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Knowledge Organisers: Media and Methods and Education

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

Back by popular demand and with a brand-spanking new set of Tables covering media, methods and education. Each Unit is by a different author and the quality is, at times, variable.

Media

These are pdf files so unless you’ve got a programme that will edit them you’re stuck with the information they have to offer. That said, they’re fairly recent (2015) and so are probably reasonably up-to-date and in line with the latest Specifications. There is, unfortunately, no indication of authorship…

Ownership of the mass media
New media, globalisation and popular culture
Selection and presentation of news and moral panics
Mass media and audiences
Representations of the body
Representations of ethnicity age and class

Methods

These are a little older (2009) and again authorship is a little hazy. On the plus side they’re in Word format so they can be easily edited if necessary.

Experiments and Questionnaires
Interviews
Observation and Secondary Sources

Previous Tables you might find useful:

Table 1.

Table 2.

Table 3.

Education

Again, not sure who created these or indeed when they were created. However, they are in Word format if you want to edit them.

Functionalism and Marxism
Feminism, New Right, Interactionism
Cultural and Material Factors

Previous Tables you might find useful:

Table 1.

Table 2.

 

More Learning Tables: AS Research Methods

Saturday, December 16th, 2017

Today’s Table offering is everyone’s favourite revision topic (research methods in case you actually need to ask) and all of the Tables were written / assembled by Miss K Elles, except for those that weren’t.

The Tables cover the major research methods plus a little bit of research methodology (positivism and interpretivism plus stuff on choice of method, value-freedom, objectivity and subjectivity) and mainly focus on knowledge with little bits of application and evaluation thrown-in.

If I had guess – which I do because I don’t know for sure – I’d say these were early-version Tables where the more-complex structure of later Tables hadn’t been established.

Alternatively they may just have been knocked-out quickly to fulfil some necessary teaching and learning void.

Either way, you and your students may find the following Tables useful:

Secondary Sources
Experiments
Surveys
Sampling
Observations
Positivism and Interpretivism 1 (Georgia Banton)
Positivism and Interpretivism 2 (Georgia Banton)
Factors influencing choice of method (Isaac Carter-Bown)
Value-Freedom (S Dale)

Methods, Mobiles and Media

Monday, June 19th, 2017

Research Methods can be a little abstract and dry (teacher-speak for dull), particularly when opportunities to experience and apply what’s being taught are limited by things like time and a lack of easy access to suitable research subjects.

This is where Steven Thomas’ “Patterns of Mobile Phone Use” article might help. The research example it suggests takes advantage of a ubiquitous resource – student ownership of mobile phones – to promote a relatively simple and straightforward way of applying and evaluating a range of methods, from questionnaires to participant observation.

It does this by suggesting students (loosely) replicate Maenpaa’s (2001) examination of the impact of mobile phones on social interaction through a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods designed to monitor mobile phone use in a small case study scenario. The article suggests a set of general areas to study – from the simple quantitative, like the length of time people spend on their phones each day, to more qualitative questions relating to how people behave when using their mobiles.

Media: Context / Background

Although the article is mainly designed to help students get to grips with research methods, if you’re teaching media there is an additional aspect to the research you might find interesting: evaluating the social impact of new media.

The concept of “New Media” appears somewhere on all Sociology a-level Specifications, frequently in conjunction with an instruction to examine its role / impact / significance in contemporary societies, both local and global:

AQA: New media and their significance for an understanding of the role of the media in contemporary Society

OCR: The impact of digital forms of communication in a global context

WJEC: New media and globalisation

CIE: The impact of the ‘new media’ on society.

In Thomas’ article the student research is based around a contrast between Negreponte’s slightly gung-ho and highly-individualistic “digital optimism” and Maenpaa’s more-nuanced approach to communication and interaction.

One interesting aspect of Negreponte’s work is the claim that in a digital society of “email, fax and answering machines” (the fact he only said this in 1995 shows how rapidly the technology has changed) the world will become asynchronous. That is, in order to participate or communicate people do not need to be interacting at the same time. As he predicted (Wired, 1998):

“We’ll all live very asynchronous lives, in far less lockstep obedience to each other. Any store that is not open 24 hours will be noncompetitive. The idea that we collectively rush off to watch a television program at 9:00 p.m. will be nothing less than goofy. The true luxury in life is to not set an alarm clock and to stay in pajamas as long as you like. From this follows a complete renaissance of rural living. In the distant future, the need for cities will disappear”.

One way in which new media has become increasingly ubiquitous is through the exponential growth of mobile / cell phone ownership and you would think that if any technological development has created or expanded asynchronous interaction it would be this one: technology that even a few years ago could be used to symbolise wealth and social status is now pretty-much everywhere.

While Negreponte’s arguments have a ring of truth about them – a certain face validity as it were – others have not been so sure. Maenpaa’s (2001) examination of the impact of mobile phones on interaction is a case (study) in point, with his key findings summarised by Thomas.

Methods

If you just want to use the activity as a way of teaching research methods, researching mobile use could be used to devise and apply methods such as:

  • Questionnaires / Structured interviews
  • Unstructured interviews
  • Observation – non-participant
  • Participant – overt and covert

  • Equally you could use a combination of quantitative / qualitative methods if you wanted to illustrate concepts of triangulation.

    If you don’t have the time, opportunity or inclination to do this as a practical exercise, try doing a thought experiment where students have to imagine what it would be like to do the research. This particular route can be instructive if students already have a good grounding in different methods, their strengths, weaknesses, uses and limitations and you want to explore a range of more-theoretical issues (different research methodologies, different aspects of triangulation and so forth).

    NotAFactsheet: Miscellaneous Methods

    Friday, May 5th, 2017

    Another small batch of NotAFactsheets covering a miscellaneous melange of methods-related stuff – some essential, some less so (but probably nice to know, just in case you want to impress the examiner with your wide-ranging and perceptive grasp of all things methodological. Or maybe not).

    M9. Quantitative and Qualitative Data

    M10. Strong and Weak Feminist thesis

    M11. Types of Triangulation

    M13. Objectivity, Subjectivity, Value-Freedom

    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).

     

    Crime, Deviance and Methods: Self-report Questionnaire

    Thursday, January 5th, 2017

    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.

    Non-Experimental Methods in Psychological Research

    Friday, December 9th, 2016

    The second in a trilogy of related psychology research methods films (the first looks at Experimental Research Methods and the third goes “Behind the Statistics” to examine how these are socially constructed), Non-Experimental Methods is a three-part film that illustrates different dimensions of non-experimental research – Naturalistic Observation; Self-Report methods and Case Studies – using a judicious mix of classic and contemporary studies (Rosenhan, Hartup, LaFrance and Mayo, Phineas Gage, Genie Wiley…). Each self-contained film looks at how the method can be defined, as well as assessing their respect strengths and limitations.

    Non-Experimental Methods can be used in a number of ways inside and outside the classroom to promote student engagement with and understanding of how real psychologists use these methods to inform their work.

    Non-Experimental Methods is available on-demand: 48-hour rental or to Buy

    Experimental Methods in Psychological Research

    Thursday, December 8th, 2016

    The first in a trilogy of related psychology research methods films (the second looks at Non-Experimental Research Methods and the third goes “Behind the Statistics” to examine how these are socially constructed), Experimental Methods is a three-part film that illustrates different dimensions of experimental research – Laboratory, Field and Natural experiments – using a mix of classic and contemporary studies (Bandura, Hofling, Piliavin, McGuire, Loftus, etc.). Each self-contained film looks at how the method can be defined, as well as assessing their respect strengths and limitations.

    Experimental Methods can be used in a range of ways – both inside and outside the classroom – to promote student engagement with and understanding of how real psychologists use these methods to inform their work.

    Experimental Methods is available on-demand: 48-hour rental | Buy

     

    A2 Psychology: Research Methods Free Chapter

    Friday, November 4th, 2016

    holt-and-lewisOne of the simple pleasures of Wandering the Web™ for a living, made all the more enjoyable by that intangible sense of the unexpected (I know, I live my life through contradictions), is coming across Stuff That Is Free.

    My not-so-little face lights up at the mere thought of finding Something For Nothing, even though that “Something” invariably ends up stored somewhere on a half-forgotten hard drive, waiting for that magic moment when “it might be useful to someone, sometime”.

    This behaviour, which I’m calling “Simple Squirrelling Syndrome” – because I can – has a yet deeper dimension (I’m toying with the idea of “Simple Squirrelling Syndrome Squared”, but it may need some work). Some years after the initial find-and-save I get to spend further pleasurable hours sifting through multiple hard drives “looking for that study I know I saved somewhere, under a name that made perfect sense at the time but which is now largely meaningless”, during which I rediscover all kinds of things I’d forgotten I had. My pleasure is quite obviously redoubled. Probably. I’m not altogether certain I’ve quite mastered mathematical analogies.

    Anyway, be that as it may, the actual point of this rambling preambling is that I came across this sample chapter on Research Methods from Holt and Lewis’ “A2 Psychology: The Student’s Textbook” and thought of you.

    On the downside it looks like a chapter from the 2009 edition, but on the upside you have to ask yourself when was the last time a textbook said anything startlingly-new about the Hypothetico-Deductive Model? Or “the Research Process”? Sampling? Probability and significance? My case rests.

    The chapter also has a very pretty, colourful, layout, which in my book counts for quite a lot.

    Media Methods

    Monday, May 9th, 2016

    8lqm5uyGOne 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…)

    Teaching A-level Research Methods: Part 3

    Monday, April 25th, 2016
    1. Talk the Walk

    At this point students need to get to grips with learning the basics of research methods. How you organise this is up to you, but one way is to get students to take ownership of their learning:

    If there are sufficient students, split the class into groups and give each group responsibility for one research method. Give the group a broad outline of how they should proceed in terms of:walk_template

    • Brief overview of the method

    • Primary / secondary data

    • Quantitative / qualitative source / data

    • Strengths

    • Limitations

    One way to do this is to use an evaluation template (this is for Focused (Semi-structured) Interviews – if you want a blank template download it here).

    (more…)

    Teaching A-level Research Methods: Part 2

    Monday, April 25th, 2016

    Virtual Research in a Real Location

    The idea here is that we use students’ knowledge of a real location as the basis for virtual research: while the scenario is real – a location such as a high street, shopping mall, school or college – students aren’t required to carry-out any real (time-consuming) research. Rather, they use their knowledge and experience of a real-world location to inform their understanding of research methods.

    1. Walk the Talk

    How to prepare the ground for the Border Walking and subsequent teaching is something for individual teachers, but a couple of things can be usefully observed.

    (more…)

    Teaching A-level Research Methods: Part 1

    Friday, April 22nd, 2016

    A few years ago I was asked to deliver a Conference on “Sociology and the Internet” to teachers interested in learning more about what was available on the Web and how to incorporate this material into their teaching. The “one proviso” stipulated by the commissioning company was that “there would not be any access to computers on the day”. I thought long and hard about this for all of 5 seconds before politely declining (even though the money was good, even I’m not that masochistic).

    “So what?” I hear you think (and yes, I really am that perceptive. And also in desperate need of a link between the first paragraph and the next).

    Well, since you ask, I was listening-in on a Twitter chat the other day about the difficulties involved in teaching research methods and I was reminded of the invitation to teach a bunch of people about all the brilliant resources available on the Web without giving them the ability to actually do any research for themselves.

    (more…)

    Methods in Context: Crime in England and Wales

    Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

    Keeping abreast of the various statistical sources and data on crime can be both time-consuming and somewhat confusing for teachers and students – both in terms of the volume of data and the reliability and validity of different data sources.

    For these reasons the Office for National Statistics statistical bulletin is a brilliant resource for a-level sociologists in terms of both crime statistics and the research methodologies underpinning their production (so it’s good for information covering both Crime and Deviance and Crime and Methods in Context).

    (more…)

    Methods in Context: Crime and Official Statistics

    Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

    blog_policeWhile the validity of Official Crime Statistics has long been questioned, their reliability has tended to be assumed.

    Recent pronouncements by the ONS, however, suggest students should look at the reliability of crime statistics more critically…

    Methods in Context: Crime

    Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

    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.

    blog_care

    Experimental Research Methods DVD

    Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

    Our latest Psychology DVD brings together 4 short films designed to clarify and consolidate the meaning of experimental methods by looking at the different ways psychologists carry out and design experiments and evaluate their comparative strengths and limitations. Illustrative case studies are used throughout for application and advice is given on key points of revision and exam technique.

    1. Laboratory Experiments (5 minutes 45 seconds). In the context of three major studies (Bandura, Maguire, the Stroop Effect) the film covers key:
    • definitions (aim, method and environment)
    • concepts (such as dependent and independent variables)
    • evaluations (identifying their strengths and weaknesses)
    1. Field Experiments (7 minutes 5 seconds). Uses a range of classic studies to take you through the key ideas and skills required to produce an excellent exam answer in terms of:
    • knowledge: the experimental method, field and natural experiments
    • applications: Hofling, Piliavin, Fisher and Geiselman
    • evaluation: the uses and limitations of field experiments
    1. Natural Experiments (7 minutes 10 seconds). Uses Costello et al’s Great Smokey Mountains study (Relationships Between Poverty and Psychopathology) as the basis for:
    • illustrating the unique features of natural experiments
    • showing how natural experiments differ from other types of experiment
    • identifying the strengths and weaknesses of this research method
    1. Experimental Design (8 minutes 45 seconds). Uses a real world example (the relationship between learning and time of day) to explore 3 different types of experimental design:
    • Repeated Measures
    • Independent Measures
    • Matched Pairs

    The film explores their respective strengths and weaknesses as each design is applied to the learning example.

    Length: 29 minutes | Price: £17.50 | Order online / offline

    Methods and Methodology

    Thursday, October 9th, 2014

    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:

    1. Give students a contemporary insight to (neo)positivist tendencies in data science.
    2. Provide some contemporary examples of positivism in the shape of “Big Data”.
    3. Introduce students to the concept of large data sets and the analysis of network relationships facilitated by new technologies.

    Research Methods: Experiments

    Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

    If you’re looking for contemporary examples of experiments with sociological applications, this recent study might be useful at both AS (Culture and Identity) and A2 (Differentiation) levels.

    blog_phone

    Yet More Sociology Knowledge Organisers

    Thursday, February 15th, 2018

    The Learning Tables and Knowledge Organisers we’ve recently posted were all for the AQA Specification and while there’s a good deal of crossover between this Specification and OCR I thought it would be helpful to those following the latter if they had some KO’s to call their own.

    These Organisers, all produced by Lucy Cluley, are, however, slightly different in that while some – mainly those for Research Methods – are complete, the remainder are blank templates. That is, while the author has designed various categories in areas like Crime Reduction Techniques or Research Methods, the actual content is up to you – and / or your students – to create.

    While this has an obvious downside (someone else hasn’t done the work…) it does open-up interesting possibilities for revision work with your students, either individually or as a whole class.

    In relation to the latter you’ll note that most of the blank templates are in PowerPoint (PP) format but if you want to use them with individual students simply use the PowerPoint Export function to save them as pdf files.

    (more…)

    More Sociology Knowledge Organisers

    Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

    Knowledge Organisers, you may or may not be surprised to learn, are the classroom requirement de nos jours and while some (looking at you Michaela Community School) may like to casually lay claim to the concept / format as being something radically new and different they’ve developed, it really isn’t.

    Here, for example, is one I made earlier (about 20-odd years earlier…) and if past experience is anything to go by I probably stole the idea from someone else (or, as I like to think, my efforts were influenced by those of others).

    Be that as it may, if you’ve landed here looking for Knowledge Organisers, here’s another batch I’ve managed to find using my finely-tuned Sociological Sensibility (or “typing stuff into Google to see what I can find” as it’s more-commonly known. Probably).

    These KO’s are slightly different to the various Learning Tables (LT) we’ve previously posted, but they are, to-all-intents-and-purposes, the same in terms of what they exist to do.

    You will find, if you compare the two (otherwise you’ll never actually know), this batch is a little less ambitious in scope and design than the previous LT’s, so it may be a case of choosing which suits you and your students and sticking with those. Or not as the case may be.

    Although the original files I found were in pdf format, I’ve converted them to Word so that you can more-easily edit them if you want to. The only difference between the two files is that rounded bullets in the pdf file have been converted as square bullets in the Word file.

    (more…)

    Discovering Sociology and Psychology

    Saturday, February 10th, 2018

    If you’re an a-level sociology or psychology teacher / student an obvious first-port-of-call for inspiration and resources, aside from the Exam Board, is likely to be the websites of the British Psychological and British Sociological Associations – and both provide a range of materials that are worth exploring (and some that, quite frankly, aren’t…).

    Psychology

    The BPS, for example, has a diverse and extensive range of useful stuff, broadly categorised in 3 overlapping areas:

    1. The Psychologist is an online magazine that covers all things psychological – debates, reviews, articles and the like – in an a-level friendly sort of way. There’s also access to the BPS “History of Psychology” online interactive Timeline and a link to:

    2. The Digest  which, as the title suggests, consists of academic studies “digested” (i.e. most of the tedious, difficult and largely incomprehensible bits removed, leaving just the stuff students need to know). Although it’s helpful that each article links to the original research this is normally just to the abstract – if you want access to the full research you have to pay for it. However, if you do want to read the original study it’s always worth doing a search on the title because, this being the Internet, there’s always a reasonable chance that it’s been posted somewhere for free.

    3. PsychCrunch podcasts are the third element in the BPS triumvirate likely to interest a-level teachers. This section contains a selection of 10-minute podcasts on a range of topics and issues. Most seem to be aimed at a general audience, but there are one or two a-level teachers / students might find useful.

    Sociology

    Somewhat perversely, the BSA site doesn’t have the extensive range of resources of its psychological counterpart, but what it does have are two sections devoted explicitly to a-level sociology:

    1. Discovering Sociology is a short section with two items:

    What Is Sociology has a range of short articles looking at various aspects of what sociology is and . On the basis that if something’s worth doing once it’s probably worth doing twice, there’s also a completely different “What is Sociology” section on the main site that covers stuff like the Origins of Sociology, among other things.

    Sociology in Action provides half-a-dozen very short (and I do mean short) examples of sociological research in areas like the family and the media). Unfortunately it all seems a little half-hearted and not particularly useful…

    2. Teaching Resources, on the other hand, is likely to prove much more useful. The section has a drop-down menu containing subheadings for all the main areas of a-level sociology (education, methods, crime etc.) and this links to pages containing the free resources.

    Research Methods, to take one example, has resources on The Hawthorne Effect, Correlation vs. Causality, Validity and Reliability and more, while Theory has materials on all the major sociological perspectives.

    Each resource is built around some form of short exercise / lesson suggestion. This might be a simple experiment, article to read or video to watch:

    Reliability and Validity, for example, suggests a simple, but quite effective, classroom measuring exercise to firm-up the difference between the two concepts.

    Gender and Crime, on the other hand, points students towards a couple of online articles to read, from which they have to “create a table that outlines trends pertaining to women as victims of crime, women as suspects, women as defendants, women as offenders and women as CJS staff”.

    Postmodernism is based on students watching a short YouTube video and using it to identify some of the key features of postmodernism, which is quite a nice, simple, start (and edges towards a bit of flipped teaching). This then morphs into looking at the media and religion from a “postmodern perspective” through a couple of classroom applications.

    Although none of the resources on offer are particularly ground-breaking or earth-shattering but at least they’re free and it never hurts to check this kind of stuff out when you’re in search of inspiration…

    PsychoPepper: Approaches in Psychology

    Saturday, January 6th, 2018

    I first came across this Blog via a PsychoPepper Twitter post drawing attention to the availability of this Approaches in Psychology booklet that’s hard to sum-up in a simple statement. It mixes a range of formats – textbook, revision book, workbook – into something rather wonderful and, dare I say, exceptionally useful for both students and teachers.

    The closest thing I can compare the booklet to is the Psychology Teacher’s Toolkit although even here the comparison falls short; whereas the latter is a collection of lesson ideas loosely grouped around different themes the former is a coherently-structured 50-papge+ document focused on the notion of different psychological approaches. The blog’s well worth a visit just to get your hands on the booklet alone, but once you’re there take a bit of time to have a look around at the other free resources on offer.

    Classroom Resources, for example, contains Lesson Plans for a number of areas (such as Research Methods, Aggression and Biopsychology) that, at the very least, will save you a lot of time and effort.

    The Teaching Blog section, on the other hand, focuses on planning and pedagogy – schemes of work, teaching tips and so forth.

    There’s also a handy “Glossary” of key terms and a “Marking and Feedback” section designed to help students understand what they are being asked in exam questions and how to provide the answers…

    SociologySaviour Blog

    Monday, December 25th, 2017

    I was looking for pictures of Arron Cicoural for a new film we’re editing on Labelling Theory when I stumbled across the rather interesting SociologySaviour Blog,  that unfortunately now looks as though it hasn’t been updated since mid-2016. This is something of a shame because the material it contains seems well-written and useful – although this isn’t something the navigation system could be accused of being. It’s all a bit minimalist and confusing until you scroll to the bottom of the page where you’ll find links to four categories:

    Crime and Deviance: extensive notes on wide range of topics
    Beliefs in Society: notes on a smaller range of topics
    Sociological Theory: brief notes on a small range of perspectives
    Research Methods: doesn’t seem to have ever been developed.

    Basically, the site has a lot of notes on Crime, a lesser range on Beliefs and Theory and a short indication of notes that would have appeared under Research Methods but which, for whatever reason, never seem to have been added.

    Be that as it may – and we can only guess the reasons for the project’s apparent abandonment – the notes included are really quite good: short, to-the-point and, as far as I’ve read, accurate.