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Archive for December, 2018

Attitudes to Marriage in China

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018
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As you may be aware, from time-to-time I’ve featured a variety of short pieces of research, on a range of topics, carried-out by Richard Driscoll’s students at the Shenzhen College of International Education in China.
This latest study by Elim Wu (“What are High-School Girls’ Attitudes Towards Marriage in China’s International High Schools?”), a high school sociology student at the school, is well-worth the read for a couple of reasons:

Firstly, it gives an interesting glimpse inside a non-European society that UK students in particular should find useful as a way of broadening their knowledge and understanding of contemporary societies.

Secondly, it’s a relatively simple piece of research (in the sense that it doesn’t try to be over-ambitious in what it can realistically achieve with the time and resources available) carried-out by an A-level student.

The study looks at female attitudes to marriage and the various pressures surrounding the development of such attitudes, with a particular focus on parental and wider cultural attitudes to marriage in contemporary China. The study has three main sections (although some of these are sub-divided):

1. Background reading about marriage in China that’s used to set the context for the study, in terms of outlining some of the traditional social pressures faced by young women. In addition the material notes some of the contemporary attitudinal changes creeping into a Chinese society undergoing rapid modernisation.

2. The Methodology section provides information about the research method (semi-structured interviews), sample and pilot study. There’s a helpful discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the method A-level students should find useful. Discussion of the plot study also provides an interesting reflection on the research, in terms of things like how questions evolve in the light of researcher experience. Again, this is useful information that gives students an insight into how “real-life” research changes to meet unexpected problems and conditions.

3. Final Findings sets-out the qualitative data collected from the interviews. This is worth reading for both the content – the author interviewed a number of perceptive and articulate respondents – and the clarity with which the data is linked to the various research questions.

While the study clearly has limitations, both in terms of the subject matter and the methodology (only 6 respondents were interviewed, for example) this makes it a useful piece of research on which A-level students can practice skills such as evaluation – to which end the author has included a helpful final section in which they evaluate the work they’ve produced.

Ethnicity in Advertising Report

Friday, December 14th, 2018
Download pdf version of the Report
Download Report pdf

This short Report, sponsored by the Lloyds Banking Group, asks the question “Does Advertising Reflect Modern Britain in 2018?” and answers it in a way that both GCSE and A-level Sociology teachers and students should find useful.

In basic terms, it’s a big, colourful, pdf file in three broad sections available for viewing online or offline as a pdf download.  

In basic terms, it’s a big, colourful, pdf file in three broad sections available for viewing online or offline as a pdf download.  

1. Key Findings does exactly what you might expect by pulling together a couple of A4 posters worth of information – covering things like ethnic identities and media representations and stereotypes – and presenting it in a clear, informative, way.

2. Findings goes into more detail about what the research discovered, with a few bits-and-pieces of interpretation thrown into the mix for good measure. There’s also an interesting little section on “ethic identity”, plus a short discussion of the relationship between ethic and gender identities.

3. Methodology. This adds a further dimension of usefulness as far as sociology teachers are concerned because it provides an opportunity to examine how a piece of research is constructed, particularly in terms of its strengths, weaknesses, reliability and validity.

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Sociology Literacy Mat

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

Although I’ve created my own and posted a few examples of Sociology Learning Mats, I hadn’t, until Liam Core sent me this example, come across the idea of a Sociology Literacy Mat – a collection of tips, prompts, hints and reminders designed to help students get to grips with answering sociological (exam) questions. This particular Mat includes brief advice on things like:

• Constructing answers
• Examples of evidence
• Spelling sociological terms
• Question Command Words
• Key terminology
• Connectives
• Elaboration tips.

I’ve left the Mat in its original PowerPoint form because this format is easy to edit if you want to personalise the Mat to your own particular specification or if you simply want to display the Mat for your students on a screen.

If you want to print or distribute the Mat to individual students, just use the PowerPoint Export function to convert it to an A4 pdf file.

This format can be useful if you get your students to do timed essay questions in class: if you laminate the Mat, for example, its then available for students to use for reference as they practice answering questions.

Update

Eleanor Johnson has created a ‘Write and Speak Like a Sociologist‘ vocabulary strip, based on the Sociology Literacy Mat, designed to help students improve the structure and flow of their answers through a range of handy writing prompts.

 

 

A-Level Evidence Bank Template

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

 

Instructions and Example

When it comes to a-level exam success, one of the key things is preparation: the ability to turn the mass of disparate information students have dutifully recorded over the course of a couple of years into something manageable from which they can revise.

And however your students choose to revise – from my preferred-option of “little-and-often” to the ever-popular “cram it all in between the end of the course and the start of the exam” – you can help and encourage them using this latest resource from Liam Core

The Evidence Bank is a deceptively simple idea that involves getting students to record and revise details of research studies as and when they encounter them.

In other words, it’s a way of encouraging students to spend a little bit of time after, say, a class has finished, to record and review a study or studies to which they’ve been introduced (although there’s no reason why this couldn’t be built into the normal teaching process if you think that’s what your students need). This record then forms part of an expanding Evidence Bank from which it should be possible to revise easily and effectively.

The Evidence Bank format also encourages students to think about where the research can be applied to different parts of the course, which is always a bonus when thinking about transferrable knowledge. Noting some major strengths and weaknesses of a study is also, of course, a quick and simple way to introduce evaluation into an argument.

Theory Bank Template

Although the Evidence Bank template was specifically created to help students collect and organise information around “research studies as evidence” it struck me that the general format could probably be applied to other areas of an a-level course, such as theories or even concepts. Students could, for example, create a Theory Bank to run alongside and complement their Evidence Bank.

The original document was formatted as “3 tables per A4 page” and whileI’ve kept examples of this formatting I’ve also added a couple of different types – an A5 “2 tables per page” format and an A4 “1 table per page” – just to give you a few more options if you want them.

I’ve also kept the original Word document format in case you want to edit the template to your own particular needs or requirements.

Although the template was originally designed for A-level Sociology students I see no reason why it couldn’t also be used by Psychology students.

Sociology A-level Student Feedback Form

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

From time-to-time teachers send me resources to share with other teachers.

Which is nice.

And also very useful because it’s odds-on that if you’ve developed a resource that saves you time or helps your students in some way, other teachers will find it useful too.

This particular resource, created by Liam Core (you can find him on Twitter if you find it useful and want to thank him personally) involves a couple of student feedback forms designed to standardise the information you give to students about their work.

Although it’s similar in intent to the kind of feedback form I’ve previously posted this is a much more detailed set of responses aimed at giving students very clear and concise information about what they’re doing right and, perhaps more importantly, what they need to do to improve their essay-writing performance.

Although the forms were originally designed for the Cambridge International A-level Specification the areas they cover (Knowledge and Understanding, Interpretation and Application, Analysis and Evaluation) can be easily edited to bring them into line with alternative A-level Exam Board Specifications. Although these two forms cover “essay writing” they can be easily edited to reflect a range of question types.

Similarly, the two sections covering “What you did well” and “Things to work on” can be edited to your own particular requirements and feedback preferences.

A-level Sociology 25-mark Feedback Form

A-level Sociology 16-mark Feedback Form