Posts Tagged ‘methods’
Opportunities for students to link crime, deviance and research methods in a practical way are often limited by the constraints of time and space – but one simple approach that can be used effectively in the classroom is a self-report crime questionnaire. Although there are a few of these kicking around (from Ann Campbell’s onward…) this is a relatively recent one I’ve put together based on questions contained in the UK Crime and Justice Survey.
It can be downloaded as a Word document so that you can amend it easily (you may not want to include all the 40+ questions and you may want to substitute some of your own…).
The document suggests some possible classroom uses for the questionnaire – from data and methodological analysis if you’re leaning toward research methods to using the data to think critically about official crime statistics based on categories like age and gender.
And if you want something to add to your classroom walls, they’ve also produced some basic Sociology posters:
Distil topic notes into key knowledge points, add illustrative examples and brief overviews of advantages and disadvantages, throw in some exam tips and short “test yourself” questions, call it a factsheet and sell it at a very reasonable price to teachers – which is exactly what the Curriculum Press (http://www.curriculum-press.co.uk) has done.
If you want samples of the various factsheets (their web site lists around 160), there are a few scattered around the web that I’ve cobbled together and presented here for your viewing pleasure: (more…)
This sim involves a bit of very gentle trickery on your part as you use your little-known ability to mind-read as a way of enlivening some of the “possibly less interesting?” aspects of research methods.
As with some of the other sims in the series this is a building-block resource; while it’s not very useful, in itself, for teaching, it’s possible to integrate it into curriculum content in a number of innovative and, I hope, interesting ways.
The specific instructions for this version of the sim relate to research methods generally and research design specifically. The background reading that’s included, at no extra cost, relates to Popper’s Hypothetico-Deductive Model of science and you can build the sim around a range of general and / or specific research method issues (replication, variables, hypothesis construction and testing etc.) depending on your own particular needs and preferences. For more advanced levels the sim can be used to illustrate the difference between Positivist and Realist approaches to understanding social phenomena and action. (more…)
The package includes a little bit of background on breaching experiments and a couple of different anomie variations – mild and strong – depending on the type of short, sharp, dose of anomie you want to impart to your students.
Window shopping is designed to encourage students to think systematically about the “underlying rules” of relatively mundane behavior. It can be used to simulate sociological research (such as field experiments and naturalistic observation) and introduces what some teachers might feel is a practical element into research methods.
The Art of Walking relates to Berger’s argument that sociology involves making “the everyday seem strange” in that it involves looking at something students take for granted (how to walk in public) to see if they can work out “the rules” by which it is underpinned. It’s a simple sim that can be used at different points in a course but can be very effective right at the start as a way for students to “do sociology” in a relative safe environment.
I’ve long been interested in the idea of using simulations (and games – see Disclaimer below) as teaching tools – see, for example, a couple of online efforts I created many moons ago when the Internet was still young and frames seemed such a good idea:
- Education and Differential Achievement: The Sociological Detective http://www.sociology.org.uk/revtece1.htm
Although the game is incomplete it should convey the overall idea that “studying sociology” at A-level can be a bit like being a detective – you identify “suspects”, develop theories to explain social phenomena and collect / evaluate different types of evidence.
- Crime, Deviance and Methods: The Great Chocolate Bar Theft http://www.sociology.org.uk/game1.htm (be aware the email answers part of the sim will not work for technical reasons that are just too boring to bother explaining)
One of the problems, aside from having the time and ability to think them up, has always been the difficulty of finding materials that not only delight, surprise and occasionally befuddle students but which also have teaching content that repays all the time and effort required to set-up and use them effectively in the classroom.
The Internet has, to some extent, made this easier in terms of finding stuff and it has to be noted that just about everything that’s presented here has been invented by someone other than myself. Where I know who created the materials they’re given appropriate credit but in some instances I don’t have the first idea about the identity of their creator, so if you are that person I’d just like to say “Sorry”, “Thank You” and “I’ve hidden all my money in off-shore trusts, so don’t bother suing”.
Our handy round-up of all the sociology and psychology links we think you’ll like. Probably.
All the links that caught our eye this past week in one handy post…
Wealth, Poverty, Welfare
One of the obvious ways to study the media is through Content Analysis and a classic – if now somewhat dated – application of the method was the Glasgow Media Group’s pioneering research, evidenced through a series of books – Bad News (1976), More Bad News (1980), Really Bad News (1982) – that examined “the ‘common sense’ acceptance of the neutrality of television news” and concluded: “Contrary to the claims, conventions and culture of television journalism, the news is not a neutral product. For television news is a cultural artefact; it is a sequence of socially manufactured messages, which carry many of the culturally dominant assumptions of our society”. (more…)
Although revision techniques are many and varied one of my favourite techniques is based on keywords because it’s so highly-adaptable; it’s equally suited to on-course as it is to post-course revision (although I actually believe the former is both more effective and encourages a greater depth of revision).
In basic terms keyword revision simply involves identifying and recording the most important (or key) ideas you encounter on the course. In this respect – and to use a currently-fashionable concept – keywords represent a form of metadata; ideas that provide an underlying structure to further ideas by describing how and why such ideas relate to one another.
To use a simple example, at the end of teaching a family module it should be possible to write the word “FAMILY” at the centre of a whiteboard and expect students to generate masses of relevant data simply by focusing on the keyword and using it (and their underlying knowledge of the topic) to produce further, linked, information. This, in turn, generates further keywords, further data and so forth.
Recent pronouncements by the ONS, however, suggest students should look at the reliability of crime statistics more critically…
When looking at statistical relationships, a useful student exercise to demonstrate how social factors underpin the production of crime data is to examine their underlying causes.
This piece of research, from The Adolescent and Children’s Trust (Tact) and University of East Anglia, can be used to effectively illustrate this idea. It also has further interesting applications when looking at areas like the relationship between age and crime.
Part of the launch of our new “Revising Psychology” series of films, aimed at a-level and ap psychology teachers and students, on Research Methods and Issues / Debates involves giving teachers and students free access to some of the series.
If you missed the first free revision film (Correlations), you can view it online here.
Our second free revision film looks at the question “Is Psychology a Science?” by taking students through the key characteristics of science and the scientific method, using examples drawn from classic and contemporary studies.
The film covers key:
- knowledge: defining science, objectivity, the scientific method
- applications: Popper, Maguire, Zimbardo, Haslam and Reicher
- explanations: identifying and applying the key characteristics of science
You can view these, other free films and previews of all our sociology and psychology films on our on-demand site.
Jurgenson’s essay “On the cultural ideology of Big Data” will probably need some decoding for A-level students but it’s a worthwhile thing to do because it will:
- Give students a contemporary insight to (neo)positivist tendencies in data science.
- Provide some contemporary examples of positivism in the shape of “Big Data”.
- Introduce students to the concept of large data sets and the analysis of network relationships facilitated by new technologies.
This is a fantastic free resource that works for teachers and students on a number of levels.
Research Methods: It’s a good example of a longitudinal study that samples around 40,000 households each year. It’s also an example of a representative survey (class, age, gender and ethnicity) from which it’s possible to make generalisations.
Health: The survey collects a range of empirical health data.
Families and Households: The main aim of the survey is to collect data about the social and economic circumstances of the UK population, in addition to their general attitudes and beliefs. It also collects data that is of more-specific interest to students studying the sociology of families and households, both in terms of empirical data and, by implication, sociological theory.
For example, recent research into divorce and separation based on data from the survey looks at the probability of marital breakdown as it relates to personal and structural economic factors – something that can be used to illustrate and inform debates about the relationship between structure and action at A-level (such as the significance of structural factors – economic recessions – on the choices people make about their relationships).
The scope and size of the data also makes it a prime candidate for individual student research that can be fed into larger classroom databases. Using resources such as Padlet, Trackk or Paper.li it’s possible to build-up a valuable class resource if students are encouraged to research the site and add what they find to one of these resources.
The British Social Attitudes survey is useful in the context of defining national identity because it reflects how individuals themselves define their identity. This has two useful dimensions:
Firstly. it gives a broad insight into the different meanings involved in the conceptualisation of identity.
Secondly, it gives students a lot of scope for practical evaluations of this type of definition.
The data is available:
Download (select “National Identity” then “Download separate chapters” if you just want the Identity data).