Module team

Rosalind Armson, author

Joyce Fortune, case study author

Ray Ison, author

Martin Reynolds, course chair

Laurence Newman, course manager

Mike Aiken, critical reader

Mandy Anton, graphic designer

Simon Bell, critical reader

Victor Bignell, critical reader

Chris Blackmore, critical reader

Jake Chapman, critical reader

Tony Duggan, project controller (Technology)

Pip Harris, compositor

Mike Haynes, critical
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Acknowledgements

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


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Activity answers

Study Note: As outlined in the text I have not provided answers to all Activities. This is for two reasons:

  1. For some activities only you can devise the answer and any I gave would be distracting or unhelpful.

  2. For others in-text answers are given.


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3.5 Studio tape recorders

The importance of tape recording to record production cannot be overemphasised. From its development until the coming of digital tape recorders in the late 1970s, the analogue tape recorder was at the heart of the professional music recording studio. Initially, the full width of the standard quarter-inch tape was used for making monophonic recordings. Stereo needed two tracks – one for each channel. Rather than doubling the tape width, a decision was made to halve the track width by incorpo
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3.4 Compact cassettes

The use of magnetic tape for home use has always been somewhat problematic. Whilst it offers several advantages over discs, being capable of high-quality sound, substantially free from surface noise and able to make personal recordings, tape never became so popular as to make any serious inroads into the sales of discs. Why should this be the case? The answer is one of convenience, for magnetic tape has always been difficult to handle compared with discs – threading the tape through the mac
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2.3 Berliner experiments with plates

Emile Berliner was a young German immigrant to the USA with an interest in science. Whilst working in several menial jobs he educated himself in basic physics and chemistry, eventually building a small laboratory at his boarding house. Experiments with electricity and acoustics led to his invention of a new telephone transmitter, which he sold, enabling him to set up as a full-time inventor. He became interested in recording sound through studying a device called the phonoautograph. This appa
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit, you should be able to:

  • explain correctly the meaning of the emboldened terms in the main text and use them correctly in context;

  • describe simply what a pressure wave is and give a simple explanation of sound in terms of a travelling pressure wave;

  • explain ‘cycle’ in terms of an oscillating source and the pressure wave it produces;

  • relate amplitude (including peak-to-peak and r.m.s.), frequency, period a
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6.2 Modes of managing systemically

Now I want to describe some of the possibilities I see as being available in the repertoire of an aware systems practitioner able to connect with the history of systems thinking and with the new theories of complexity.

David Robertson, in a presentation to the Society for Research into Higher Education in late 1998 entitled ‘What employers really, really want’ reported that: ‘research on employers in a number of English-speaking countries (an elite survey with senior corporate peo
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5.4 Methodology, method, technique, and tools

As you engage with systems thinking and practice you will become aware how different authors refer to systems methodologies, methods, techniques, and tools, as well as systems approaches. Having just spent some time explaining what I mean by a systems approach, I now want to distinguish between methodology, method, technique and tool.

Several authors and practitioners have emphasised the significance of the term methodologies rather than methods in relation to Systems. A method i
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5.5 Multiple-cause diagrams

Multiple-cause diagrams are another way of using interconnectedness to structure a complex situation. In this case, the interconnectedness is that of causation. Multiple-cause diagrams represent both sufficient and contributory cause, without making a distinction between them. Drawing multiple-cause diagrams allows for the identification of systems of causation. Such a system can be pictured as an interconnected group of events or effects; the effect is of a system that behaves
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7.5 Summary

I hope that, by now, you have a rich picture you are pleased with. This is a considerable achievement because, despite the informality of the rich picture's style, a rich picture that effectively captures the complex situation takes a lot of effort to achieve. It depends crucially on being prepared to enter into the experience of the situation of interest and to interrogate that experience thoroughly. Noticing is not enough. Each feature of the situation has to be carefully captured by repres
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7.4 Complexity from someone else's perspective

You may already have noticed, and included, the author of the case study in your rich picture. The clues that this is necessary are in Figure 5 and in my comments about epistemology in the introduction to the unit. Just how important the writer of the case study is becomes obvious when
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Learning outcomes

After reading this unit you should be able to:

  • appreciate diagrams as a powerful aid to thinking and acting;

  • distinguish between systems diagrams and diagrams helpful in systems work;

  • demonstrate sufficient skills to ‘read’ and ‘draw’ a wide range of diagrams, following given conventions, that help improve your understanding of a situation;

  • select diagrams suited to the needs of the situation you are investigating and the purp
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1 Some facts about water

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