I have a question regarding waves which has been bugging me for a while: "You are given a travelling wave with an equation of the form cos(ax+/-bt) where x and t are position and time as usual, a and b are positive numbers. Explain how you would physically determine the direction that the wave is travelling in" Here are my ideas: I'm assuming that we only need to determine the 'direction' ie positive or negative direction in which the wave is traveling, so it's one dimensional. This means we can use the Doppler Effect. If we choose an arbitrary direction on the line to travel, the direction which gives an apparently lower frequency than expected is going away from the source, and the direction which gives a higher frequency is going towards the source. Since the wave always travels away from the source, we can determine the direction of wave propagation. Is this right?