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Conclusion

This free course provided an introduction to studying Mathematics and Statistics. It took you through a series of exercises designed to develop your approach to study and learning at a distance, and helped to improve your confidence as an independent learner.


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5.1.4 How do I draw a bar chart?

First, you need to decide what it is you want your chart to illustrate. This may be governed by the data you have access to or you might need to collect the data yourself. Then the process is as below.

  1. Decide on a clear title.

    The title should be a brief description of the data that you want to show.

  2. Identify how many bars are needed.

    The bars correspond to the number of categories you have. For instance, if you are look
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Learning outcomes

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
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Conclusion

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
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2 Reflection on mathematics

Mathematics is a subject about which people have strong views, and these can be negative, positive, or a combination of the two. Our own experience, as tutors and students of mathematics, is that mathematics is often seen by others as something that ‘isn't for me’, and one where beliefs and feelings, especially worry and even fear, can be strong, as a result of previous unhappy experiences. We have written this section to help you to look at your mathematical background, so that you can u
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1 Your worries and concerns with charts, graphs and tables

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
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Learning outcomes

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
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1.3.4 Stage 2: Find a way in

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 ‘factual’, 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 ‘story’ goes from them? Skim read the introduction and the conclusion. Can yo
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1.2.3 Stage 1: Preparation

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 ‘real’ 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.


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1.2.2 Stages in reading numbers and diagrams

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.


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1.2.1 What evidence are we reading?

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 <
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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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Keep on learning

Study another free course

There are more than 800 courses on OpenLearn for you to
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7.3 Internalizing and interrogating key ideas

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
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1.1 Preparation for study

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
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3.1 The beginning of the research process

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, ‘The cycle of enquiry’ in Author(s): The Open University

2.3.2 Inner experiences

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
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Formats

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

  • print format
  • course content XML
  • course content RSS
  • 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
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Content

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
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6.1 What are aims and objectives/outcomes?

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
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