Today’s picture: Another scene from Wanaka Ski Competition (thanks again to Chris for the photo)
Part 1: Today's word
When something varies, it means it's not always the same. So, for example, the number of students attending lectures varies from day to day. A variable is something that can change. It’s common to research variables to show how changing one thing can change something else. Let’s say, for instance, your research question is whether people in New Zealand watch the TV news more as they get older. (This information could be useful for companies who want to target older age groups!). Here, age is your independent variable and the number of hours people watch TV news is your dependent variable. So, basically, you’re researching whether a change in the age (the independent variable) affects the hours of TV news watched (the dependent variable). In quantitative research, variables have to be controlled so that researchers can be sure that the results they see really are connected together and not related to something else (if someone watches more TV news than someone else it might be connected with their age, but it could be more to do with their education level, economic status, personality etc etc). The problem in research is when there are too many variables!
Demand for energy varies considerably according to the weather, the time of day etc.
The subjects were grouped according to their economic circumstances, but other variables such as educational level, gender and ethnicity were ignored.
For more practice and examples go to Unit 7 of www.academicenglishgenerator.com
Part 2: Test
Here are FOUR sentences with the word of the day. But only THREE are correct. Which is the Odd One Out?
Her research into shopping behaviour was interesting, but unfortunately, she failed to collect data on key variables such as age, gender and economic status.
It is important to compare your sample group in any study with a control group so that any effects you observe can be attributed to the variable you are investigating.
It is very difficult to prove the relationship between diet and life expectancy, as there are not enough variables which can affect the results.
The independent variable in this study was age, which means that we were interested in the effects of age on shopping habits.
Part 3: Practice Questions:
Does your mood vary a lot from day to day? If so, why?
Which variables do you think are most important in determining academic success?
What variables might affect the return on an investment in a bank or the stock market?
Part 4: Kiwi Quiz Question
Which of these is an independent New Zealand owned and operated bank?
Part 5: Today's online reading: Why don’t they just print more money?
This is an article from the New Zealand Herald explaining the roots of the current financial crisis
Vocabulary for the article: a budding economist / collective amnesia / fallout / a meltdown / wobbly / to slash / astute / leverage / to the hilt / to tank / to default on a loan / write down a debt / risk-averse / to skyrocket / reckless abandon / paranoia /
Questions for the article:
1) Which lesson do Wall Street traders often forget – and why?
2) Why is this crisis more serious than the instability in internet stocks or the oil price?
3) How is the current crisis related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks?
4) Which risky consequences arose from the low interest rates of the early 2000’s?
5) What was the basic problem with these debt-commodities?
6) Why did the investment banks like Leman Brothers go bust?
7) Is the situation in the Asia-Pacific region better or worse than it is in the US?
Today’s musical intro / outro: From Algeria
Hakmet Lakdar by Hasna el Bacharia. From the CD ‘The Rough Guide to the Music of the Sahara’. CD may be sampled and purchased from: http://tinyurl.com/4vq9ya . This video http://tinyurl.com/3sjq5x features another song by this artist with some rather beautiful images of Algeria.