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1.3 About this unit

This unit is for anyone studying in higher education, such as an Open University course, following a programme of studies leading to a qualification such as a diploma or a degree, or working more generally on their own career and professional development within, or external to, the workplace. You can use the unit at any stage during your learning career whenever you want to improve or update your skills. If you are returning to study, you may find it particularly helpful to use this unit at t
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Learning outcomes

Having studied this unit you should be able to:

  • develop a strategy for using skills in Working with others over an extended period of time;

  • monitor your progress and adapt your strategy as necessary, to achieve the quality of outcomes required when working with others;

  • evaluate your overall strategy and present the outcomes from your work using a variety of methods.


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7.3 Monitoring your progress

Use your records or logbook to help you provide a reflective commentary on:

  • what you did to help you set up and use IT methods and techniques to achieve your goals; for example, what you did to:

     

    • search for information and explore alternative lines of enquiry;

    • exchange information to meet your purpose (e.g. email, computer conferencing, video conferencing, web pages, document sharing
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Introduction

This key skill focuses on the ways in which you receive and respond to information and communicate with other people in your work, study and everyday life. Communication skills include speaking, listening, reading and writing for different purposes. Techniques such as note taking and writing summaries are important, but so, too, are the techniques of evaluation and application, such as evaluating the relevance and quality of information.

Communication is part of everyone's life and impr
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1.1.1 Operating the Windows calculator

The Windows calculator is supplied with the Windows operating system. This section provides you with basic instructions for its use, and a few practice activities. The Windows calculator also provides a help menu that you can use.


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5.1.2 When are bar charts used?

A bar chart is a good method of representation if you want to illustrate a set of data in a way that is as easy to understand as it is simple to read. In general, a bar chart should be used for data that can be counted so, for example, we could use a bar chart to show the number of families with 0, 1, 2 or more children. A bar chart could also be used to show how many people in one area use each of the different modes of transport to get to work.

Bar charts are very useful for comparing
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6.3 Referencing

Once you start using the web for study and research, you'll see how convenient it is to find information that you can use for course notes, essays or reports.

One of the most important of all your study skills is the ability to summarise information from other sources in your own words.

Whenever you make use of any information that has been created by someone else, the author and the source must be clearly identified and acknowledged through the use of proper referencing. Providin
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2.6 Back it up

It's a good idea to get into the habit of regularly backing up your work files – things like your notes and assignments. This involves making a copy onto another storage device such as a floppy disk, CD-ROM or memory stick. If anything goes wrong with the hard disk on your computer and you lose all your data, it's some compensation to find that you have a recent copy of your files.

To avoid losing important system files that run your computer, back them up using a data storage system
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3.1.4 Option 4: Challenging and adapting diagrams

In this option, we take a diagram from the source material and either adapt it or challenge what it is trying to tell the reader. This is fine and indicates a thinking approach to the assignment. There is one golden rule: ‘State clearly that this is what you are doing!’ This is important for two reasons: first, the courtesy of acknowledging your sources, even if you have significantly adapted the diagram, and second, to demonstrate that you have studied the material carefully and produced
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5.1.5 English Language

McArthur, T. (ed.) (1992) The Oxford Companion to the English Language, Oxford, Oxford University Press.


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3.5 Presenting a coherent argument

Presenting a coherent argument is closely linked to ‘answering the question’. The essence of an essay is that it sets out to be an argument about the issues raised in the title. Even if you have a lot of good material in it, it will not be judged ‘a good essay’ unless the material is organised so that it hangs together. This implies two things:

  1. You need to sort out your points into groups so that they can be presented in a structured wa
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3.2 Answering the question

An essay can be good in almost every other way and yet be judged poor because it ignores the question in the title. Strictly speaking, I should say ‘it ignores the issues presented in the title’ because not every essay title actually contains a question. But, in fact, there is usually a central question underlying an essay title, even when it takes the form of a quotation from a text followed by the instruction ‘Discuss’. And you need to work out what that underlying question is, beca
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1.1 Why write?

Of all aspects of studying, writing is probably the most challenging. That is because when you write down an account of your ideas for other people to read you have to explain yourself particularly carefully. You can't make the mental leaps you do when you are in conversation with others or thinking about something for yourself. To make your meaning clear, using only words on a page, you have to work out exactly what you think about the subject. You come to understand it for yourself i
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1.3.7 Summary

  • We can learn to use writing of all sorts as evidence by practising how to interpret it and by becoming aware of the conventions attached to its primary purpose for example as personal testimony, journalism, commercially produced material, such as market research and academic writing as well as material produced specifically through research such as interview data.

  • When approaching a piece of writing:

     

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1.2.5 Stage 3: Details

Examine in more detail the explanations surrounding the numbers or diagram. Check the small print to make sure you aren't drawing the wrong conclusions. Are the axes of diagrams clearly labelled, and do you understand what they mean? (Axes, pronounced ‘axease’ is the plural of axis. Axes are the vertical and horizontal lines against which lines on a graph or bars on a chart are plotted. They must be labelled to tell you what units you are counting in.) If there is shading on the di
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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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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • identify that social scientists can collect evidence to support their claims and theories in different ways;

  • give examples of quantitative and qualitative evidence;

  • recognise a variety of methods for obtaining evidence;

  • understand the ways in which evidence can be presented; how to read it actively and with purpose.


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Acknowledgements

The content acknowledged below is Proprietary (see terms and conditions) and is used under licence.

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this supplement:

Map 1 Image produced by: getmapping.com PLC, tel. 01252 845444,
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References

Gould, P. and White, R. (1974) Mental Maps, Harmondsworth, Penguin.
Knox, P. and Agnew, J. (1989) The Geography of the World Economy, London, Edward Arnold.
Further reading
Smith, R. (1997) Simple Map Reading, Edinburgh, HMSO. This is a short handbook on the techniques of map reading, explained in a str
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