (the ability to work with numbers) is a skill that we can learn. It is a very useful skill, because it allows us to understand very quickly the <
Author(s): The Open University

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).

Author(s): The Open University

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## Study another free course

There are more thanÂ 800 coursesÂ on OpenLearnÂ for you to
Author(s): The Open University

In addition to revisiting your notes at different times throughout the year, you might also look for opportunities to discuss key ideas with someone else - either a fellow student or someone outside of The Open University who is interested in contemporary social science debates. This can provide a helpful stimulus to internalizing them. Debating issues with someone else may well help you to generate further questions and critical observations, all part of processing and interrogating m
Author(s): The Open University

One of the main purposes of this course is to help you develop two kinds of skills:

• the general skills of being a student

• some skills which are particularly associated with the way social scientists work.

Both are of fundamental importance to your success in studying other courses. This course is about the very basic study skills of reading and taking notes. These are basic in the sense that they are the foundation for al
Author(s): The Open University

What distinguishes psychological research from common sense is that psychologists approach information and knowledge in a systematic and consciously articulated way. They use rules and procedures about how to build and apply theories, how to design studies to test hypotheses, how to collect data and use them as evidence, and how to evaluate all forms of knowledge. (See Figure 1, â€˜The cycle of enquiryâ€™ in Author(s): The Open University

A second kind of data is people's inner experiences, including their feelings, beliefs and motives. These cannot be directly seen from the outside; they remain private unless freely spoken about or expressed in some other way. Examples of these inner experiences include feelings, thoughts, images, representations, dreams, fantasies, beliefs and motivations or reasons. These are only accessible to others via verbal or written reports or as inferred from behaviours such as non-verbal communicat
Author(s): The Open University

Later in 2013, OpenLearn free courses will be available to be downloaded or taken away in several formats:

• print format
• course content XML
• OU XML package
• IMS Content Package
• IMS Common Cartridge
• plain zip
• Moodle back-up.

At the asset level, the major formats you will find are:

• text in XML or PDF
• animations in Flash
• i
Author(s): The Open University

If we look specifically at OpenLearn free courses, the content comprises both the course (structured self-study resources) as well as the individual assets that make up a course.

The assets of a course are the materials such as text, images, animations, audio clips, etc., which are likely to be in different digital formats. In some cases a course will consist of just one asset, but most contain a variety.

As the number of OpenLearn free courses grows, so does the variety available
Author(s): The Open University

It is best to start to settle on the aims and objectives/outcomes (these terms are variously used around the world but are largely interchangeable) of your free course as soon as possible. You looked at the intended learning outcomes of some courses in Section 1. The difference between aims and objectives is that the aim is the general statement of what you hope the course will achieve, usually expressed in terms of what you will be presenting in the course; the objectives are what you intend
Author(s): The Open University

When seeking content for adaptation and re-use in open educational contexts there are several tools available to support discovery. Many of these tools are the result of experimental prototyping and short-term funded projects, however, and therefore carry with them a certain amount of risk. Not all are sustained beyond the life of the funding, but these initiatives have sought to use a variety of search technologies to support the discovery of generic and domain-specific OERs. As we move forw
Author(s): The Open University