Sociology

A-Level Sociology

What is Sociology?
The study of society – during the course you will study people and the institutions that make up our society. You will study society by looking at the things that influence people’s lives such as:

  • Family background
  • Religion
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Social class

Think about these questions…

  • Why do men tend to earn more money than women?
  • Why has Britain got a higher rate of teenage pregnancy than other European Countries?
  • Are we free or do we follow the crowd?
  • How does the society you live in affect your life?

AS level Sociology consists of:  

Education
The study of the topics in this paper should engage students in theoretical debate while encouraging an active involvement with the research process.

Students are expected to be familiar with sociological explanations of the following content:
the role and functions of the education system, including its relationship to the economy and to class structure differential educational achievement of social groups by social class, gender and ethnicity in contemporary society relationships and processes within schools, with particular reference to teacher/pupil relationships, pupil identities and subcultures, the hidden curriculum, and the organisation of teaching and learning the significance of educational policies, including policies of selection, marketisation and privatisation, and policies to achieve greater equality of opportunity or outcome, for an understanding of the structure, role, impact and experience of and access to education; the impact of globalisation on educational policy.

Research Methods
Students must examine the following areas:

  • quantitative and qualitative methods of research; research design
  • sources of data, including questionnaires, interviews, participant and non-participant observation, experiments, documents and official statistics
  • the distinction between primary and secondary data, and between quantitative and qualitative data
  • the relationship between positivism, interpretivism and sociological methods; the nature of ‘social facts’
  • the theoretical, practical and ethical considerations influencing choice of topic, choice of method(s) and the conduct of research.

Families and Households
Students are expected to be familiar with sociological explanations of the following content:

  • the relationship of the family to the social structure and social change, with particular reference to the economy and to state policies.
  • changing patterns of marriage, cohabitation, separation, divorce, childbearing and the life course, including the sociology of personal life, and the diversity of contemporary family and household structures
  • gender roles, domestic labour and power relationships within the family in contemporary society
  • the nature of childhood and changes in the status of children in the family and society
  • demographic trends in the United Kingdom since 1900: birth rates, death rates, family size, life expectancy, ageing population, and migration and globalisation.
AS Assessments – Two external examinations  
Paper 1: Education with Methods in Context
1 hour 30 minutes written exam
60 marks
50% of AS level
Paper 2: Research Methods and Topics in Sociology
1 hour 30 minutes written exam
60 marks
50% of AS level

A-level consists of three main elements

  • Education with Theory and Methods
  • Topics in Sociology
  • Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods.
A-level Assessments – Three external examinations
Paper 1: Education with Theory and Methods
2 hour written exam
80 marks
33.3% of A-level
Paper 2: Topics in Sociology
2 hour written exam
80 marks
33.3% of A-level
Paper 3: Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods
2 hour written exam
80 marks
33.3% of A-level