A: Excuse me, I’m sorry to bother you, but would you have time to answer a few questions?
B: What’s it about?
A: We’re doing some market research for a new television channel starting in two years’ time.
B: OK, why not?
A: Lovely, we’ll just work through this form. And if we could start with some personal background information…
A: Right, if I could just have your age …
A: Right, great…
A: Right, great. And your job?
B: Systems analyst, but for the form I don’t know whether it would count as professional or business or what.
A: What do you think?
B: OK, it’s more like a business.
A: Fine. And would you mind my asking about your salary? Or we can leave it blank.
B: No, I don’t mind. It’s £40,000 a year.
A: Thank you. R i g h t … about your current watching habits … what would you say is your main reason for watching TV?
B: Well, at work I tend to read for information and what have you, so I’d say that with TV it probably just helps me relax and unwind.
A: Fine. And how many hours a day on average do you watch TV?
B: Not a lot really . . . I should say just over an hour.
A: So what are the two main times of the day that you watch TV?
B: Well, a little around breakfast time and then it tends to be really late – eleven or even midnight – when I’ve finished work.
A: And what sort of programmes do you go for?
B: Some news bulletins but I also really like to put my feet up with some of the old comedy shows.
A: Fine. And turning to the new channel… which type of programmes would you like to see more of?
B: Well, I certainly don’t think we need any more factual programmes like news and documentaries. I think we need more about things like local information … you know, providing a service for the community. And in the same vein, perhaps more for younger viewers … you know, good quality stuff.
A: Ah ha. And if you had to give the new directors some specific advice when they set up the channel, what advice would you give them?
B: I think I’d advise them to pay a lot of attention to the quality of the actual broadcast, you know, the sound system. People are very fussy these days about that and in general, I think they ought to do lots more of these kinds of interview, you know, talking with their potential customers.
A: Oh, I’m glad you think it’s valuable!
B: Certainly … yeah.
A: Good. OK, this will be a commercial channel of course, but how often do you think it is tolerable to have adverts?
B: Well out of that list I’d say every quarter of an hour. I don’t think we can complain about that, as long as they don’t last for ten minutes each time!
A: Quite. And … would you be willing to attend any of our special promotions for the new channel?
B: Yes, I’d be very happy to, as long as they’re held here in my area.
A: OK, I’ll make a note of that. And finally, may we put you on our mailing list?
B: Well, I’d prefer not… except for the information about the promotion you mentioned.
A: Can I have your name and address?
B: Of course … here’s my card.
A: Oh, lovely… and thank you very much for your time and we look forward to seeing you.
B: Yes, indeed. Urn, thanks.
ELIZABETH: OK, well, good morning everybody! My name’s Elizabeth Reed and I am your Assistant Welfare Officer. What I’d like to do now is tell you a little more about some of the… err … the social facilities available on the campus, and also to tell you something about what the town has to offer.
As you probably know already, the Student Union Building is the main centre of social life here, as indeed it is in most British Universities. The Union runs a weekly programme of events for all tastes … oh everything from discos to talks by guest speakers. Many of these events are fundraising activities for charities, which the Union takes very seriously. They manage the Students’ Union papershop, selling magazines and newspapers, as well as stationery, sweets and so on. Um … Then … er, let me s e e … there’s the Ticket Shop, where you can get some very good deals on, well for example, coaches to London or inexpensive charter flights, as cheap as you’ll get anywhere people say, or tickets for big pop groups playing here or at other venues all over the country, or plays in London – oh and we mustn’t forget the Union Cafeteria and the Big New D i n e r … Er … yes? Did you have a question?
STUDENT: Yes, does the Union also provide help with any problems, I mean advice on financial problems, for example? Or does the University provide that?
ELIZABETH: Yes, the Union run their own advice service, offering help with financial matters such as grants. I am sure you realise anything medical should be discussed with the University Medical Service, which also has an excellent counselling centre. I think that was made clear yesterday. However, the Union has its own officer who can give advice on legal problems.
Now, onto Radford. For a town of its size, Radford has some unusually good leisure and community facilities and has quite a good shopping centre, with an interesting range of shops. As you go into Radford, there’s a new … well, quite new … Olympic-size swimming pool. That’s on the outskirts at an Example place called Renton. Above the pool there’s a hi-tech fitness centre. Are there any ice skaters here? No? Oh, pity! The facilities for ice-skating are excellent. Well, the new Metro Tower, right in the centre of town has got an ice rink and a sports hall for squash, badminton, volleyball and several other indoor sports. And in the same building, there’s a new cinema with six screens. Er … then, let me see, in the main square, just two minutes’ walk from the Metro … Tower, there’s the Theatre Royal, which often gets London productions on t o u r … and in the streets nearby you can find a good range of inexpensive restaurants including Indian, Chinese, Thai and …
DR SIMON: OK, welcome back to the new term. Hope you’ve had a good break and that you’re looking forward to writing your dissertation … What I’d like to do in this session is give you the opportunity to ask questions on writing the dissertation … requirements, milestones … who to see when you need help. It’s very informal… it may all be written on paper, but it’s nice to get it confirmed. So anything you’d like to ask?
ANDY: Dr Simon, is there a fixed hand-in date yet?
DR SIMON: Right. I can confirm that that’s 21 May, not 20 as we first stated. OK? … Jane?
JANE: What about the word limit?
DR SIMON: Well we try to be pretty flexible on this, but in broad terms, it’s 18-20,000.
DR SIMON: And you can choose your topics … anything from Years 2 and 3 … Yes?
JANE: I still haven’t got any idea what I want to do it on. Who…?
DR SIMON: Well, you should see your course tutor to agree on your final title and you should also be aware that there’s a special programme running on research methods for anyone who wants some extra help on that.
JANE: Can I just check on the deadlines for everything?
DR SIMON: Yes, sure. Look, let me write it on the board … when the different stages have to be completed. First of all, you’ve got to work on your basic bibliography, and that’s due in to your course tutor by 31 January … which is just two weeks away, so you’d better get a move on that.
ANDY: Do we have to have our own draft plan by then?
DR SIMON: No, your draft plan is due on 7 February, which is a week later, so that should give you plenty of time.
JANE: And when do we have to be doing the research?
DR SIMON: That’s over a one-month period … essentially February to March.
ANDY: And the write up?
DR SIMON: Well, you can’t really get going on your writing until you’ve got quite a bit of the research done, so that’s really March to May, with the hand in date on 21st. Any more questions?
ANDY: Well, sir, just some advice really. It’s about computers … would you advise us to buy one?
DR SIMON: What can I say, Andy? I know it’s a massive expense, but I really feel that it will be of great benefit… you can always look in the Student Union adverts for second hand ones. Yes?
JANE: I’ve been looking at some of last year’s dissertations.
ANDY: Is that a good idea, sir? I heard…
DR SIMON: Well, I don’t think you should read them in detail too early or you might end up taking more of their ideas than you realise. But yes … it really is the best guide you can have to the expectations of the … of what’s expected when you write a dissertation.
ANDY: Sorry, Jane, I interrupted you.
JANE: That’s OK. It’s just that they did a lot of research using questionnaires … is that a good idea?
DR SIMON: I think questionnaires are very good at telling you how people questionnaires, but to be frank they tell you very little else. Avoid them!
ANDY: About interviews . . . is it OK if we interview you?
DR SIMON: The tutors? I don’t see why not; they don’t have any special contribution to make, but you can if you want. There’s a whole section on this issue in the Research Guide. I’m afraid it’s slightly out of date, and you’re probably better talking to the tutor on the Research Methods course, but you might find it useful to start there.
ANDY/JANE: OK, thanks.
DR SIMON: OK . . . well, great, I hope that sorted a few things out. You can always come and see me or drop me a note if you’ve got any more queries.
DR SIMON: OK. Thanks …
Good morning. This morning we are continuing our look at Australia and its natural problems. Actually, dryness, or aridity, as it is generally called by geographers, is probably the most challenging of Australia’s natural problems and so it is very important in this course for you to have a good understanding of the subject. For Australia, water is a precious resource and its wise management is of the greatest importance.
As I have said, Australia is a dry continent, second only to Antarctica in its lack of rainfall. Long hours of hot sunshine and searing winds give Australia an extremely high rate of evaporation, far more than in most other countries. It is estimated that approximately 87% of Australia’s rainfall is lost through evaporation, compared with just over 60% in Europe and Africa and 48% in North America. You generally think of Africa as being a very hot and dry place, but it is not in comparison with Australia. In many parts of Australia standing water, that is dams, puddles and so forth, dry up rapidly and some rainfall barely penetrates the soil. The reason for this is that the moisture is absorbed by thirsty plants.
Some parts of Australia are dry because rainwater seeps quickly through sandy soils and into the rock below. In parts of Australia this water which seeps through the sandy soil collects underground to form underground lakes. Water from these subterranean lakes can be pumped to the surface and tapped and so used for various purposes above the ground. In fact, extensive underground water resources are available over more than half of Australia’s land area, but most of the water is too salty to be used for human consumption or for the irrigation of crops. However, most inland farmers do rely on this water for watering their animals and, where possible, to a lesser extent for irrigation. Underground water can flow very large distances and can be kept in underground reservoirs for a very long time. Water from these underground reservoirs bubbles to the surface as springs in some parts of the country, and these rare sources of permanent water were vital to early explorers of inland Australia, and to other pioneers last century, who used the springs for survival. But in many places levels have fallen drastically through continuous use over the years. This has necessitated the pumping of the water to the surface. Remarkably, underground water sources in Australia supply about 18% of total water consumption. So you can see it is quite an important source of water in this dry land.
So, most of the consumption of water in Australia comes from water which is kept above ground. More than 300 dams regulate river flows around the country. The dams store water for a variety of functions, the rural irrigation of crops, without which many productive areas of the country would not be able to be farmed; the regulation of flooding, a serious problem which will be dealt with later in the course; and last but not least, the harnessing of the force of gravity for the generation of electricity.
That is all we have time for this morning, but you will be able to do further study on this important area in the library. I have a handout here with references on the subject, so if you are interested, please come up to the desk and take a copy. Next week’s lecture is a case study of an outback farm and…