6.2.4 Evidence ‘from authority’

When you present evidence for your judgements in an essay, you don't only draw that evidence from the text. You also often call on the ‘authority’ of other writers on the subject (critics, academics), drawing on their judgements. You can ‘make sense’ of other people's ideas in books, articles, TV programmes, and so on; and how to weigh up these ideas and use them to help you form your own. As regards your writing, you have to learn how to use this kind of ‘evidence from autho
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

6.2.2 Representing visual and symbolic texts

We saw that when you discuss your judgements of a visual text such as the landscape painting or The Madonna and Child, you talk about its ‘composition’: the way the ‘picture space’ is organised; the relationships between ‘foreground’ and ‘background’, and between ‘figures’. You discuss the way ‘perspective’ is used in the painting to show ‘depth’; the painting's tonal range’, and its uses of ‘colour’, ‘shape’, ‘line’; ‘light’ and ‘shade
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

5.3 A ‘circle’ of understanding

It may seem as if analysing, interpreting and evaluating a text are ‘stages’ we go through, one after the other. But it's nothing like as mechanical as that. You do not analyse a text into separate parts, then ‘add up’ those parts to produce some interpretation of the whole, and then evaluate it. Rather, analysis–interpretation–evaluation are overlapping processes. They are different kinds of activity, as we have seen by looking at them separately. But when you try t
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 aspects of human culture, past and present;

  • analyse various ‘objects’, interpret their meaning and evaluate them.


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

3 Roles

Quite often in work situations we are asked to work with a group of people we have not met before and with whom we may seem to have very little in common. The group, which may be labelled a ‘team’, could be tasked to organise or produce something about which some of the members may know more than others. After a period of initial awkwardness perhaps, the group members start to find out more about each other and attend to their task. It is quite likely that each of the members will then te
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 Communication

The basis of good communication seems very simple, it is speaking or writing clearly such that any message you (the sender) intend to send to someone else (the receiver) is exactly the one which they receive. This means that as well as the detailed content of the message, we have to give some thought to the language we use e.g. ask ourselves if the receiving person might misunderstand any words or phrases we use. We must also be aware of the way we deliver the message –
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

9.5 Monitoring progress

Monitoring progress is about keeping track of how the work with others is going, making sure you are ‘on task’ and ‘on time’. You need to know how to monitor progress in managing a group activity and being a team member. This will involve considering the relationships within the group and managing the quality of the work by using the checkpoints to review the progress towards your goals and outcomes.

Monitoring progress in working with others involves you considering your progre
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

8.5.4 Manage each stage of the work effectively

Effective management means putting your resources to work and monitoring your progress. For each stage of the work you will need to gather together the resources necessary in good time, and maintain the co-operation of other people working with you. Think about how you will keep the project moving forward for all those involved. Are the goals still clear, or have you become enmeshed in detail?

Use milestones or review points to keep your plan up to date and, if necessary, modify your pl
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

7.4 Evaluating your strategy and assessing your work

Present a reflective summary that includes:

  • Those factors that worked well to help you improve and those that have worked less well. Which factors had the greatest effect on your achievement of what you set out to do?

  • A judgement of your own progress and performance in those skills you set out to improve, including an assessment of where you feel you have made the greatest progress. Discuss your use of criteria and feedback comments t
    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

6 What you should present

There are two main parts to this assessment unit that, together, must show you can: plan to improve your learning and performance; monitor your progress; and evaluate your strategy overall as you produce a piece of work, for example, a project report, assignment, video recording, etc.

Although Parts A and B are presented separately, you should think of them as parts of a whole, that is, each should relate to the other.


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

Evaluating materials

It's easy enough to find information, but it's sometimes a bit more difficult to assess whether your information is reliable, current or correct.

Have a look at the Web Guide section on assessing the quality of websites (accessed 8 November 2006) to find out more about how to assess the information you've found.

The Open University library also offers a helpsheet on finding quality information (accessed 8 November 2006).


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

3.7.3 Fluency

Try to make your essays flow from one sentence to the next. As we have seen, this is partly a matter of structure and partly of signposting. It is vital to think of your essay in terms of its overall structure – to move points around, and cut and trim, in search of a clear sequence for your ideas. Then, having worked out a structure, you have to ‘talk’ your reader through it, emphasising the key turning points in the essay, summarising where you have got to, showing how ea
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

3.7.1 Technical considerations

Handwriting

Nowadays most people use a word processing package to write essays while some people may use a typewriter. However, if you don't have access to either of these you will need to hand-write your essay. Should this be the case, the ease of reading depends on the quality of your handwriting . It is only fair to your tutor to try to make your writing as legible as possible. This will take time and care. But when you have spent a long time putting an essay togeth
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

1.3.5 Stage 3: Details

Now examine the piece in more detail. Read it again slowly making sure that you are able to follow its logic from sentence to sentence. Are there any obvious gaps in the argument or any unsubstantiated statements or assertions? Do you agree with its argument or are you attracted by its message? Is its appeal principally emotional or analytical, or both? Analyse the piece in terms of what it doesn't say as well as what it does, and look for its hidden message. What is the scope of the sample o
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

1.2.1 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 <
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

8.2 Writing in your own words

Active reading, or reading and thinking, are bound up with writing in your own words. If you read materials in a passive way, you are much more likely to copy out chunks word for word when you are note taking, and in the process generate very long notes indeed! Similarly, if you do not spend time thinking about what you have read, asking questions and checking your understanding, you will be tempted to copy out difficult bits or simply try to reorder the author's words. In the latter case you
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

7.1 Processing meanings

Reading and thinking requires you to begin to process the material you read in preparation for re-presenting it in assessments. Initially, processing happens in your head. Selecting what to identify and extract will start the process off. Summarizing the arguments continues this process and, crucially, gets you started on reproducing ideas in your own words. The next stage is to develop your notes further by thinking more consciously about the material you have read and the points you
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

6 Extracting a summary

In developing short notes you are already beginning to extract key ideas from the text. To assist you further in this you might also find it helpful to bring the points you have highlighted and/or made short notes about together. This involves the use of link sentences and words, perhaps even the addition of short quotes taken from the text directly, and examples or additional words of explanation. In this way your notes build up into a summary which you can use more easily.

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 Keeping it short: jottings, abbreviations and symbols

Once you have identified the key ideas you are in a position to take some brief notes or jottings. Indeed, you will find that highlighting on its own is a rather passive process and as a result you may not remember the ideas that you identified. Rather than returning to the highlighted text every time you want to revisit or draw upon these ideas, only to find that what you have marked does not make sense to you anymore, it is useful to develop a form of short note taking. So, getting k
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

The autistic spectrum: From theory to practice
Most of us have a very vague and narrow concept of what autism is, based mainly on such stereotypes as Dustin Hoffman's character in the film Rain Man. In this unit you will discover that there is a wide spectrum of disorders associated with autism, and an equally wide range of approaches to diagnosis and treatment. First published on Tue, 04 Dec 2012 as
Author(s): Creator not set