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Methods and Education

Unit 2 ­ 60%

Primary Resources

Research that is conducted by the Sociologist himself/herself


Questionnaires ­ Open/Closed, Distribution: Postal or face to face
Interviews- Structured/ Unstructured/ Semi-structured
Observation- Overt/Covert/Participant/ Non-Participant
Experiments- Lab/Field
Sample ­ Stratified/Random/Quota/Snowball
1. Definition
2. Strengths
3. Weaknesses
4. Examples

Strengths and weaknesses…

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Written for Sociologists
Cannot guarantee reliability
Cannot guarantee it is valid


State education has been available since 1880 in the UK- School was made compulsory for
children up to the age of ten.
Foresters Education Act 1870 declared that school boards could be set up in districts where

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Interpretivists ­ Social Actions Theory, it believes that the individual shapes society. Interpretivists
like to have a conversation and ask why? Interpretivists like unstructured interviews and
observations which produces qualitative data and validity.

Positivists ­ Social Systems Theory, it believes that society shapes the individual. Positivists like
quantitative data and…

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What are official statistics?

Statistics that are gained by the government or other official bodies ­ all information gathered is
quantitative data. The statistics are on:

Births ­ Register
Death ­ Register
Divorce rate

All examples of official statistics are found…

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Some official statistics such as the British Crime Survey are less representative

Validity ­ Do official statistics claim what they actually measure?

Crime statistics probably under-estimate the levels of crime compared to child birth

Positivism and Interpretivism Ideology

Positivists see official statistics as an advantage for Sociologists. Durkheim used official…

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Educational Policy

Academies - State funded, but they are run by private individuals or organisations.

After school clubs ­ Government have to provide extra curriculum and free child care.

Fees -Charged by independent and private schools.

High Education ­Universities

League tables - A table produced by the government to compare…

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What happened before the 1800's

Up to the middle ages parents taught children what they needed to know
Daughters of rich parents started to have tutors for specific skills
The boys were sent to a castle to learn how to become a knight
Younger sons were sent to the church…

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Between 1979 and 1997 the method of calculating unemployment statistics was changed 30 times.
Each change creating a statistical drop in unemployment. E.g. only those who claimed unemployment
benefits, not those on sickness benefits, not those on back to work schemes and not those working
on part-time.

Marxists, such as…

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Historical Documents

Simply a personal or public document, created in the past. They are used to

Make comparisons
May only be the source of information

The family structure in the past

1. Peter Laslett ­ Used parish records to look at the family structure Size, shape
Pre-industrial England
2. Michael…

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Case studies ­ Example of one thing e.g. school

Life histories- Example of one person e.g. case study

Longitudinal- Study e.g. a long study

Triangulation ­ Validity and reliability

Case studies

An intensive study of a single example or whatever is under investigation. For example, one school,
one doctors surgery.…


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