Sociology Revision Guide

Topics: Sociology, Family, Poverty Pages: 57 (5565 words) Published: February 12, 2015
A-Level Sociology
Revision notes 2014

Contents
Introduction ........................................................................................................................................... 2 Family Ideology................................................................................................................................... 11 Origins of State Education ................................................................................................................. 21 The Role of Religion ........................................................................................................................... 34 Poverty ................................................................................................................................................. 40 Introduction to Deviance ................................................................................................................... 44 Political Power ..................................................................................................................................... 51

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1

Introduction
This Revision Summary applies to all of the Theory topics...

Basic Concepts in Science and Theory
Can You?
Explain positivism, realism and interpretivism.
Explain the Determinism/Free Will argument.
Explain the Nature/Nurture problem.
Give a brief description of System theory and Action theory. Give an account of alternatives to the traditional theory/method relationship. Give an account of the traditional view of scientific procedure and the sequencing of research. Explain why the traditional account is flawed.

Explain falsification.
Explain Kuhn's concepts of paradigm, normal and revolutionary science. Give an account of Merton's idea of the scientific ethos, and its faults. List problems that would face any sociologist wishing to use traditional scientific methods. Explain how science has itself moved on from certainties to probabilities.

Methods
Can You?



Reliability.



Validity.



Representative.



Imposition.

Participant Observation
Can You?
List the major advantages of P.O. as a research method.

2

List the major disadvantages of the method.
Describe the advantages and disadvantages of both overt and covert P.O. Explain why P.O. is viewed by some sociologists as 'unscientific'.

Experiments
Can You?
Explain the 'Method of Difference'.
Correctly use the terms: control, dependent/independent variable, Hawthorne effect. Explain why it is difficult/unethical to experiment on humans. Explain the logic of the 'field/what if experiment'.

Give examples of experiments in the social sciences.

Sampling
Can You?
Explain the terms, sampling frame, sample, and representative. List and explain the various types of sampling.
Describe the sources of error in sampling.

Values
Can You?
Explain what is meant by value-freedom.
Explain why value freedom is valued.
Explain why value-freedom is impossible to attain but worth attempting. Give examples of sociologists who support the concept of value-freedom and of those who reject it. Distinguish between bias, prejudice and point of view.

Key terms:
Ontology

The nature of Reality.

3

Epistemology

What is knowledge, objective fact, and subjective opinion.

Positivism

The method of science.

Empiricism

Knowledge gained by direct sense experience.

Determinism

The idea that our behaviour is 'caused' by some external force....
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