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Social Science - Sociology

 

DEPARTMENT

COURSE NAME

COURSE LEADER

EXAM BOARD

QUALIFICATION

Social Science Sociology Miss Dhindsa AQA A level

What is it about?

Sociology is the study of the different forces and influences that shape society as a whole and the people within it.  Sociologists apply theory and method to the study of topics such as crime and deviance, family, education and religion.

Have I got what it takes?

To study Sociology A level you will have at least a grade 5 (strong pass C) or above in GCSE Maths, Science and English.  You will have to be keen on reading and thinking about controversial ideas, conflicting arguments and evidence.  You will have to be prepared to develop your ability in essay writing.  This course involves studying statistics and trends so you have to come ready to think in an analytical way.

Year 12 Sociology

Families and Households

Students are expected to be familiar with sociological explanations of the following content:

  • the relationship of the family to the social structure and social change, with particular reference to the economy and to state policies;
  • changing patterns of marriage, cohabitation, separation, divorce, childbearing and the life course, including the sociology of personal life, and the diversity of contemporary family and household structures;
  • gender roles, domestic labour and power relationships within the family in contemporary society;
  • the nature of childhood, and changes in the status of children in the family and society;
  • demographic trends in the United Kingdom since 1900: birth rates, death rates, family size, life expectancy, ageing population and migration and globalisation.

Education with research methods

Education: The role and functions of the education system, including its relationship to the economy and to class structure.

  • differential educational achievement of social groups by social class, gender and ethnicity in contemporary society;
  • relationships and processes within schools, with particular reference to teacher/pupil relationships, pupil identities and subcultures, the hidden curriculum and the organisation of teaching and learning;
  • the significance of educational policies, including policies of selection, marketisation and privatisation, and policies to achieve greater equality of opportunity or outcome, for an understanding of the structure, role, impact and experience of and access to education; the impact of globalisation on educational policy.

Methods

  • quantitative and qualitative methods of research; research design;
  • sources of data, including questionnaires, interviews, participant and non-participant observation, experiments, documents and official statistics;
  • the distinction between primary and secondary data, and between quantitative and qualitative data;
  • the relationship between positivism, interpretivism and sociological methods; the nature of ‘social facts’;
  • the theoretical, practical and ethical considerations influencing choice of topic, choice of method(s) and the conduct of research.

Year 13 Sociology

Beliefs in Society

Students are expected to be familiar with sociological explanations of the following content:

  • ideology, science and religion, including both Christian and non-Christian religious traditions;
  • the relationship between social change and social stability and religious beliefs, practices and organisations;
  • religious organisations, including cults, sects, denominations, churches and New Age movements and their relationship to religious and spiritual belief and practice;
  • the relationship between different social groups and religious/spiritual organisations and movements;
  • beliefs and practices;
  • the significance of religion and religiosity in the contemporary world, including the nature and extent of secularisation in a global context, and globalisation and the spread of religions.

Crime and Deviance with theory and methods

Crime and Deviance

  • crime, deviance, social order and social control;
  • the social distribution of crime and deviance by ethnicity, gender and social class, including recent patterns and trends in crime;
  • globalisation and crime in contemporary society; the media and crime; green crime; human rights and state crimes;
  • crime control, surveillance, prevention and punishment, victims, and the role of the criminal justice system and other agencies.

Theory and Methods: quantitative and qualitative methods of research; research design:

  • sources of data, including questionnaires, interviews, participant and non-participant observation, experiments, documents and official statistics;
  • the distinction between primary and secondary data, and between quantitative and qualitative data;
  • the relationship between positivism, interpretivism and sociological methods; the nature of ‘social facts’;
  • the theoretical, practical and ethical considerations influencing choice of topic, choice of method(s) and the conduct of research;
  • consensus, conflict, structural and social action theories;
  • the concepts of modernity and post-modernity in relation to sociological theory;
  • the nature of science and the extent to which Sociology can be regarded as scientific;
  • the relationship between theory and methods;
  • debates about subjectivity, objectivity and value freedom;
  • the relationship between Sociology and social policy.

Assessment

The A level is three 2 hour exams.  One on Beliefs in Society, one Crime, Deviance, Theory and Methods and one Education with Research Methods and theory exam.  Each worth 33.3%.

Progression and careers

Sociology is recognised by employers and universities alike as an excellent qualification showing literacy, numeracy, scientific ability and insight into human situations.  Spanning, as it does, the boundary between science and arts, it can be useful when applying for many higher education courses from medicine to philosophy and literature.  It is also an asset in business, management, education and many other fields of employment requiring an understanding of human relationships.

Exam Board

AQA

Contact Name

For further information, please see Miss M Dhindsa – Head of Sociology.