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8.6 Research skills

This kind of work teaches some very valuable skills:

  • how to set about an enquiry

  • how and where to find source material and information

  • how to make your own investigations

  • strategic planning

  • time management

  • cutting corners and being pragmatic

  • analysing and interpreting primary and secondary source material

  • forming your own conclusions<
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8.4 Carrying out research

During this stage you get down to the business of analysing and interpreting the meanings of all your primary and secondary source material (documents, reports, newspaper accounts, books and articles), in the ways outlined in the previous sections of this course. As you do so you will be making notes towards your project report. In this connection, it is very important to write down full references for all the material you use as you read each item. Then you can easily find part
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7 Beliefs and theories

‘Authorities’ – critics, historians, philosophers and so forth – of course argue from their interpretations of what a work of art, an event or an idea means. And their judgements are based on certain beliefs – about the nature of the objects they study and about what they themselves do as readers and interpreters of them. From our discussion of ‘Meeting at Night’ you have seen what my beliefs are: that people can reach some understanding of a text through the proce
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4.3 Analysis and interpretation

We have got to the point of recognising that this is a lyric poem, and of thinking that it is probably about a lovers’ meeting. But you cannot reach firmer conclusions about a text's meanings until you have looked at as many aspects of it as you can. I think we need to go back again to the detail of the poem, because the analysis is not full enough yet.

For one thing, there is something odd about the poem's syntax. If you look at the verbs in the first verse you'll see that they are a
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1.3.1 Cultural traditions

Just now I said quite confidently that you already know a lot about the subjects that make up the arts and humanities even if you have not studied them before. But how can I be so sure? What makes me certain is that, like everyone else, you were born into a human culture. As you were growing up within that culture you were hearing and seeing all the things the people around you were busy saying, doing and making. And you were learning to think and understand, do, say and make similar kinds of
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1.1 Analysis, interpretation and evaluation

When you study a painting, for example, you take it apart to see how it ‘works’ as a painting. You analyse it ‘as it is in itself’, because this gives you many clues to what it might mean. But that analysis is complicated by the fact that the way we understand a painting itself changes over time. For instance, what a religious painting might have meant to the artist and his contemporaries in sixteenth-century Italy cannot be the same as it means to us now. We do n
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Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand aspects of human culture, past and present

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


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4 Supply and demand: Kiran's story

The first six months have just flown by. I've really enjoyed working with the two or three schools that I chose following my conversation with my friend who is a student. I feel that I have established a good reputation for reliability as well as keeping the classes moving forward in their work. My family
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Acknowledgements

Course image: Simon Law in Flickr made available under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence.

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

Don't miss out:

If reading
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Conclusion

This free course provided an introduction to studying Mathematics and Statistics. It took you through a series of exercises designed to develop your approach to study and learning at a distance, and helped to improve your confidence as an independent learner.


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7.2.1 Mean, median and mode

The mean, median and mode are all types of average and are typical of the data they represent. Each has advantages and disadvantages, and can be used in different situations, but they all give us an idea of the general size of the values involved. Here we provide brief definitions, and some idea of when each should be used.

The following set of data is the number of miles (to the nearest mile) walked in a week by a group of students. You are going to look at how to calculate the mean, m
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7.1 Introduction

Charts, graphs and tables are all very helpful ways of representing a set of data. However, they are not the only ways of passing on information about data. This section looks at how you can analyse a set of data to summarise the given information as briefly and simply as possible.

Essentially, there are two features of a set of data that enable summarising: the average and the spread. This section starts by looking at what is meant by ‘average’. If you have already studied Worki
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5.2.1 Discrete variables

The charts about different modes of transport and that on attendance figures at a range of cultural events all use what might be called ‘word categories’. Each category (e.g. bus, rail, cycle, and walk) is quite distinct from any other in the set of categories. Such distinct categories are known in mathematics as ‘discrete variables’.

Word categories are not the only type of variable that is discrete; numbers can also be discrete. For example, at the beginning of this section, w
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5.1.4 How do I draw a bar chart?

First, you need to decide what it is you want your chart to illustrate. This may be governed by the data you have access to or you might need to collect the data yourself. Then the process is as below.

  1. Decide on a clear title.

    The title should be a brief description of the data that you want to show.

  2. Identify how many bars are needed.

    The bars correspond to the number of categories you have. For instance, if you are look
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4.1.1 When are line graphs used?

A line graph shows a relationship between two variables. In other words, it shows how one thing varies by comparison to another. For example, a distance-time graph shows distance varying against the time of day, or the start time of a journey. The distance increases when a vehicle is moving but remains the same when the vehicle is stationary.


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4.1 What is a line graph?

This section covers line graphs. We define the format, give some ideas about when it should be used, and draw some graphs. You can have a go at drawing a line graph in Activity 6, based on data that we supply.

A line graph, at its simplest, is a diagram that shows a line joining several points, or a line that shows the best possible relationship between the points. Sometimes the line will go through all of the points, and sometimes it will show the best possible fit. The line does not h
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3.1.2 When is a table not a good format to use?

There are very few cases where a table will be the worst format to use. However, when you have a huge amount of data, you may wish to present some of it in a different format. Other formats for presenting data are explained in Sections 4–6.


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1 Getting the most from charts, graphs and tables

Do you sometimes feel confused about how to create a chart, graph or table?

Are you not always sure which of these to choose to illustrate your set of data?

Why do we produce charts, graphs and tables anyway?

Spend a few minutes writing down what you think are the reasons why we choose to present data in this way before you read on.

One student has said:

If an exam or assessment question ask
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Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • reflect on the reasons for needing to improve skills in using charts, graphs and tables

  • understand the following mathematical concepts and how to use them, through instruction, worked examples and practice activities: reflecting on mathematics; tables; line graphs; bar charts and histograms; pie charts; analysis

  • draw on a technical glossary, plus a a list of references to further reading and sources
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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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