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Sociology Now: another free sociology text

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020
Click to download…

Sociology Now is an American textbook currently on its 3rd edition of which this, probably-needless-to-say-but-I-will-anyway, isn’t it. Instead we have what may or may not be the 2nd edition hailing from 2012.

I say “may or may not” because it describes itself as the “2010 Census edition”.

And while this, in the words of the late, great, Ultravox “Means Nothing To Me”, I’m guessing it probably Means Something to Someone.

In which case. You’re Welcome.

I don’t know why I haven’t given this textbook a previous write-up (although it’s always possible I have and don’t remember doing it) but it seems to be a fairly standard text that, design-wise, occupies that slightly-weird space between tradition and modernity. In other words, there’s a lot of text on the page but, for some unknown reason that page is two-columns.

One of which is white space.

And sometimes there are pictures.

And also some odd “space-age” box-outs labelled things like “MyLab” (which is either Pearson’s way of trying to sell teachers and students More Stuff by setting-up a proprietary Learning Management System (LMS) or a welcome extension of the teaching and learning experience. I’m sort-of leaning towards the latter).

These look as though they were designed by someone like me (a, shall-we-say, enthusiastic amateur) rather than a professional designer.

In fact, the whole book looks like something I’d design in Affinity Publisher. And that’s not really a recommendation (unless you’ve got far better design skills than me, in which case it’s actually a top piece of software).

Once you get past the rather primitive visuals and general design the text covers pretty much all of what you’d expect from an A-level / High School / College book (from culture and society through family and media to crime, religion and science) in an accessible and fairly even-handed way.

And while the emphasis is, quite reasonably, on American society and culture there’s still plenty here that will be useful for a European audience – particularly if you’re looking for a relatively-recent, free textbook to supplement the stuff you’re currently using.

Year 13 Sociology

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

A previous post (Year 12 Sociology) outlined a range of resources created by Stephanie Parsons to support AQA Paper 1 topics (Introduction to Sociology, Family, Education) and this post points you in the general direction of her 2nd year A-level site, Year 13 Sociology.

Lesson Plan
Year 13 Lesson Plan

The landing page has a mix of posts on a range of topics (Marxist Perspectives, prisons, green crime, cults) so it’s probably worth having a nose around to see if there’s anything relevant to your particular interests. There are also a range of Paper 1 Revision Resources available.

Aside from this, the major resources – mainly, but not exclusively, detailed lesson plan slides that include extensive Notes and Activities – cover three areas:

1. Crime and Deviance: Includes resources on:

Functionalism

Marxism

Subcultural Theory

Labelling theory

Left Realism

Right Realism

Environment (Ecological)

Class

Gender

Globalisation and crime

Media and crime

Green crime

Human Rights

Crime and Punishment

Police, Courts and Prisons

Crime Prevention

Victimology

Ethnicity

Theory and Methods / Beliefs in Society

Of Methods and Methodology: 2. Interpretivism

Saturday, February 29th, 2020

A methodology is a framework for research that focuses on how it is possible to collect reliable and valid data about, in this instance, the social world. It’s shaped by two main considerations:

1. Our beliefs about the fundamental nature of the social world (ontological concerns).

2. How we believe is possible to construct knowledge about the world (epistemology).

In turn, these ideas shape our choice of research methods when we come to actually collect data.

Basic Principles

Unlike their positivist counterparts, for interpretivists the crucial difference between the objects of study for social and natural scientists is that people have consciousness.

This is significant because this awareness of both Self and our relationship to Others gives people the ability to act; to exercise what we might loosely call free will over the choices they make about how to behave in different situations, rather than simply react to external (structural) stimulation.

People, therefore, are “inherently unpredictable” in the sense they do not necessary react in the same way to the same stimuli. Unlike a natural world governed by linear progressions – A causes B causes C – the social world is a non-linear system that makes individual behaviour difficult to predict. The best we can do is suggest a range of probabilities about what will occur in terms of people’s behaviour in the context of different situations.

A further complication here is that behaviour is not simply a condition of the Self: that is, someone choosing to do – or not to do – something. Rather, it’s also a condition of the Other. How other people define and interpret someone’s behaviour is just as – if not – more important.

Read on MacDuff…

Of Methods and Methodology: 1. Positivism

Friday, February 28th, 2020
No.1 Positivism

A methodology is a framework for research that focuses on how it is possible to collect reliable and valid data about, in this instance, the social world. It’s shaped by two main considerations:

1. Our beliefs about the fundamental nature of the social world (ontological concerns).

2. How we believe is possible to construct knowledge about the world (epistemology).

In turn, these ideas shape our choice of research methods when we come to actually collect data.

Basic Principles

As a general approach Positivism argues it’s both possible and desirable for sociologists to study social behaviour using similar methods to those used to study behaviour in the natural world – a belief we can examine by identifying some of the key ideas underpinning this approach.

1. A basic principle of this methodological approach is that social systems consist of structures that exist independently of individuals.

Institutions, such as families, education systems, governments and so forth, represent behaviour, at the macro (or very large group) level of society. As individuals we experience social structures as forces bearing down on us, pushing us to behave in certain ways and shaping our behavioural choices. An interesting example of how an institutional structure works is language.

To be part of a society we must communicate using language, both verbal (words) and non-verbal (gestures). As conscious individuals we exercise some choice over which language we speak, but our freedom of choice is actually limited for two reasons:

There’s more. Oh Yes…

New Sociology Learning Tables

Saturday, April 20th, 2019

It’s been a while since I last posted any Sociology Learning Tables / Knowledge Organisers (Psychology teachers and students have been better-served in the interim, even though I’ve still got a load more that I need to get around to posting), partly because I haven’t really been looking for any and partly because I haven’t found any.

The two could be connected

Luckily – for you and me both – TheHecticTeacher has been busy creating a whole host of new learning tables for your download pleasure in three areas:

(more…)

Sociology in Focus for A2: Beliefs in Society Resources

Thursday, March 28th, 2019
Overview map
Overview Map

Having completed the resources for the free AS Textbook it now leaves me free to focus on the last couple of resource sets for the equally-free A2 Textbook.

Having posted resources for Media, Crime and Methodology (which sounds like an interesting module but is, in reality, just three different sets of resources), the penultimate set is for Beliefs in Society – by which I mean “religion” with “a bit of Science and Ideology to lighten the tone”.

The format is exactly the same as the resources for previous modules, so if you liked them, you’ll more-than-probably like these.

And if you didn’t.
You more-than-probably won’t.

For those still with us, the resources are as follows:

An Overview Map setting-out the broad content of each of the Modules students will be covering in the Unit.

Spider Diagram for 
Theories of Religion. 
One of many.
Spider Diagram for Theories of Religion. One of many.

Revision Maps: Spider diagrams based on the content of each Module in the Textbook. These effectively map this content to a series of memorable key ideas.

Activity Answers: The Textbook includes frequent questions / activities you can use to test / consolidate learning and you might find suggested answers (approved by The Author Himself) useful.

Or not.
It depends.
Maybe.

Worksheets: The marmite of the teacher’s toolbox, these either involve a combination of individual and group-based tasks that can be used to consolidate and check learning or a complete waste of everyone’s time.

As ever.
You choose.
You Decide.
Just don’t bother me with your “well-considered and pertinent” objections.
I’m not going to be interested.
Thanks.

Exam Focus: As per, a range of question decoding / annotated answers / commentaries that may or may not bear any actual relationship to the types of questions currently being asked in AQA exams (Disclaimer: Other exam boards are available which, all things considered, just adds to the general confusion).

Anyway, the Tips Are Solid (as well they should be since they were written by a Top Examiner for a Well-Known Exam Board That Starts with an “A” and Also Ends with an “A” But Which No-One is Actually Allowed to Name. For some peculiar reason that escapes me) so they should be useful even though they are a bit dated.

Some things never change.
Although, as I’ve just said, that may not apply to exam question formats.

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:

(more…)

A-Level Revision Booklets: 1. Beliefs in Society

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

A couple of years ago I posted some A-level revision booklets / guides, one from Greenhead College on education  and three from Tudor Grange Academy (Culture and Identity, Education, Research Methods).

On the basis that you can’t have too many revision booklets (although, thinking about it, you probably can) I thought I’d post a few more I’ve somehow managed to collect, starting with three really-quite-comprehensive booklets covering Beliefs in Society (AQA), although they also cover useful stuff on Religion (OCR, Eduqas, CIE etc.).

Beliefs in Society is a comprehensive revision booklet that covers: definitions, theories, class, gender, age and ethnicity, organisations, science, ideology. It’s mainly brief notes with some relatively simple evaluation exercises.

Beliefs in Society too covers much the same ground, albeit in a less-detailed way. I’m guessing this is actually a series of teaching PowerPoints, based on the Webb et al textbook exported to pdf. I could, of course, be wrong (although admittedly I rarely am).

Religion and Ideology is by the same author (the somewhat enigmatic “Joe”) and although it suggests a focus on the “Ideology” section of the AQA Spec. it seems to interpret this brief very widely to look at theories, organisations, globalised religion, fundamentalism and a whole lot more. While it covers a lot of the same ground as the Beliefs in Society 2 booklet it generally does so in less detail. Combine the two and you’re got quite an effective set of revision (and indeed teaching) Notes.

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.

Trial: And Error Frontend

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

In response to quite literally no-one asking for it, we’ve created a Frontend – what people laughingly used to call “a Menu” – for the Research Process sim. This brings together three elements of a possible lesson (the Simulation PowerPoint, Hypothetico-Deductive PowerPoint and “Nature of Science” pdf) in one handy, easy to access, place.

Apart from the aforesaid handiness, using a Frontend looks a bit more professional and may give the not-entirely-erroneous impression that we know exactly what we’re doing when OfSted – or some over-zealous SMT-type – is In The House.

To use the Frontend all the files need to be in the same directory, but since it uses relative addressing it will work from any directory you create. Even if, for some reason known only to you and your dog, you’re in the habit of naming directories after your pets. It does happen.

A couple more things:

1. The PowerPoints run as Shows (.ppsx) which means they will work on a device that doesn’t have PowerPoint.

2. You need to have a pdf Reader – Adobe or otherwise – on your device (it doesn’t have to be in the same directory as the pdf file). Otherwise you won’t be able to open the “Nature of Science” pdf.

And that could be embarrassing.

Or maybe liberating.

One of the two.

The Sociological Detectives: Trial: And Error

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

The latest addition to the burgeoning Sociological Detectives™ Universe is a role-playing simulation of the Research Process – and Popper’s Hypothetico-Deductive Model of Scientific Research in particular – that uses the analogy of a criminal investigation to help students understand and experience how and why the research process is structured.

The simulation takes the students through a number of stages in the investigation – from identifying a problem to prosecuting the guilty party – that mirror the different stages in Popper’s Model.

The basic idea here is that the role-playing element, whereby students are faced with a range of suspects and evidence from which they have to choose one individual they believe the evidence shows is guilty, adds an interesting dimension to what can be a fairly dry and difficult-to-teach area – particularly if you don’t have the time or resources to engage in some hands-on application. (more…)

Study Strategies: The Appliance of Science

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

It’s probably fair to say students and teachers are constantly bombarded with study advice – what to do, what not to do, why you shouldn’t do what someone else has told you is absolutely essential – and it’s equally fair to say that not all of his advice is necessarily impartial or, not to put too fine a point on things, useful.

The Learning Scientists’ approach has the dual virtue of offering advice that’s free (which is nice) and backed-up by scientific evidence (the clue is in the name. Probably). Something that should be essential in this particular area but which is so often is treated as optional.

So far they’ve released 6 short (1½ – 3 minutes) videos focused on helping students develop coherent study strategies through the application of techniques that have more than just a nodding acquaintance with logic and research.

(more…)

7 Sims in 7 Days – Day 6: For My Next Trick…

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

This sim involves a bit of very gentle trickery on your part as you use your little-known ability to mind-read as a way of enlivening some of the “possibly less interesting?” aspects of research methods.

As with some of the other sims in the series this is a building-block resource; while it’s not very useful, in itself, for teaching, it’s possible to integrate it into curriculum content in a number of innovative and, I hope, interesting ways.  

The specific instructions for this version of the sim relate to research methods generally and research design specifically. The background reading that’s included, at no extra cost, relates to Popper’s Hypothetico-Deductive Model of science and you can build the sim around a range of general and / or specific research method issues (replication, variables, hypothesis construction and testing etc.) depending on your own particular needs and preferences.

For more advanced levels the sim can be used to illustrate the difference between Positivist and Realist approaches to understanding social phenomena and action. (more…)

Modernity and Sociological Theory

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016
Download Modernity Notes

This is the first part of a two-part series looking at the relationship between modernity, postmodernity and the development of sociological theory.

In Part 1 (Modernity) the focus is on:

  1. Identifying the basic economic, political and cultural characteristics of modernity
  2. Relating these characteristics to the development of Consensus and Conflict Structuralism.

Part 2 (Postmodernity) is available here.

Sociology and Modernity

“Sociology”, according to Taylor (2000), “is a product of modernity”; its origins as an academic discipline can be found in the development of modern societies and to understand why this is significant, we need to think about how and why we classify social development.

Conventionally, therefore, it’s usual to talk about our society in terms of:

  • Pre-modernity – a type of society existing before the late 16th century
  • Modernity – a type that developed out of the pre-modern period and which stretches to the late 20th century.
  • Postmodernity – a type considered by some sociologists to be characteristic of our society in the early 21st century.
  • It’s important to note that not all sociologists agree with either this term or with the claim that it represents a new form of social development. Giddens (1998) and Habermas (1992), for example, refer to this period as ‘high’ or ‘late’ modernity. We will, however, use this term throughout this set of notes.

    Although this type of simple classification needs to be treated with care – there’s a tendency to see categories as hard-and-fast periods – where one ends another begins – whereas in reality we may still, for example, find characteristics of one period coexisting for a time with characteristics of another period.

    We can, however, use this very basic classification to identify some key features of modern society that arguably differentiate it from both its pre- and postmodern counterparts. Once we’ve done this we can then examine how modernity relates to different types of sociological theorising.

    Read More…