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This free course, Processes of study in the arts and humanities, is essential reading if you want to look at, and think about, people's ideas, practices and products to try to understand what they mean. Developing your skill in analysisinterpretationevaluation and communication is a good and worthwhile investment. Aimed at learners of arts and humanities subjects, you will find this course invaluable whether you are new to study or more experienced.
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.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 The processes of study
- 2 Becoming familiar with the text
- 3 Approaching analysis
- 4 Interpreting meanings
- 5 Evaluation
- 6 Commmunicating your ideas
- 7 Beliefs and theories
- 8 Making your own enquiries
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Processes of study in the arts and humanities
In this course we turn to the nature of the arts and humanities themselves, and look at the main processes involved in studying them.
Broadly, when you study the arts and humanities you study aspects of culture. You explore people's ideas and beliefs, their cultural practices and the objects they have made. Human history is criss-crossed with the traces of people who did, said and made things and these people were to some extent aware of what they were doing. So all these things mean something. Your task is to look carefully at people's ideas, practices and products to try to understand what they mean. You achieve this understanding by:
analysing the various ‘objects’ of your study (for example, plays, music, paintings, historical or legal documents, philosophical treatises, maps, buildings, religious ceremonies);
interpreting the meanings of these objects;
making judgements of their value;
communicating your interpretations and judgements.
This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Monday, 8th February 2016
Last updated on: Monday, 8th February 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
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