Sociology Revision Booklets: 2. Theory and Methods

The second batch of a-level revision booklets covers that ever-popular topic, theory and methods.

As with previous offerings, both design and content can, at times, be a little variable and for this I take no responsibility whatsoever. Because I neither designed nor wrote any of the content. I am technically distributing it for your revision pleasure, however, so I do feel a modicum of responsibility for the materials.

Not enough, obviously, to indemnify you in any way, shape or form for any losses you may occur through using any of these resources. But enough to advise you it’s something of the nature of the beast that there’s frequently a trade-off between getting your hands on free resources and the currency of those resources. You need, in other words, to go through the resources you decide to use to check they conform to your current Specification: things, as they are wont to do, sometimes change. You also need to make sure you find ways of covering newer material that may not be included in these revision booklets.

That said, I’ve picked out some resources I think you might find useful and, where known, I’ve credited the appropriate source. Some might say this is so you know who to complain to if there’s anything you don’t like or understand but I would respond that it does you no credit to think that I might think like that. Or something.

Anyway, without further ado, you can if you so choose pick-up these free resources:

1. Theory and Methods in Context: This reads more like a textbook rewrite than a set of revision notes, one of the giveaways being the inclusion of a few pictures taken from “a contemporary textbook” and it’s “All About The Theory” (a knowledge of research methods is assumed, which is fair enough at A2). If you ignore the fact at times it gets a little (and when I say “little” I mean “seriously”) weird in its use of language and ideas (“If we ignore the fact that large numbers of people think feminists are all man hating lesbians…”) there’s some useful stuff here on perspectives, methodology, modernity, postmodernity, science and social policy. It’s not, as I’ve suggested, going to be everyone’s cup of drinking chocolate…

2. Sociological Research Methods: The first of two guides by Sakine Koc (there are similarities and crossovers between this and the Theory and Methods Guide), the focus here is mainly on AS Research Methods. While the language used can, at times, be best-described as “creative” there are a lot of useful tables and summaries here. At times the Guide is very detailed but that’s not necessarily a Bad Thing.

3. Sociological Theory and Methods: The second Guide by Sakine Koc focuses, as I’ve just noted, on the Theory side of things (perspectives, methodology) although there’s a fair bit on Research Methods too. One useful feature of both guides is the creative use of tables: very useful for both teaching and revision.

4. Research Methods Revision Guide: Lucy Cluely’s guide can be downloaded from the link on her website and while it does contain some brief Notes it’s mainly designed to help students understand this section of the exam and what needs to be revised.

5. Education Research Summaries: This, as the name suggests, is a series of tables that identifies and summarises a range of studies carried-out in the area of education. More-usefully it also identifies the methods used and offers up some brief evaluation of the study.

6. Methods and Methodology: This is a useful set of Notes, put together by Mark Gill, that covers all the main Theory and Methods areas (research methodologies, research methods, science, value-freedom, social policy) in a clear and concise way. While it may be a little bit too verbose to count as a revision resource per se it will certainly prove useful as a very coherent set of course notes.

7. Research Methods is a PowerPoint Presentation covering methodology, methods and sampling, designed for revision teaching. The slides (and there are a lot of them…) identify key knowledge that can then be explained and discussed as part of the revision process. A final useful feature are 4 slides offering pointers on exam technique for Education and Methods in Context questions.

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