Education Notes

AS level Sociology. Education notes.. enjoy! :-) 

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  • Created on: 09-04-12 14:39
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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 -
Cost and time, validity, reliability, generalisation, and representativeness
Secondary Resources
Research that is conducted by someone else
Official statistics ­ Historical documents, diaries, newspapers
Books and Magazines
Other studies by Sociologists/ Psychologists
Parish/Church records
Advantages of secondary resources ­
You are able to compare trends
It may be the only choice(historical)
Disadvantages of secondary resources ­

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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
school were inadequate.
(In 1870 only one in 10 British children were attending school.…read more

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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 statistics and social class. It's said to have reliability and generalisation.
Objective - Based on facts, impartial, unbiased.…read more

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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 in an annual publication called social trends. Official
statistics leads to policy making e.g. number of schools needed.
Census is a 10 year survey. It's a questionnaire sent to every household.…read more

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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 statistics in
his study of suicide. He said suicide is caused by the lack of social integration; religion.
Interpretivists would say that they are a weak type of data which lacks validity.…read more

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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 how well schools are doing against
each other.
Marketisation ­ Make schools compete against each other to gain more pupils.…read more

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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 to learn Latin
Tudors established Grammar schools
Charity schools for the poor in some areas
Crime statistics
A crime is committed
(Not witnessed, victimless)
It is detected
(Rape or domestic violence, crimes against children)
It…read more

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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 John Irvine (1987) believed that official statistics serve the needs of capitalism. The
government is not neutral. It serves the interests of the bourgeoisie.…read more

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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 Anderson- Parliamentary reports plus official statistics (1851) And looked at the
changes in the family structure
3. Tamara Hareven study of kinship networks in New Hampshire USA from 1800s-1930.…read more

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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. Usually more interpretivists use case studies, as qualitative methods are more
commonly used; very often importance is placed on individuals.…read more


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