3 Communicating through diagrams
3.1 Using diagrams from course materials or other sources
So far in this course we have been looking at how you can improve your understanding of other people's texts and diagrams. I have shown you some study techniques that you can use to ‘translate’ text into diagrams and diagrams into meaningful text. However, this discussion has been focused on what you can do for yourself. At some point, you'll have to produce assignments that require, or will be enhanced by, the use of diagrams. One of the first decisions you'll face is whether to use an existing diagram or develop one of your own.
Using diagrams from the course materials or other sources in assignments is a good idea. Properly used, they will help you to express yourself concisely and gain the maximum advantage from any word limit. They also offer you an opportunity both to deepen your learning about a subject and to demonstrate your ability to analyse and express that new understanding to another person.
To show how a diagram can make your ideas come alive, I'll demonstrate what might be done using the first diagram from the Collee article (click on 'View document' below: page 398). Let's imagine that you have been asked to write an assignment on the factors involved in the spread of food- or water-borne diseases and consider the options available.