General help

Structure of the site

Metaphoric context

The site is divided into 'rooms'. From each room you can see a number of 'constellations' (the number of available constellations will continue to grow as we receive content from contributors). A constellation is a collection of resources about a particular subject related to research, e.g. 'Manual analysis of qualitative data'.

Within each constellation you will find a contents page to help you find your way around, a further reading list, a glossary of terms and the learning materials in the form of a number of pages.

Literal context

In this context the site is divided into topic areas. Each topic area contains a number of learning units, a learning unit being a collection of resources about a particular subject related to research.

As in the metaphoric context, within each learning unit you will find a contents page to help you find your way around that subject, a further reading list, a glossary of terms and a set of learning materials.

Learning Materials

There are three kinds of learning materials, viz. Explore, Engage and Apply.  Explore learning materials will provide you with information about that topic, Engage learning materials will give you a task or interactive activity to do to help you understand the topic and Apply learning materials will encourage you to apply your learning in context.

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Variable contrast

We have introduced high and low contrast options on our web pages. These may be selected from the foot of most pages.

The high contrast setting also scales up text sizes. The low contrast setting offers a muted design, which may be helpful to users with dyslexia. The standard contrast option  resets the page to standard contrast.

Cookie warning: Contrast selections will attempt to set a temporary cookie on your browser. Contrast selections require cookies to be enabled in your browser if you wish your selection to follow you around the site. The cookies used to support contrast settings are deleted when you close your browser, and are only used to support contrast options on this site. If cookies are not enabled on your browser, contrast preferences will only apply on the current page.

Text version and text size

This web site is designed to work successfully with text re-sizing through browser settings.

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Site navigation

The way you can navigate around the site depends upon the context you have chosen.

Metaphoric context

On the main page for the metaphoric context, you will see an interactive map of the observatory rooms and the constellations that are visible from them.  If your computer does not display the map, switch to the literal context to begin navigating the RO. You can switch back to this context at any time by using the context drop down box in the left hand navigation panel.  If you roll the cursor over the central observatory button on the map, the rooms will open up and you can then roll the cursor over any of the room buttons to see which constellations of learning materials are visible from that room. Clicking on the room name will take you directly to that room. Clicking on any of the constellation names will take you directly to that constellation.  Once you are in a constellation you can navigate around it by

  • using the constellation front page, or
  • using the forward and backward buttons at the bottom of each page, or
  • using the constellation name drop down on the left hand navigation panel.

You can navigate around the observatory by using the roll over maps in the left hand navigation panel.  Note that, in the event of trouble with the interactive maps, the metaphoric observatory navigation will revert to drop-down names.

Literal context

On the main page of the literal context you will see the site map that gives you an overview of the contents of the site. You can click on any of the topic areas or learning units to go directly to them. Once you are in a particular topic you can navigate around it using the same techniques as in the metaphoric context above. You can navigate to other topics and learning units using the drop downs in the left hand navigation panel. 

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This site will work well in any modern standards compliant web browser. Some of the interactive activities will only work with the latest version of the browser Microsoft Internet Explorer (for those instances alternative activities or static solution pages are provided). Latest versions of commonly used browsers may be downloaded from:

The site contains some interactive activities that require your browser to be JavaScript enabled (the latest versions of the browsers listed above are all Javascript enabled by default). You will also need the Macromedia Flash Player (free download) to play some interactive content located in some learning objects.

You will still be able to access the majority of the content on this site even if your browser can't support JavaScript or Macromedia Flash.

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