Glossary (Version 8.4)

The concept of scale is used to analyse phenomena and look for explanations at different spatial levels, from the personal to the local, regional, national and global. Different factors can be involved in explaining phenomena at different scales. For example, in studies of vegetation, climate is the main factor at the global scale, but soil and drainage may be the main factors at the local scale. Deciding on the appropriate scale for an inquiry is therefore important.

Scale is also involved when geographers look for explanations or outcomes at different levels. Local events can have global outcomes. For example, the effects of local actions such as permanent vegetation removal on global climate. National and regional changes can also have local outcomes, as in the effects of economic policies on local economies.

Scale, however, may be perceived differently by diverse groups of people and organisations, and can be used to elevate or diminish the significance of an issue, for example, by labelling it as local or global.

In History, secondary sources are accounts about the past that were created after the time being investigated and which often use or refer to primary sources and present a particular interpretation. Examples of secondary sources include writings of historians, encyclopaedia, documentaries, history textbooks, and websites.

Choose in preference to another or others.

Arrange in order.

The importance that is assigned to particular aspects of the past, eg events, developments, and historical sites. Significance includes an examination of the principles behind the selection of what should be investigated and remembered and involves consideration of questions such as: How did people in the past view the significance of an event? How important were the consequences of an event? What was the duration of the event? How relevant is it to the contemporary world?

The processes by which individuals and even entire communities are systematically blocked from rights, opportunities and resources (for example, housing, employment, healthcare, civic engagement, democratic participation and due process) that are normally available to members of society and which are key to social integration.

The concept that all people have the right to fair treatment and equal access to the benefits of society.

Social and economic inequalities across space. It includes unequal access to essential goods and services depending on the area or location in which a person lives.

Work out a correct solution to a problem.

Any written or non-written materials that can be used to investigate the past, for example coins, letters, tombs, buildings. A source becomes ‘evidence’ if it is of value to a particular inquiry.

Any written or non-written materials that can be used to investigate the past, for example coins, letters, tombs, buildings. A source becomes ‘evidence’ if it is of value to a particular inquiry.

The concept of space includes location, spatial distribution and the organisation of space. Location plays an important role in determining the environmental characteristics of a place, the viability of an economic activity or the opportunities open to an individual, but the effects of location on human activities also depend on the infrastructure and technology that link places, and the way these are managed by businesses and governments.

Spatial distribution, the second element in the concept of space, underlies much geographical study. The geographical characteristics of places have distributions across space that form patterns, and the analysis of these patterns contributes to an understanding of the causes of these characteristics and of the form they take in particular places. Spatial distributions also have significant environmental, economic, social and political consequences. (Students learn to identify and evaluate these consequences and the policies that could be adopted to respond to them.)

The organisation of space concerns how it is perceived, structured, organised and managed by people within specific cultural contexts, and how this creates particular types of spaces.

The arrangement of geographical phenomena or activities across the surface of the Earth.

Any software or hardware that interacts with real-world locations. The use of spatial technologies forms the basis of many geographers’ work practice. The Global Positioning System (GPS), Google Earth, geographic information systems (GIS) and the use of satellite images are the most commonly used spatial technologies to visualise, manipulate, analyse, display and record spatial data.

The use of spatial technologies is integral to the inquiry and skills process. The spatial technology application links geographic locations to information about them so you can:

find information about places across the globe or locally

analyse relationships between locations

make decisions on the location of facilities

map the demographics of target markets

integrate maps with information from a variety of sources.

Arranged in a given organised sequence.

In Mathematics: When students provide a structured solution, the solution follows an organised sequence provided by a third party.

Establish proof using evidence.

Written briefly and clearly expressed.

The concept of sustainability is used as a way to evaluate decisions and proposals as well as to measure the capacity of something to be maintained indefinitely into the future. It is used to frame questions, evaluate the findings of investigations, guide decisions and plan actions about environments, places and communities.

Consistency maintained throughout.

Combine elements (information/ideas/components) into a coherent whole.