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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • understand how arguments may be presented in the Social Sciences.


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Introduction

This unit will help you understand how arguments are constructed and used in the Social Sciences. The material is primarily an audio file, originally 30 minutes in length and recorded in 1998.

This material is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Social policy: Welfare power and diversity (D218) which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in this
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Acknowledgements

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This extract is taken from D315: Crime, order and social control, produced by the BBC on behalf of the Open University.


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6.3 What size of majority vote should decide the issue?

In many types of democratic vote, a bare majority (technically, 50 per cent +1) is enough to decide outcomes. But often constitutional changes – changes which would affect the basic structures or political rules of the game – are regarded as needing ‘supermajorities’ of, say, 60 or 70 per cent. A basic change in the sovereign political unit would certainly count as a constitutional change. If the Bs get to vote, we might be concerned if only a bare majority favoured secession, especia
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5.4 ‘The desire to give politico-institutional expression to the first two core concepts

There is a strong case for regarding the third element in the ‘core structure’ of nationalism as the key one. Generally, as we have seen, nationalists want their nation to have a state, or statehood. But political self-determination might have other outlets.

From the comparatively ‘soft’ demands to harder and less compromising ones, the spectrum might consist of some form of:

  • recognition of the cultural distinctiveness of a ‘na
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5.3.1 Investment in education and training

Human capital theory has been used to show how investments in education and training lead to higher levels of earning. One reason why education and training are referred to as investments is because their benefits accrue over time and because training early in a career leads to higher earnings over the rest of an individual's working life. An important consideration, therefore, in the decision about whether to invest in additional human capital is the potential length of working life over whi
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Further reading

Berger and Luckmann (1967) is a classic text in the development of the social constructionist perspective within the sociological tradition. Burr (1995) offers a very thorough review of the social constructionist perspective, clearly outlining the methods of discourse analysis. Although the book draws significantly on debates within social psychology, it is of wide relevance to the social sciences more generally.


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Objectives for Section 3

After studying this section you should be able to do the following.

  • Recognise and use the terminology: disjoint union; power set (of a set); representation (of a data abstraction).

  • Use and interpret the notation:

     

    • X
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3.2 Combining data structures

In Section 2, we introduced the notation SeqOfX for the set of all sequences whose members come from the set X. In Section 2, we looked only at sequences whose members were of one of the primitive forms of data (integers, characters or Booleans). We can have sequences whose members are themselves data with a more complicated form. For example, suppose that Jo is working at the till T1 and is replaced by Jessica. We might represent this handover by the 3-tuple (Jo, T1, Jes
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3.5 Internet protocol (IP)

At the time of writing (2002), two versions of IP are available: versions 4 and 6. In this section I shall describe version 4, which is abbreviated to IPv4, as it is the more widely available version. Version 6 may eventually replace version 4 because it has some additional features that may prove essential for multiservice networks.

IPv4 is the main TCP/IP protocol in the internetwork layer of the TCP/IP reference model. It supports a connectionless service between hosts in an interne
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2.3 Horizontal communication

In the OSI reference model there is a clear separation of services and protocols, but this separation is not always evident in practical applications, so it is worthwhile spending some more time on the differences between them. A service is provided by one layer to the layer above, and the capabilities of a service are defined in terms of primitives and their parameters. A service relates to two adjacent layers in the same system. In contrast, a protocol defines the communication between two
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • evaluate technical descriptions of communication protocols and demonstrate your understanding of their operation;

  • describe the characteristics of circuit-switched and packet-switched networks, and of connectionless and connection-oriented modes in packet-switched networks;

  • describe the role played by primitives in the OSI reference model;

  • explain how ‘vertical’ and ‘horizontal’
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5.5.5 Summary

In this section I've briefly considered the very contentious question of what digital representations mean, but this debate must be left to another course. I have also described some of the devices that take digital information back into the analogue world of sight and sound, presenting it in a form that is meaningful to human eyes and ears.


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4.4 Representing sound

Sound, such as speech or music, is an analogue physical quantity that varies with time, and so the ideas you have already met in Section 2.5 about converting analogue weights to digital form are relevant here too. In particular, samples of the sound will have to be taken, and each sample will have to be quantised to the nearest binary code in the digital representation.

It's important to appreciate that sound such as speech or music varies rapidly with time, and so samples of it will ha
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10.2 Ports

On the outside of a computer you will see a number of connection points that look like sockets. These sockets are known as ports and they provide connections between the computer and external devices such as a digital camera or printer. Ports control the flow of data between the computer and these devices, ensuring that data is sent and received quickly and reliably.

Modern ICT devices require increasingly large amounts of data to be sent between the computer and the devices. The
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10.1 Introduction

A stand-alone computer receives data from a user by means of input devices. The two most commonly used input devices are the keyboard and the mouse. A computer sends data to a user by means of output devices. Data may be output via devices such as a screen or a printer.

There are many different ways of getting data into a computer. For example, a scanner converts images and texts into a format that can be processed by the computer and displayed on screen. Devices such as t
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4.1.2 The network

The network is a communication channel in that it conveys data from the transmitter to the receiver. The network may also manipulate data in some way, and it may also store or retrieve data.

In a mobile phone system, the network conveys the message from User l's handset to User 2's. It will also store the identity of User 1 and the duration of the call. This data is used to work out the amount to charge User 1, which is a form of manipulation of data. A network can be very comple
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References

Eyewitness Travel Guide (1997) Amsterdam. London, Dorling Kindersley. pp. 120-1.
Götz, V. (1998) Color and Type for the Screen. Berlin, RotoVision (in collaboration with Grey Press).
Hartley, J. (1994) Designing Instructional Text. 3rd edn. London, Kogan Page.
Michaelis, P. R. and Wiggins, R. H. (1982) ‘A human
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4.1 Introduction

Section 2 explained that information is an important asset to an organisation. In this section you will study, in some detail, the characteristics of information assets that make them valuable, and so worth protecting.

In recent years, a combination of computerised processing systems and electronic communication technologies has made possible new forms of working and trading based on the electronic exchange of information. Such activity is called e-business or e-commerce.
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2.3 What is information security management?

Information security management is the process by which the value of each of an organisation's information assets is assessed and, if appropriate, protected on an ongoing basis. The information an organisation holds will be stored, used and transmitted using various media, some of which will be tangible – paper, for example – and some intangible – such as the ideas in employees' minds. Preserving the value of information is mainly a question of protecting the media in which it is
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