OU Diagramming conventions

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OU Diagramming conventions

Postby jim_lewis1 on Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:21 am

I have had a comment on one of my sign graphs saying that I need to make sure that the variable named is measurable.

I have looked through the diagramming information I have, (from T214 and the Open_learn stuff), and I can't find any mention of this requirement.

If anybody has bought the 'optional' diagramming stuff for T306, (T552), could they please check it and let me know if this requirement is in fact mentioned.

If it is in the stuff we have to buy and nowhere else, I can't help but feel that the 'option' to buy these packs is not that 'optional'!

In fact, could someone who has got the T551, T552 and T553 packs, please let me know if they feel they are necessary or not?

I'm a bit miffed that a £600 course requires me to buy these add-ons, but I don't want to lose marks as a result of not buying them!
Current OU study: A230
Studying towards: BA Humanities
Past OU Study: MBA (Tech Man), BEng/MEng (incl T214, T306) PG Dip EDM (incl T863, TU812), AA100, AXR272
(OU Systems courses)
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Re: OU Diagramming conventions

Postby Teiana on Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:44 am

i think your tutor is lying: i don't think 'measurable' is necessary for a sign graph: the terms should be capable of increasing or decreasing is all. T552 says they must be 'variables'.
eg you can't say
"opinion about website" but you can say "number of people satisfied with website'

you can't say
"trust in government policies" but you can say "level of trust in government policies"


in a multiple cause diagram you can say "improvements to website (cause) increase in number of people satisfied with website" but if you were to convert that to a sign graph then you need to remove 'increase' from the term as sign graphs don't need that: they usually are about a number, level, amount... ( which WOULD be measurable IF it were something that could be measured, eg, water in a bath... but that doesn't mean (as far as the instructions i have seen state) that you can't use unmeasurable things like love or fairies in the garden.... )
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: OU Diagramming conventions

Postby Andrea on Mon Mar 23, 2009 11:23 am

But I would not equate "measurable" with the term "quantifiable" -- something can be "measurable" even if it has a qualitative nature e.g. "how happy do you feel?" The component in the sign graph must have the ability to go both up and down e.g. "level of happiness".
esse sequitur operari
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Re: OU Diagramming conventions

Postby jim_lewis1 on Mon Mar 23, 2009 11:43 am

That was my understanding too.

This is what she said:

Don’t forget that a sign graph contains variables that can be measured—in both of yours I’m not sure they are measurable! For example, ‘amount of criticism’ or ‘level of weakness in results’
Current OU study: A230
Studying towards: BA Humanities
Past OU Study: MBA (Tech Man), BEng/MEng (incl T214, T306) PG Dip EDM (incl T863, TU812), AA100, AXR272
(OU Systems courses)
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Re: OU Diagramming conventions

Postby Pottyday on Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:34 pm

‘amount of criticism’

I would argue that you can measure whether criticism increases or decreases
‘level of weakness in results’

but would probably agree with your tutor that it is hard to measure the 'level of weakness in results'
"I am not young enough to know everything" Oscar Wilde.
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Re: OU Diagramming conventions

Postby Teiana on Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:45 pm

but it shouldn't need to be measurable. the instructions say 'variable', which isn't the same thing. It must be something which can go up and down, but i don't see any requirement for it to be a 'measurable' thing.

or am i interpreting something wrong?
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: OU Diagramming conventions

Postby Neill on Mon Mar 23, 2009 6:00 pm

T552 (freely available on line version) says
1 The phrases (e.g. aaa, bbb, ccc, ddd, etc.) shown refer to variables (so phrases like ‘number of’ ‘cost of’ ‘speed of’ ‘level of’ are often found in these diagrams).
2 The phrases should not themselves refer to variations (so do not use ‘more/less’ or ‘increase/decrease’ in the phrases).


So this definitely does not agree with what your tutor wrote when he/she wrote
Don’t forget that a sign graph contains variables that can be measured—in both of yours I’m not sure they are measurable! For example, ‘amount of criticism’ or ‘level of weakness in results’


I would suggest that you explain that you have searched the course material and T552 and can not find the appropriate reference and ask her/him to send it to you.
This way you either
a. learn something (which you can pass on to us)
b. learn that your tutor needs to be a little more serious with comments.
Both ways you win.

Personally I would find the restriction your tutor suggests would lead to less helpful diagrams as you would not be able to add many valid points.

Neill
Neill Hogarth
Life is not a practice [www.hogarth.de]
T307-10
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Re: OU Diagramming conventions

Postby Andrea on Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:32 am

I think one of the problems is that because the Open University is the only institution that uses the name "sign graphs", it is difficult for both students and tutors to find additional material to clarify the technique. In fact, "sign graphs" are actually "causal loop diagrams" to the rest of the world, and there is plenty of stuff to help out. From the brief extract below you will see that there is absolutely no problem with the terminology that you have used.
Roberts et al 1983 causal loop intro-2.jpg
Roberts et al 1983 causal loop intro-2.jpg (232.53 KiB) Viewed 1485 times
esse sequitur operari
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Re: OU Diagramming conventions

Postby Teiana on Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:04 pm

that's no excuse at all for tutors giving out misleading instructions.
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: OU Diagramming conventions

Postby Neill on Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:02 pm

Hi Teiana!
Tutors are human and make mistakes like every one else.
That is why I suggested writing a nice note asking for the reference to the source they are quoting. It is a win win situation. Either you learn something or they learn something.
Have fun
Neill
Neill Hogarth
Life is not a practice [www.hogarth.de]
T307-10
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