Posts Tagged ‘sampling’

Longitudinal Studies: Animated Explanations

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

Although longitudinal studies, such as Wikstrom’s PADS (“Peterborough Adolescent Development Study”: 2002 – 2010) research – designed to understand how families, schools and communities shape young people’s social development – are a well-established and hugely-valuable source of comparative data, teaching them as part of an a-level Sociology research methods course can be a little, shall we say, dry?

To make things a little more interesting, therefore, you might want to have a look at this series of five, short (around 1 minute each), animated films designed to provide an easy introduction to the joys of longitudinal research.

Overview: This Introduction to longitudinal studies is probably a good place to start, both because it’s basically the beginning and it outlines what they are, what they do and how they can be used. In this respect, the animation introduces three basic ideas:

• different types of longitudinal study (such as cohort studies and household panel studies).
• how data is collected.
• how studies can be used (specifically in relation to social policy).

Subsequent films pick-up and develop these general ideas in terms of:

design – with a focus on sampling.

types of longitudinal study.

data collection tools.

How longitudinal data is used for research.

Throw-in a few limitations of longitudinal studies –

• Time: the PADS study, for example, was carried-out over a 10-year period.

• Cost and management: Wikstrom’s study involved managing a diverse group of around 30 student investigators and academic collaborators.

• Attrition rates – over a long period of time people may gradually leave the study.

• Sample degradation: although you may begin with a representative sample this may degrade over time as and when people leave. This may gradually erode the study’s representativeness.

– and you’ve got the basis for a complete longitudinal lesson.

Don’t thank me.

Someone’s got to do it.


ASPIRES 2 is a contemporary example of a longitudinal study designed to “study young people’s science and career aspirations”.

It’s of interest sociologically because a major objective has been to “understand the changing influences of the family, school, careers education and social identities and inequalities on young people’s science and career aspirations.”

Sociology Revision Booklets: 2. Theory and Methods

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

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:


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 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
Positivism and Interpretivism 1 (Georgia Banton)
Positivism and Interpretivism 2 (Georgia Banton)
Factors influencing choice of method (Isaac Carter-Bown)
Value-Freedom (S Dale)

Conducting Psychological Research

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

This is a free chapter, from an unpublished textbook by Shelia Kennison of Oklahoma State University, that you can either read online or download as a pdf document.

The chapter covers a range of ideas and issues focused on the research process:

• different research methodologies
• causality
• experimentation
• representative sampling
• reliability and validity
• Type I and Type II errors
• ethics

The text also includes a couple of pages of “key terms” plus a set of questions based on the text designed to assess student understanding.

While it’s not exactly ground-breaking in terms of content and design it seems solid enough for A-level / AP Psychology.

8 | The Research Process: Part 1

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

While Research Methods at a-level aren’t everyone’s cup of tea they can be interesting if students are given the time and space to bring together the theory with the practice. Unfortunately I can’t help you here with the practice (although I can give you a few pointers about how to carry-out a range of cheap ’n’ cheerful activities), but I can help with the theory.

This chapter kicks things off by looking at the idea of research design – from choosing a problem to research, through developing a testable hypothesis or research question, to data collection and analysis. Along the way the chapter takes in a range of research-centred ideas students will have to understand if they are to make the most of methods:

• Research respondents
• Types of representative sampling
• Types of non-representative sampling
• Pilot studies
• Concept operationalisation
• Reliability and validity
• Primary and secondary data
• Quantitative and qualitative data and methods
• Ethics

NotAFactsheet: Sampling

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

If there was a competition for the least-loved part of the Sociology Specification it’s a fair bet that sampling would be somewhere off in the far distance, casually looking over its shoulder and taunting its competitors as it limped home in first place.

Loathe it or loathe it, however, you just can’t ignore sampling when it comes to revision – although, of course, that’s not quite true (quick translation: false). You can quite happily, if a little wantonly, ignore it in the probably-misplaced belief that the examiner doesn’t despise you enough to include a question on sampling in the exam. For what it’s worth*, it’s a distinct possibility they do, but don’t be upset by this. It’s nothing personal. Just part of the job description I think. 

So, on the off-chance this little preamble has convinced you it might be a Good Idea to give sampling at least a quick glance, I’ve hand-crafted three NotAFactsheets that are guaranteed to have you singing into the exam**: 


Surveys and Sampling

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

I’m not quite sure why but this blog has developed a bit of a research methods vibe over the past couple of weeks (I say “vibe” because it sounds so much less sinister than “obsession”) and this post continues the theme with a site I chanced across while searching for some sampling-related pictures (I know, it’s just one long fun parade working at shortcutstv.com).

It’s a bit of an oddity because although it’s a maths / statistics site there are a couple of areas on surveys and sampling that should be useful for both sociology and psychology teachers / students. These are illustrated by a mix of text, simple graphics and a couple of bits of optional video.

When all’s-said-and-done, however, it’s basically a pen-and-paper site, so if you don’t want your students sloping off to explore things like “binominals” (which sounded vaguely interesting but turned out not to be) you could easily copy the bits you wanted your students to cover, although it’s probably not worth the effort.

Since it’s a site aimed at American college students the examples it uses are rooted in American culture (school mascots!) and history but there’s nothing here that’s too alien to a British audience (and you can always substitute your own culturally-specific examples if necessary).

The two areas most-useful for sociology / psychology students are probably:


A-Level Psychology Revision Films

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

With the exam season nearly upon us, the thoughts of students and teachers inexorably turn once more to the annual ritual known as revision.

And if you want to try something a bit different – whether you’re a teacher looking to introduce a range of revision topics or a student looking for something visual to break-up the textbook slog – we have a range of on-demand revision films at a very reasonable price to help.

Our On-demand service gives you access to our short, sharp and tightly-focused films specifically designed for A-level Psychology – each with the emphasis on key exam knowledge, interpretation and evaluation.

Our rental service gives you the opportunity to watch:

  • When you want – any number of times over a 48-hour period for a single payment.
  • Where you want – on your mobile, tablet or desktop.


To get you started, here’s 4 films you can watch for free:


If you want to see more, free previews are available for each of the following: 


Behind the Statistics DVD

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Now available on DVD, the third in a trilogy of related psychology research methods films (the first and second look at Experimental and Non-Experimental Research Methods respectively) examines how statistical data are collected, compared and explained through an examination of three key issues in this process: