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8.5 Writing a project report

Finally, you write up your project report. It is important to recognise that this will go through several drafts. You can't just sit down and write a report on this sort of scale quickly or easily. You will have gathered far too much material for that. And it may take you a little while really to get into the writing. Towards the end of the research phase, as you face up to writing proper, you may reach a kind of plateau where nothing much seems to be going on. The excitement of the pl
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8.2 Formulating a question

When you make your own enquiries you draw on your existing knowledge of a discipline or subject area and decide on a specific question to explore; a question that is relevant to some aspect of the subject and which interests you. That means you must have some understanding of what the important questions and issues are in your subject area, and why they are important. In other words, you must have acquired appropriate ‘frameworks for thinking’ within it. That background ensures tha
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3.1 Why analyse?

Whatever kind of text you study, one of your main tasks is to try to understand it ‘as it is in itself’. That means analysing it. You have to examine it in detail so that you can see what it is made up of and how it ‘works’.

Just as you read, view or listen to different kinds of text in different ways, so you approach your analysis of them differently. In each case, you ask particular types of question using a specialised analytical language. We have
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9.7.2 Assess the effectiveness of your strategy

When you come to make a final assessment of the effectiveness of your strategy, you need to consider aspects such as how progress was made, the quality of the work, the working relationships of the group members, and how difficulties and problems were addressed. If you have been able to maintain good records from meetings, progress reports, and your own reflective comments, you should be able to look back and be objective about the work and strategy that the group developed. Use the goals you
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9.3.2 Identify what you hope to achieve

It is a good idea to know not only what you are trying to achieve, but also when you have achieved it, so it is important that your goals are clear and that you can easily measure your progress against them. Setting realistic targets, planning actions and modifying those plans in the light of experience are all part of developing this key skill, but this time they need to be done and negotiated within the group.

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8.1 Introduction to improving your skills in problem solving

This key skill develops your problem-solving skills in your studies, work or other activities over a period of time. To tackle this key skill, you will need to plan your work over at least 3–4 months to give yourself enough time to practise and improve your skills, to seek feedback from others, and to monitor your progress and evaluate your strategy.

Problem solving runs through many other activities and, rather like the key skill ‘Improving own learning and performance’, it can b
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6.5.1 Explore different information sources

Where and how are you going to look for your information? Finding information effectively involves being aware of techniques for locating and digging out the relevant information. Find out about how the sources you have identified are organised and indexed, and formulate your questions appropriately.

Set up different search strategies and criteria to explore alternative lines of enquiry. If you need to search for, evaluate and select information from the Internet or other databases, fin
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7.2 Developing a strategy

Present notes or records to show you have planned your use of number skills. Include:

  • the goals you hope to achieve for your number skills over 3–4 months or so, taking into account the work you have to do and your current capabilities;

  • notes about the resources you might use and the information you need to research to achieve your goals; for example, discussions and econferences, online resources, skills books, course materials, wo
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8 Part B: Evidencing your IT skills

This Part requires you to present a portfolio of your work to demonstrate that you have used and integrated your IT skills within your study or work activities to achieve the standard required. For example, you might include learning about new software for a particular task, using databases and other resources more effectively in searching for information, setting up and using different ways of communicating and sharing information, setting up and using computer-based models to predict, expla
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3 Key skills assessment units

This section gives advice and guidance to help you compile and present a portfolio of selected work. You are strongly advised to read through this section so that you have an idea of what is expected.

The key skills assessment units provide an opportunity for you to integrate your development of key skills with your work or study. You may choose to concentrate on skills that you need to develop and improve for your job, for a new course, or personally to help you keep abreast of new dev
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Acknowledgements

All materials included in this unit are derived from content originated at the Open University.

1. Join the 200,000 students currently studying with The Open University.


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Learning direct

This is a telephone line that was set up in the middle of 1998, to help adults to find out about local provision. The number is 0800 100 900. Lines are open 08.00. to 22.00 everyday. Calls are free and you can ring as many times as you like. There is also a comprehensive website at www.learndirect.co.uk.


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4.9 When there's too much to do

This can be a real problem in large conferences. If, for whatever reason, you join a conference later than the other participants, or are unable to be involved for a while, the prospect of joining in can be a bit daunting. There will be lots of messages you haven't read and you may feel that everyone else knows each other.

The main thing to remember is that everyone will be pleased to ‘see’ you when you do join in, and will be helpful and supportive. Here are some strategies you can
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4.6 Not knowing what to say

It's perfectly possible to learn from what other people say without contributing anything yourself. After all, at a face-to-face tutorial some people won't say anything, perhaps because they feel shy. Working online means you can't see other people smiling in encouragement, so it can be hard to take the plunge and join in.

One good thing about online discussions is that they generally happen over a longer period. This gives you plenty of time to think about what you want to say, and eve
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5.1.2 Classical Studies

Hornblower, S. and Spawforth, A. (eds) (1997, 3rd edn) The Oxford Classical Dictionary, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Howatson, M.C. and Chilvers, I. (eds) (1993) The Concise Oxford Companion to Classical Literature, Oxford, Oxford University Press.


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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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2.6.3 Re-working Hansa's essay

Now we have looked at Philip's and Hansa's essays in such detail, what have we learned? Perhaps the best way to answer that is to write another version of the essay, building on all the things we have discussed. In fact, I have taken the basic content of Hansa's essay, tidied it up and shuffled it about a little to bring out her argument more strongly. (However this is not the only possible way of structuring an argument in answer to this question.) I have also woven in some of Ellis's terms,
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2.2 Looking at other people's essays

One of the best ways of developing your essay-writing ability is to see how other students respond to the same essay title as you. It is not that you want to copy someone else's style. It's just that you need to broaden your understanding of what is possible when you are answering an essay question.

'Self-help’

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References

Ashworth, P. (2003) ‘An approach to phenomenological psychology: the contingencies of the lifeworld’, Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 145–56.
Bordo, S. (1993) Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture and the Body, Berkeley, CA, University of California Press.
Burkitt, I. (1999) Bodies of Thought: Embodiment, Identity and
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3.3 A body–world interconnection

Our consciousness of our bodies remains fundamentally tied up with our everyday embodied activities and relationships. The body thus represents both our particular view of the world as well as our Being-in-the-world (Heidegger, 1962 [1927]). Martin Heidegger (2001) draws a distinction between corporeal things and the body, questioning whether the sense of embodied selfhood that we all possess needs to coincide with the limits of a corporeal body. The corporeal thing stops
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