A Level Student
What is Sociology?
Sociology is the study of the society around you. It investigates
how it affects you; your personality, your opportunities and your
It investigates relationships between people, their social groups
and institutions around them - in other words, it considers people
like you and how social class, gender and ethnicity affect
opportunities and how you are influenced by your family, school
and religious beliefs.
Sociology is a subject full of different ideas
and lots of debate - sociologists do not agree
For this reason, there is no one correct
answer to a sociological question such as;
"what makes a person commit a crime?'" - all
points of view are valid.
Sociologists try to answer questions about the world around us so
that we can:
better understand ourselves and others
remove inequality and improve our society
discover what influences our behaviour
They answer these questions by using statistics, conducting
detailed studies and developing theories on people's behaviour.
Within your AS and A Level Sociology you will learn about different
Sociologists findings and ideas and their competing explanations.
Sociology is the study of the social world - it is the study of
What will we study in the AS Sociology course?
You will follow the AQA GCE specification. We recommend that
you visit the exam board‟s website, which can be found at:
Unit 1: Families and Households
sociological views on the role and function of the family
changes brought to the family by industrialisation
gender roles and issues of inequality within the family
different types of families and households
marriage and divorce
government policy that affects the family
changing expectations of age and childhood
Trends in birth rates, death rates and family size in the UK
How will I be assessed on Family and Households?
This unit has a 1 hour exam in January which will contain:
3 short answer questions and 2 extended answer questions
Unit 2: Education with Sociological Methods
sociological views on the role and function of education
government policy and changes made to improve education
the relationship between education and the economy
explanations for different levels of
achievement of students by ; social class;
internal and external influences on
schooling and success
the application of research methods to the study of education
the different views on which methods sociologists should use
advantages and disadvantages of different research methods
the influences that exist in choosing a research method
How will I be examined on Education & Sociological Methods?
This unit has a 2 hour exam in the Summer which will contain:
5 short answer questions and 4 extended answer questions
What will we study in the A2 Sociology course?
Unit 3: Beliefs in Society
the significance of religion in the modern world
the decline of religious belief and behaviour in the contemporary
does religion cause or prevent social change?
different types of religious organisations (e.g.
churches/ cults/sects and denominations)
explanations for involvement in religious
How will I be examined on Beliefs in Society?
This unit has a 1 hour 30 minute exam that will contain:
1short answer questions and two extended answer questions.
Unit 4: Crime & Deviance with Theory & Methods
different sociological explanations for criminal/deviant behaviour
the relationship between crime and ...
the sociology of suicide
globalisation and crime in contemporary society (including mass
media; green crime; human rights crime and state crime)
the role of the criminal justice system and other agencies in
crime control, crime prevention and punishment.
theoretical and methodological
implications connected with the study of
connections between social theory and
research methods and the study of crime
How will I be examined on Crime & Deviance and Theory &
This unit has a 2 hour exam that will contain:
2 short answer questions and 4 extended answer questions
How is the whole course broken down?
There are 2 modules in AS Sociology and 2 modules in A2
Sociology. Together these 4 units construct you ‘A’ Level. You
can decide to leave after one year with an AS qualification or you can
continue for a second year and gain an A Level instead. Your AS
qualification is worth a half of your full A Level so it really does
UNIT ONE UNIT TWO
Families & Education &
Households + Sociological
40% of AS 60% of AS
20% of A 30% of A
mark: ____ mark: ____
Exam is Jan 2009 Exam is May 2009
= AS mark: ____
UNIT THREE UNIT FOUR
Belief in Society + Crime & Deviance
/Theory & Methods
20% of A Level 30% of A Level
mark: ____ mark: ____
Exam is Jan 2010 Exam is June 2010
= A Level
How is the course content broken down?
September –December 2008. Introduction to Sociology.
Families & Households.
January 2009 Families Revision and Families
Februray 2009 – May 2009 Education and Sociological
May 2009 Education and Sociological
Methods Revision and
Education/Methods AS exam.
June-July 2009 Begin Belief in Society.
September –December 2009. Belief in Society.
January 2010 Belief in Society revision and
Belief in Society A2 exam.
Februray 2009 – May 2009 Crime & Deviance and
May 2009 Crime & Deviance and
Sociological Methods Revision.
June 2010 Crime & Deviance and
Sociological Methods A2 exam.
What will I be expected to do during the course?
The course is packed full of new ideas and exciting debates which
makes lessons varied and exciting.
Sociology is not just about discussing what you
think, most of the time we will be looking at the
views of sociologists and it is here that you will have
the chance to offer your opinion. Before we can do
this, however, like any other subject, you will have
to learn about the sociologists, their theories and
There is a lot of material to get through during the course and because
of this we have very high expectations of you. In return for your hard
work you should also have expectations of your teachers.
Expectations of You Expectations of Us
Attendance at all lessons Work to be set if teacher absent.
Meeting all deadlines Homework returned
to you within two weeks.
Participate fully in lesson
activities. To provide varied and engaging
No holidays during term time Support and advice
Punctuality at lessons Prompt starts to lessons
Respecting others' individuality Quality materials and course
To try your hardest, always! Regularly monitor your progress
To complete regular
Independent study outside of
your lessons and in addition to
Should you fail to live up to our high expectations you could
expect the following sanctions:
Sociology 'Cause for Concern' Monitoring.
Referral to the Sixth Form Team / Sociology study clinic.
Sociology department „student contract‟.
Contact with home.
How do I best organise myself?
As simple as it sounds you are more likely to be able to achieve a
better grade from your work if you can be organised in your time
and your materials used.
Do not leave your work until the last minute –
you will be given plenty of time for each major piece
of work as it is expected that you will spend quality
time on it, do not leave it until the night before!
Revise throughout the course – be prepared for your mock
exams, as when you come to the real exams you are not revising
things for the first time.
Do not book holidays or ‘long weekends’ away during the
course, the work you miss will not be covered again later in the
course. You must catch up all work missed if absent.
Organise social events for weekends, ideally Friday or Saturday
Your own material:
You should organise all your Sociology notes and handouts
in the following way.
Have a sociology folder (this will be provided for you in
1. Keep your notes in the order done in class
2. Date or number your pages
3. Hole punch lesson handouts and file in the correct place
4. Use subject dividers for topics within a module
5. Have a section for exam work : your practice answers
student friendly markscheme
essay technique material
Where do I get help?
The majority of students studying AS and A Level Sociology are
new to it and really enjoy the new ideas the subjects gives them.
Because Sociology is new to you it can take a bit of time to get
used to the subject so don't panic if you find it difficult at times,
especially in the first term!
There are many ways to get help in sociology ranging from asking
your teacher to visiting the shops or surfing the net.
Your teacher during the lesson or
arrange an appointment outside of the lesson
The library within H72 there are many helpful textbooks and
the school library contains a sociology section
as well as many relevant books in other sections
The internet see the list below for good sites and also check
department‟s VLE site.
Revision Books available to buy from most bookshops, eg,
Waterstones / W.H.Smith in Huddersfield, White
Rose Centre etc.
Suggested Reading List
Any AS and A' Level sociology textbook will help if you look
under the correct chapter. Don't forget there may be special
chapters for gender and ethnicity. As a general rule look under:
Families and Households
Crime and Deviance
Sociology an Introduction - Stephen Moore
Sociology for AS-Level - Moore, Chapman, Aiken
Sociology for A2 Level - Moore, Aiken, Chapman
Sociology In Focus - Paul Taylor et al
Sociology Themes & Perspectives – M Haralambos (very useful!)
Investigating Families and Households - Nik Jorgenson
Investigating Education and Training - Paul Trowler
How to do Social Research - Dunsmuir and Williams
Investigating Religion - John Bird
Investigating Crime and Deviance - Stephen Moore
Essay Practice and Skills:
AS Sociology Families and Households - Philip Allan Updates
AS Sociology Education - Philip Allan Updates
Do Brilliantly AS Sociology - Collins Publications
Do Brilliantly A2 Sociology - Collins Publications
Definitions of Concepts:
A-Z Sociology - Lawson and Garrod
Most of these sites have relevant links so be prepared to explore.
There is a lot of good material appearing on the net but beware of
sites aimed at degree level and above. Do not be put off if you find
yourself face to face with Talcott Parson's own work on the screen
- move onto a more student friendly page!!
Sociology Learning Support. www.chrisgardner.clara.net
Sociology Online. www.sociologyonline.co.uk (games & quizzes)
Sociology Central www.sociology.org.uk
www.s-cool.co.uk (excellent for revision and essay practice)
www.esher.ac.uk/scextranet/sociology (excellent for revision
and essay plans)
www.hartland64.freeserve.co.uk - good for essay plans
Cardiff University: Introduction to Sociology Web Site
The Socioweb. www.socioweb.com/~markbl/socioweb
A Sociological tour through cyberspace.
The Association for the Teaching of Social Science
The Home Office Web Site. www.homeoffice.gov.uk
The national statistics website: www.statistics.gov.uk
Don’t forget to keep checking the Sociology Department VLE
for useful books and websites. Remember that you can also
post your recommendations on there!
What skills are the Examiners looking for?
There are two different assessment objectives that your work will
be graded on when doing Sociology. These are:
AO1: an examination of your sociological knowledge and
AO2: an examination of your skills of identification, analysis,
interpretation and evaluation
How to gain marks for AO1 – knowledge & understanding
use some sociologists names to support arguments
use sociological concepts in your answers
include sociological theories to help develop answers
use a range of different ideas when evaluating a
perspective/concept on „f‟ questions
provide details about sociological findings
be precise and use statistics and dates, small quotes
How to gain marks for AO2 - skills
keep going back to the question – use the words from it in your
structure your work – plan it first and include a conclusion
use „trigger terms‟ such as “however, a contrasting view, in
comparison”, so that the examiner can see that you are
use a variety of different perspectives and arguments –
especially on „f‟ questions
use methods to discuss strengths and weaknesses
Don’t forget to refer to your student mark scheme for further advice for
the specific assessment requirements for each unit/paper.
Summer Holiday Homework
Before we begin the actual course in the first few weeks in
September we will cover a short introduction to sociology that will
outline some of the key concepts, theme and theories that are
central to the course content. In preparation for
this, you need to complete the following piece of
work over the summer and this must then be
brought to your first sociology lesson!
Task: The Start of the Day across Different Cultures.
You need to write a diary account of a typical morning of
your life. This should cover exact details of everything you do
for the first two to three hours of the day.
Ask two other people you know to do this
for you too.
Analyse your diary account and those
given to you by the other people. Make a
list of any differences and similarities between the different
diaries in terms of things that people do.
Don’t forget to bring this to the first lesson!