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Visual Media: Study Booklet

Sunday, May 17th, 2020

Following hard on the heels of the previous “visual media” offering comes this 18-page Pdf Study Booklet.

Media Booklet: click to download

It’s packed to the rafters with information presented in a variety of simple, visually-attractive, ways under six main headings with sub-headings as required:

  • New Media: changes, digital optimism and pessimism
  • Ownership and Control: trends, patterns, theories.
  • Globalisation: cultural changes, imperialism, postmodernism.
  • New Values: bias, moral panics.
  • Representations: class, age, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality.
  • Effects: passive and active audiences.
  • As with the previous offerings, there are no indications in the metadata about who created the Booklet, but thank you mysterious, anonymous, person anyway.

    Visual Media: Theories and Representations

    Saturday, May 16th, 2020

    As you probably know by the number of blog posts featuring the word “visual“, I’m a sucker for anything that smacks of “visual sociology” (the clue is probably in what I do…) and I recently chanced upon what I think are two very neat “picture-type” pdf resources covering:

    Media Theories

    1. Media Theories: the material here involves a page on Identity theory and two further pages on representations of youth.

    2. Media Representations: this is organised around 4 categories (Gender, Age, Sexuality and Ethnicity) and consists of a page outlining different theories and a further page packed chock-full with examples of each.

    The materials don’t go into any great depth or detail but I like the way they’ve been constructed and presented (particularly the media theory resources).

    You can use them as a way of presenting some introductory information about both topics or as an example of the type of visual notes students might be encouraged to create for revision purposes.

    Visual Aids for Sampling and Statistics

    Tuesday, April 14th, 2020

    Finding ways to introduce stuff like sampling (in Sociology) and statistical analysis (in Psychology) can, at the best of times, be difficult, so any type of visual aid, from simple graphics to video walkthroughs, is likely to be a useful time-saver for teachers and students alike.

    A Visual Aid.
    Not Actual Size.
    Thankfully.

    As luck would have it, the two web pages detailed below contain a set of visual representations of key sampling and statistical terms and calculations.

    1. Terms involves a range of simple visual explanations of key statistical terms.

    Most (Double Blind, Null Hypothesis…) will be relevant to psychology students but a fair few (different Types of Sampling and Data, Observation, Hypothesis…) should be of interest to sociologists.

    Each key term is given a very short overview, a slightly-longer explanation and a much more useful graphical representation. The latter is probably going to be of most interest to teachers as a way of providing a ready-made visual aid for further elaboration and explanation.

    2. Calculations are generally aimed at psychology students and basically involve short video walkthroughs of statistical tests (such as Mann Whitney and Chi-Squared).

    The videos are similar to the Psychology: Step-By-Step films we’ve produced in the past only not as good. Obviously.

    Although they are free.

    Which is something.

    You pays your money.

    Or not as the case may be.

    Visual Notes

    Tuesday, April 30th, 2019
    Family
    Families and Households

    The Sociology Guy has been busy putting together what he calls “quick glance revision notes” for his web site (which, apropos of nothing, is well worth a visit because it contains lots of good stuff) – what might be described as visual notes or mini learning tables / knowledge organisers tied to a specific idea, topic or theme.

    And if this sounds like I’m struggling to do them justice, it’s probably easier just to look at the accompanying pictures because they’ll give you a much better idea about what’s involved.

    And this, in a roundabout way, is probably as it should be, given the claim that “Research suggests that notes that are vibrant, colourful and have pictures or illustrations are 40% more likely to be recalled by students”.

    While I’m not sure what this research might be, the idea does have an initial face validity, in that the combination of text and relevant graphics should help students make evocative connections.

    Anyway, be that as it may, the Notes look attractive and deliver just the right gobbets (that’s actually a word) of information for revision purposes across 6 current areas:

    There’s a Lot more to Follow…

    Visualising Social Mobility: A Mountain to Climb?

    Thursday, September 27th, 2018

    Broadly-speaking, the underlying idea here is to both make the study of social mobility slightly less dull and to replace a somewhat hackneyed, not-to-say, highly misleading visualisation of mobility (“a ladder”) with something a little more dynamic and visually thought-provoking (“climbing a mountain”).

    Although this post could be more accurately described as a “Lesson Suggestion” rather than a “Lesson Plan”, I’ve included some ideas for how you might be able to turn it into the latter.

    One of the most common ways to visualise social mobility – movement up or down a class structure – is to think in terms of “a ladder”. It’s an analogy that’s not just embedded in the Sociology classroom but arguably in everyday political discourse too.

    And while it’s relatively easy to understand, evocative and in some ways self-explanatory, it’s also deeply flawed, even as a simple visual guide to understanding the mechanics of social mobility, for a number of reasons:

    Going nowhere?

    • It’s overly-individualistic in the sense of representing mobility as the product of individual effort, grit and determination. While these qualities may (or may not) be important, they present a one-dimensional view, focused solely on the individual that ignores both wider social factors involved in mobility (family, education…) and any sense of a problematic class structure that actively militates against mobility for some social groups.

    • The ladder is presented as a neutral tool, one that simply facilitates social mobility.

    • The ladder exists independently of those who use it. It is equally available to all and the most able will utilise it most successfully to climb to the higher levels of the class structure.

    • The class structure itself is akin to something like a pyramid, smooth and increasingly elevated.

    • It encourages students to focus on upward mobility – the ability to climb, rung-by-rung, to “the top”.

    There are, of course, many more reasons for rejecting the ladder analogy as a way of visualising and teaching social mobility, but you probably get the idea.

    (more…)

    Visual Sociology: Picturing Inequality

    Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

    Equality of Opportunity?

    As regular readers of this blog will know, I’m a big fan of using graphic material (pictures and illustrations rather than examples of extreme physical violence) to both illustrate sociological ideas and encourage students to think a little more deeply about such ideas and how they can be applied to increase their depth of sociological knowledge and understanding. I’ve tried to use this technique to good effect in:

    • blog posts – visualising strain theory is a particular favourite
    • teaching – one of my favourite “visual lessons” was to use optical illusions to introduce and illustrate the idea of different sociological approaches – how could people look at the same thing (“society”) yet see it so differently?
    • my work as a video producer.

    In this respect my argument is that the right picture can be a simple and evocative way of getting students to both understand and think about the ramifications of certain ideas across a range of sociological areas:

    • Education and differential achievement.
    • Deviance and rates of arrest / imprisonment.
    • Social inequality and various forms of discrimination.
    • Theory and concepts like economic, cultural and social capital.

    The picture above, for example, can be used to get students to think beyond relatively simple and straightforward ideas about class, gender or ethic discrimination (it’s morally wrong…) in order to explore more complex sociological ideas about the concept of equality of opportunity: what, for example, does it really mean and can it be used by powerful groups to actually embed greater inequality into social structures?

    (more…)

    Visualising Routine Activities Theory

    Friday, July 7th, 2017

    Routine Activities Theory has been described (by me, just now) as one of the key theoretical contributions to the development of Situational Crime Prevention strategies and techniques. In broad terms it sees crime as the outcome of both “opportunity” (Mayhew, 1976; Clarke, 1988) and “routine activities” (Cohen and Felson 1979) and represents, for Felson and Boba (2010), “A theory of how crime changes in response to larger shifts in society”.

    While the general theory can appear quite complex to students – and contains numerous developments and qualifications – at root it offers a fairly simple outline of the relationship between, on the one hand, potential offenders and, on the other, the social controls that may exist to deter offending.

    The objective of this PowerPoint Presentation, therefore, is to provide a visual representation of the factors that contribute to both offending and crime prevention, within the context of routine activities theory.

    Visualising Strain Theory

    Monday, March 27th, 2017

    Although examples of Merton’s “Responses to Strain” are fairly straightforward I always think it helps students if they can visualise the basic idea involved – something this simple image I came across on Twitter (apologies, but I don’t know who created it) does very well, I think.

    So, on the basis you can take a good thing and make it even better (probably) by adding a bit of movement I thought it would be helpful to create a PowerPoint Presentation based around the graphic (and also to add some “ends / means” text into the mix; mainly because I can, but also because it’s helpful to associate different forms of response with different combinations of cultural goals and structural conduits).

    The PowerPoint has both click-to-advance and auto-advance versions and its main use, as I see it, is as a visual teaching aid when introducing and discussing response to strain. There’s also, if you prefer, a video version of the Presentation.

    (more…)

    Experiments in Visual Sociology

    Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

    media_ownAs you might expect from someone who makes films I like to explore visual ways of adding content to what can be fairly plain text information and this particular project is the result of just such an exploration. The objective here was to distil essential course information into a series of simple tableaux that highlight the information without necessarily distracting from it.

    Whether this works or not is probably something for you to decide and you can check-out three examples in terms of the following media modules: 

    Defining The Mass Media: Traditional definitions of “mass media”; Old mass media / old media; New mass media / new media; Characteristics of the new mass media.

    Ownership and Control 1: Key Concepts in the Ownership and Control debate: Media Ownership: State and Private; Owners and Controllers; Concentration: Product and Information Diversity; Conglomeration and Diagonal Integration.

    Ownership and Control 2: Theories of Ownership and Control: Instrumental Marxism; Neo (Hegemonic) Marxism; Pluralism.

     

    Visualising Class Structures

    Sunday, September 18th, 2016

    class_coverVisualising Class Structures is a PowerPoint Presentation, designed for whole-class teaching, that features visual representations of ten different class structures / variations,  accompanied by some of the key ideas involved in each classification. Brief background Notes for teachers are also included with each slide.

    The current presentation has been updated (2019) to include Savage’s “7 Class Model”, most notable for its introduction of the “Precariat” and construction around 3 types of capital (economic, social and cultural). 

    There’s also now a further updated version available that features a user-friendly menu system (see below).

    The slides are intended to be a visual backdrop teachers can use to introduce / discuss different class structures: from the classic Pyramid or Pentagon, through Neo-Marxist relational structures to contemporary (a little bit postmodern) idea like Polarised Convergence and Flatlining.

    Update

    Click to download Menu-based Presentation
    Now with Added Menu!

    The original Presentation was simply a set of slides you advanced one after the other, something that was functional but limited. If you didn’t want to discuss particular types of class structure you either had to manually edit them out of the Presentation or click-on-through until you reached the slide you wanted to discuss.

    While, quite frankly, this was no biggie, I thought it might be helpful to add a menu to the Presentation so that you can select the slides you want your students to see.

    To make the menu less intrusive, you can make it appear as-and-when it’s needed (just click the star at the top of the screen to make it appear, click inside the menu box to make it disappear).

    Introducing Sociology: Video as a visual dimension for teaching about norms

    Thursday, March 10th, 2016

    If you want to add a visual dimension to your students’ understanding of norms the Can of Worms YouTube Channel has a selection of short films you can use as illustrative material. There are quite a few films from which to choose, so it probably pays to be selective.

    The focus, as ever, is on using norm-breaking behaviour (“breeching experiments”) to illustrate the existence, importance and effects of norms on our everyday lives.

    Taking things a little further, some of the clips can be used to illustrate concepts like the definition of a situation (how people become confused when they define a situation as one thing but other people define as something else) and Merton’s use of anomie (how people respond to situations in which norms clearly apply but which they can’t, for whatever reason, understand or follow).

    If you’re looking for a more-general introduction to sociology and sociological thinking, have a look at our Introducing Sociology films – What is Sociology? is available for digital download or as part of our new Introduction to Sociology DVD

    Visual Sociology: Macro and Micro Perspectives

    Sunday, March 6th, 2016

    Revisiting my YouTube Channel reminded me of this “oldie” (you can tell its age by the 4:3 perspective – widescreen was for those with fancy monitors) that I cobbled together from bits and pieces of film that had been left lying around.

    I quite like it and I think it gets the job done. I may have posted it before, but what the heck…

    SHS Sociology Resources

    Friday, May 22nd, 2020

    Padlet, in case you don’t know it, is a file-sharing site that lets you organise files into Boards, the contents of which can then be shared with anyone who happens to want them.

    Topic Sheets…

    You can upload all kinds of files (such as documents or videos), or link to files on other web sites. It’s a very visual and a very handy way to organise files and would probably be my go-to site for sharing stuff if it hadn’t decided to charge for the privilege.

    While there is a free version, last time I looked it was limited to 3 Boards for new users – which sounds okay(ish), but for teachers who want to organise information into Specification categories for their students it’s not really much cop (the Padlet I’m about to feature here, for example, consists of 66 Boards…).

    And there are alternatives, such as Wakelet, that do much the same sort of thing for free.

    Nor do they display anoying and somewhat baffling messages like “Don’t forget to drink water” when I log-in.

    Like breathing, this is not something I regularly forget to do.

    Go figure.

    Just some of the Boards…

    Anyway, the purpose of this rambling preamble is simply to draw your attention to this very useful set of Padlet Sociology Boards from shs_sociology (Laura Lakin).

    The aforementioned 66 Boards are broadly organised into half-a-dozen (or “6” as it’s sometimes known) Specification-friendly categories:

  • Education
  • Family
  • Methods
  • Theory
  • Beliefs
  • Crime and Deviance
  • These, in turn, contain all kinds of resources and links that are well worth exploring, although one of the most interesting, for my money, is to the different Topic Sheets available. These are a bit like a Knowledge Organiser / Learning Table in the sense they include key concepts and their definitions, but they also expand this a little more to include stuff like links to other topics, practice questions and the like.

    If you’ve got a bit of time to spare and enjoy nosing around other people’s files these Boards are worth the effort.

    Research Methods Booklet

    Thursday, May 21st, 2020

    I came across this Booklet on the Padlet site of Mrs. Booker-Parkinson and, I’m now reliably informed, it was created by Steven Humphrys, based on one of Ken Browne’s many Sociology textbooks. I don’t know which one but since the Booklet’s dated 2018 I chose the most recent.

    Probably.

    I can’t keep up.

    Also, when I say “guessing”, the Word version has a bank page that says “Ken Browne Scan”, which might be considered some sort of a clue.

    Be that as it may, the content covers pretty-much everything a student would need to know and revise about (AQA) research methods (other Exam Boards are available – but since its Research Methods the content’s going to be pretty much applicable across the board, so to speak), organised into a number of discrete sections:

  • Methodologies (positivism and interpretivism)
  • Practical, Ethical and Theoretical research considerations
  • Research design
  • Methods – from experiments to observation via questionnaires.
  • Sampling techniques
  • Triangulation (although this is treated minimally. And then some).
  • Each section is generally presented in terms of two categories:

  • keywords and concepts outlines the basic information required for the exam. This includes the aforementioned (visually signposted) key ideas, some elaborative material and, where relevant, a table of advantages and disadvantages.
  • exam focus provides a range of exam practice questions.
  • As you’ll see from the image I’ve used to decorate this Post, the document formatting is a step up from most booklet’s of this type – and therein lies a slight problem. Word is predominantly a word processor (there’s a clue in there somewhere) and while it has tried to evolve over the years into what it likes to think of itself as some-sort of all-round Desktop Publishing type program, it really isn’t.

    While you can DTP in Word, as this Booklet demonstrates, it’s not ideal because you have to be very careful about the options you set when anchoring text to graphics. To cut a long story short, if you get it wrong and the text moves slightly – which can happen when documents are uploaded to the web – so do the images…

    What I’ve done, therefore, is correct some of the formatting problems that appear in the original Word document and saved it as a pdf file. I haven’t changed any of the text, so both versions are identical (although I’ve removed the blank page from the pdf version). However, if you want a version to edit, choose the original Word one. If you want a version whose contents won’t slide around the page if you cough too loudly, choose the pdf one.

    Teaching Techniques: Pre-Questioning

    Friday, May 15th, 2020

    “Asking questions” of students is pretty-much a staple of any teacher’s toolkit, which is fair enough, because as Jarrett (2107) notes:

    The “testing effect” is well-established in psychology: this is the finding that answering questions about what you’ve learned leads to better retention than simply studying the material for longer. Testing is beneficial because the act of recall entrenches learned material in our memories, and when we can’t answer, this helps us make our future revision more targeted”.

    Testing, therefore, has a range of educational benefits for both teachers – such as checking how effective their teaching of a particular topic has been – and students in that answering questions appears to encourage better information retention.

    This type of practice, for reasons that are somewhat obvious, can be called post-questioning: students attempt to learn something, by viewing a short film, for example, and are then questioned on what they’ve learnt “after the event”.

    This, you may be thinking, makes sense and is how it probably should be.

    And you wouldn’t be wrong.

    There is, however, another way of asking questions that is slightly more counter-intuitive in that it involves asking questions before students have studied something. This is known as pre-questioning and, on the face of things probably sounds a little pointless.

    Bear with me however, as I outline two types of pre-questioning and suggest exactly how and why they might be useful to your teaching in different contexts.

    Type of Pre-Questioning

    Of Methods and Methodology 6 | 3: Theoretical Research Considerations

    Thursday, April 30th, 2020

    Theoretical research considerations – from methodological perspective to questions of reliability and validity – form the third part of the P.E.T. (Practical, Ethical, Theoretical) triumvirate of research considerations and they represent an important counterweight to the idea that sociological research simply involves choosing the right tool for the job.

    In everyday life, when faced with a problem like hanging a picture on a wall, most of us would reach for a hammer – mainly because we consider this the most appropriate and efficient tool for the job.

    When carrying out sociological research, therefore, it would make sense to do something similar: choose a research topic and then select the most appropriate method with which to collect data.

    Seeing research methods as tools – what Ackroyd and Hughes (1992) called the “Toolbox Approach” to sociological research – is, on one level, a perfectly sensible approach: if you want to collect quantitative data about some form of behaviour it’s not a great idea to use a method better-suited to collecting qualitative data – and vice-versa.

    (more…)

    Crime as a Cause of Crime? Evaluating Routine Activities

    Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

    Felson and Cohen’s Routine Activities approach (1979) has arguably been one of the most-influential recent theories of crime, one that sits squarely within contemporary New Right / Realist explanations for crime and deviance.

    This post looks at a couple of useful ways students can evaluate the approach.

    A Quick Outline…

    The main objective of this post is to introduce a-level sociology students to some points of evaluation for Routine Activities and in order to do this, students need to be familiar with the basic approach. If they’re not, this quick outline should bring them up-to-speed.

    One advantage of the approach is that it’s easy to describe, at least in Felson and Cohen’s (1979) original argument that crime involves three essential elements:

    1. A Suitable Target

    The Predatory Triangle

    2. A Motivated (latterly, a Capable or Likely) Offender

    3. The absence of a Capable Guardian.

    This formulation has, over the years, seen various additions (see, for example, Clarke and Eck, 2003) although whether these represent an attempt to refine the approach or merely a papering over of the theoretical cracks, I couldn’t possibly say), but one of the most significant refinements has been to express these elements as part of what Felson and Cohen call “the Predatory Triangle”.

    While it might not seem much, this visual representation shows how the three elements are linked, such that, as they argue, a “Lack of any one of these elements is sufficient to prevent the successful completion of a direct-contact predatory crime”.

    In other words, for a crime to take place a likely offender needs to meet a suitable target in the absence of a capable guardian. Or, as Felson (1998) puts it, by way of an example:

    “A burglary needs a capable and motivated offender to find a suitable and accessible target, in the absence of anyone or anything there to keep the two apart”.

    There are a couple of points we can note in this respect:

    1. A crime occurs (or, in a weaker formulation, “is likely to occur”) when these three elements meet in time and space.

    If you want to give Routine Activities an historical context, in common with other Right Realist approaches such as Broken Windows it’s based on Ecological (how behaviour is influenced by social and physical spaces) and Control theories of behaviour. An element of Rational Choice Theory is often thrown into contemporary versions of the approach to “explain” why offenders are motivated or demotivated in relation to criminal intent.

    2. “Routine Activity” is an important part of the overall crime equation because it refers to the idea that “motivated offenders” come to identify suitable targets – and the extent to which they are protected by “capable guardians” – through their everyday experiences.

    As with most New Right / Right Realist approaches, the main focus is on crime prevention. While there is necessarily some discussion / speculation about “criminal motives” – Felson and Cohen refer, for example, to “structural conditions” that produce “motivated offenders” – there isn’t a great deal of interest in trying to explain why people are motivated towards crime.

    Crime, in this respect, is seen as a more-or-less unfortunate by-product of social and / or psychological background (depending on the particular theorist); crime is a “fact of life” and the best a society can do is to control it.

    In this respect the basic “Predatory Triangle” has clear implications for the control of crime:

    1. Motivated offenders can be deterred.

    2. Suitable targets need to be “hardened” or protected in ways that make them seem unsuitable to offenders.

    3. Capable Guardians – from the police, through careful and well-informed populations to various forms of technological guardianship (such as CCTV) – need to be extensively deployed.

    Evaluating RAT

    More Crime and Deviance Resources

    Monday, February 17th, 2020

    Following on from the previous set of crime resources, this is a mixed-bag of PowerPoint Presentations and Word documents covering various aspects of crime and deviance.

    While there is coverage of various issues and debates here, the main emphasis is on student activities and tasks – and while there’s nothing particularly spectacular or cutting-edge about the various resources there may be something here you’ll find helpful or inspiring.

    Resources…

    Psychology: Aspects of Sleep

    Monday, January 20th, 2020

    Four short teaching films, now available On Demand, covering different aspects of sleep research:

    1. Why Do We Sleep? [4.20]

    We’ll spend about a third of our lives asleep. But why?  Why do we need to sleep? Filmed at a University Sleep Laboratory, this short film demonstrates the effect of lack of sleep and why it is so essential to brain function and, ultimately, to survival.

    2. The Structure of Sleep [2.30]

    Until relatively recently what happens while we sleep was a mystery. But that changed with the advent of polysomnography, the electrical recording of brain activity. This short film provides students with a clear visual introduction to the stages of sleep. It also shows why we can’t fully understand our waking lives without understanding how sleep works.

    3. Insomnia: Causes and Treatments [5.32]

    ‘Insomnia’, says one of the respondents we interviewed, ‘can be as debilitating as a physical injury’. This film looks at the causes of insomnia, the cycle of sleeplessness, and Professor Kevin Morgan explains some of the treatments and their effectiveness.  

    4. Sleep, Memory & Learning [3.32]

    While sleep rests and repairs the brain, it continues to be active and sleep psychologists believe one of the things it’s doing is helping to consolidate memories. This short film looks at Professor Gaskell’s research comparing participants who learn in the morning and are tested in the evening with those who learn in the evening and are tested in the morning after sleeping. It also provides students with very good for advice about the best time to learn new information.   

    Sampling Selection

    Tuesday, December 17th, 2019

    Continuing the clear-out of stuff-I’ve-found-but-never-posted, today’s offering covers sampling techniques (plus a bit on questionnaire design if you’re interested).

    Sampling Jelly Babies
    Sweet.

    The 4 Presentations are from “various authors” (one of whom must remain anonymous for the deceptively-simple, but hopefully-plausible, reason that I’ve no idea who they are) and contain a variety of ideas and information – from time-saving Notes and Diagrams to practical ways to teach sampling (using everyone’s favourite jelly-like sweets).

    Click For the Presentations

    One Pagers

    Wednesday, November 27th, 2019
    Click to download Perspectives One Pager
    Perspectives One Pager

    The basic idea underpinning the concept of a “One Pager” is that it represents a one-page (no, really) response to something.

    Conventionally, given the concept’s origins in literature studies, this a piece of text.

    Somewhat less conventionally, in the context of sociology / psychology we can widen the definition of “text” to include just about anything you want – from a perspective or theory, through a research method to a specific concept you need students to understand.

    In other words, One Pagers are a way of getting students to condense their Notes on a particular topic or idea into a single page – which can, of course, be linked if necessary – that eventually builds into a simple, efficient and well-organised, revision system.

    In order to do this a One Pager needs to have some sort of structure – otherwise it’s just a blank sheet of paper – but what that structure might be is up to you (if you want to provide strong guidance) and / or individual students (if you’re confident enough to allow them to create the different structures that work for them).

    If students are new to the idea – and need a bit of encouragement to adopt it – it might be useful to develop One Page templates together to cover different aspects and types of Note-taking. This can, of course, include various forms of visual Note-taking (pictures, drawings, doodles…) as well as more-conventional text.

    Once students are confident with the idea and happy to use it you may find they develop their own, personal, structures that you can share with students who may be struggling to develop a style of their own.

    How various One Page templates develop will be strongly-influenced by what students are expected to know, the skills they are expected to demonstrate and so forth. In Sociology, for example, “evaluation” is an important skill that can be reflected in Notes that focus on things like the key strengths and weaknesses of a theory, method or perspective.

    In this respect, there are a couple of Template examples I’ve created you might find useful / instructive. I’ve presented these as Word documents (so they’re not pretty and pretty basic) rather than pdf files because most teachers / students will find it easier to edit the former.

    Template Examples

    Psychological Studies Deconstructed

    Friday, September 20th, 2019

    Although this a-level psychology site doesn’t seem to have been updated for a couple of years there’s still plenty here students and teachers will find very useful – particularly, but not exclusively, clear, concise and well-focused notes on a range of classic studies.

    To add to the general air of usefulness the notes on each study have been constructed around a range of standard criteria:

  • Introduction to study
  • Sample
  • Procedure
  • Results
  • Research method/s
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Ethical issues
  • click to see the studies

    One-Minute Interactionism: The Animated Version

    Thursday, September 19th, 2019

    A few months ago we posted an animated version of our One-Minute Strain Theory film and since it generally seemed to get a relatively welcoming reception we thought we’d go ahead with some further conversions of films in the “One-Minute” series.

    This month’s free animated offering, therefore, is a 1-Minute explanation of Labelling Theory that covers the key ideas behind this theory of crime and deviance in around 60 seconds (give or take – and not including the intro and credits).

    These include ideas like: primary deviation, secondary deviation and self-fulfilling prophecies.

    As you may suspect, covering a topic in 60 seconds is really just designed to help students focus on key ideas that can then be explored and developed inside and outside the classroom.

    Update

    If you’d prefer the non-animated version of 1-Minute Interactionism (because it’s a lot less visually weird perhaps?) we’ve now made a version available for your viewing and educational pleasure.

    Not an animation in sight.

    Right Realism vs. Edgework: A Short Film

    Saturday, September 7th, 2019

    This short Crime Channel film looks at two contrasting approaches to understanding young, male, working-class criminality.

    The first, Right Realism, is an approach underpinned by the notion of criminals making rational choices on the basis of a “cost-benefit” analysis of crime. If, in short, the potential costs exceed the assumed benefits then a crime will not be committed. If you want to explore the theoretical background of rational choice you might find this critical overview (there’s an accompanying PowerPoint if you want to take a more-visual approach) and evaluation useful.

    This, as you might expect, feeds into practical forms of situational crime prevention whereby potential criminal victims, from individuals to businesses, are encouraged to increase the potential costs of crime through various forms of target hardening.

    As characterised by Clarke (1980), “SCP is a practical, policy-oriented approach whose goal is to reduce crime in the future”. It is, as Freilich (2014) notes “uniquely concerned with how offenders successfully commit their crimes. Understanding how the offender carries out the crime can be used to craft interventions to prevent offending. The rest of criminology is focused on why perpetrators offend”.

    This focus on the how has led, as Freilich argues, to the development of “a growing number of strategies…that have in fact reduced crime. There are currently five general strategies encompassing 25 techniques to reduce crime. The techniques include both ‘‘hard’’ and soft interventions.

    Hard interventions include making it impossible or more difficult for the crime to be committed and alert potential perpetrators that they are likely to be apprehended if they transgress.

    Soft interventions reduce situational prompts/cues that increase a person’s motivation to commit a crime during specific types of events”.

    The second, Edgework, is an approach that offers a very different view in the sense it suggests the kinds of situational crime prevention measures advocated by Right Realists either displace crime or, in some situations, offer perverse incentives to young, male, working-class criminality.

    By making crime “more risky” through situational strategies and techniques it perversely makes it more attractive to some young males by offering greater challenges and hence more opportunities for individuals to enhance their power and status within the social groups that are important to, and supportive of, their sense of self.

    Right Realism vs. Edgework

    Getting Your Revision On: The Appliance of Science

    Thursday, August 15th, 2019

    Although revision is probably the last thing on anyone’s mind at the start of a course, the science suggests that taking a structured, long-term, “little and often”, approach is the way to go…

    Retrieval Practice Guide
    Retrieval Practice

    While any revision is arguably better than no revision, I’d also suggest some forms of revision are more effective than others. And if you’re looking at introducing a more-structured approach to student revision in your classroom – one that’s built-in to a course of study rather than bolted-on at the end – you might find ideas like Retrieval Practice and Spaced Study interesting and useful.

    These are ideas I’ve written about in a previous post,  based on the work of the Learning Scientists and the short video-explainers they’ve produced to introduce these ideas.

    read more about retrieval practice