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Archive for April, 2017

Methods in Context: Overt Participant Observation

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

For some reason I thought I’d already blogged this document, but it seems I’d put it on the Sociology Central web site but not here.

To rectify the omission, therefore, this document uses Sudhir Venkatesh’s “Gang Leader For a Day” study as the basis for an outline and evaluation – the advantages and disadvantages – of the following key methodological concepts in overt participant observation:

Access.
Recording Data.
Validity.
Depth and Detail.
Going Native.
Observer Effect.

 

NotAFactsheet: Interpretivist Methods

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

Continuing the Research Methods theme of recent posts, these NotAFactsheets focus on a range of methods associated with Interpretivist research:

M4a. Research Methods: this outlines different types of interview: semi-structured, unstructured and focus groups.

M4b. Research Methods: observational methods are one of the staples of Interpretivist research and this outlines non-participant observation, covert and overt participant observation.

M4c. Research Methods: while experimental methods are not conventionally associated with Interpretivism there have been a number of very interesting and influential field and natural experiments carried-out over the years. This NotAFactsheet outlines these and also provides an outline of documentary sources (with a bit of content analysis thrown-in for good measure).

 

Connecting Revision Too

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

If you’ve seen the previous post on Connecting Revision  you may have tried the Family Connecting Wall created by Steve Bishop (and maybe even been inspired to think about creating and sharing your own?).

He’s now created a new Wall to add to your revising pleasure and this time it’s on Crime and Deviance.

As ever the format’s a simple one: find 4 groups of 4 related ideas within the 3 minute time limit and then explain what connects each group.

NotAFactsheet: Research Ethics

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

This NotAFactsheet on Research Ethics is a slight departure from previous NotAFactsheets in that it comes in two flavours:

1. The normal “text with box-outs and pictures-if-you’re-lucky” version.

2.  An experimental version with an added bit of embedded video (click-the-pic-to-play).

Although not ideal, the video is in Flash (.flv) format for reasons that are much too boring to go into. Plus, the .flv format can be quite heavily compressed and means the video doesn’t add too many megabytes to the pdf file. I’ve deliberately kept the clip short – it just illustrates a simple mnemonic that I cut out of one of our films on Ethics – because it’s essentially just a test to see which people prefer.

If you choose this option you’ll need to download the pdf file because atm it won’t play online (probably).

 

Connecting Revision

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

Browsing through my Twitter feed the other day I was struck by a tweet from Oriel Sociology  about a “Connecting Wall” grid featured in the British Sociological Association’s Sociology Teacher magazine.

If you’re familiar with the BBC Quiz show “Only Connect” you’ll know that one of the most popular elements is the “Connecting Wall” where a team of 3 players is presented with a “wall” containing 16 elements that can be grouped into 4 different categories. Once all 4 categories have been correctly identified the team scores extra points by correctly identifying the how each group is connected.

This seemed to me like a really good way of spicing-up revision classes – students seem to like competitive games and the “making connections” angle is particularly suited to some simple “knowledge-based” revision activities.

While the BSA material is fine, the paper-based format is somewhat limiting because it’s difficult for students to know if they’ve correctly identified the four elements of each category (part of the fun of the TV-based connecting wall is that some elements can be red-herrings – they could belong to more than one category). A quick web-search, however, revealed a couple of on-line creators that could be used to make interactive walls quickly and easily.

One such creator (“Connect Fours”) can be found on Russel Tarr’s site.  This has a simple “Create Your Own” function with instructions about how to construct a game wall. To understand how it all works have a look at a Wall created by Steve Bishop on The Family.

Alternatively, the Puzzle Grid site features a Wall creator that takes you through all the simple steps you need to create your own Sociology Revision Wall online.

 

Sociology Shortcuts: NotAFactsheets

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

Over the past few weeks I’ve published a small selection of Curriculum Press Sociology Factsheets and the response to these set me thinking about creating some of my own, using a similar format – although I’ve decided not to call what I’ve produced “Factsheets”, mainly because they aren’t.

Anyway, I posted my first attempt at a NotAFactsheet a week or so ago and since then I’ve been developing and refining the format in terms of both design and content. Whether or not I’ve managed to capture something useful is something for you to judge but I thought I’d post my first batch of NotAFactsheets anyway.

The basic idea, in case you’re not familiar with the general format, is to use NotAFactsheets in a range of possible ways, as:

  • basic introductory documents.
  • an extra source of student Notes.
  • a source of information when students miss part of a course.
  • a revision document.
  •  
    These are all based around “Approaches to Research” and, in the main, focus on an outline of different approaches. I have, however, included one on research methods to see if and how that works (at 5 pages it’s significantly longer than each of the others and I’m not sure if this format works as a NotAFactsheet).

    You can download the following NotAFactsheets:

    Positivism

    Positivist Research Methods

    Interpretivism

    Realism

    Feminism

    A Few More Psychology Factsheets

    Thursday, April 6th, 2017

    In a previous post I shared some examples of Curriculum Press Factsheets I’d found on my travels and this post offers a few more examples that might inspire you (and your students) to think about making your own…

     

    Attachment

    Autism

    Classical Conditioning

    Eyewitness Testimony

    Factors affecting the accuracy of eyewitness testimony

    Sociology ShortCuts F’sheet

    Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

    I’ve posted a couple of times about the Sociology Factsheets produced by Curriculum Press –  particularly about how it might be an idea for teachers to get their students to make their own versions as both a revision aid and teaching resource for future sociology students – and I thought it might be interesting to have a go at something along these lines myself: particularly because having written a number of books for different exam boards over the past 10 or so years I’ve accumulated a large stock of words that could possibly be put to some more – and probably better – use as a revision-type resource.

    The upshot of playing-around with various words and pictures is my first ShortCuts Sheet on “Approaches to Research: Positivism” (for no better reason than the fact I had some underutilised text lying around that I thought might be easy to adapt to this format).

    If you’ve got any comments, suggestions etc. about why it’s brilliant / shite / could be improved please don’t hesitate to let me know…

    A Few More Sociology Factsheets

    Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

    A previous post featured a selection of the Factsheets produced by The Curriculum Press  and since this post I’ve managed to collect a few more Factsheets from various corners of the Web.

    These, oddly enough, all relate in some way to Research Methods…

    Experiments

    Overt Participant Observation

    Positivism and Interpretivism

    Qualitative Research

    Crime statistics