Sociology at AS/A2
Introduction to A-Level Sociology
We aim to adopt a variety of teaching strategies throughout the course. Discussion work is an important feature of lesson time and one of the aims of the course is to encourage you to express your views and interpretations of the issues orally and in written work.
The course follows the AQA specifications – for a full guide click here for link to AQA
Candidates will be enabled to:
- acquire knowledge and a critical understanding of contemporary social processes and structures
- appreciate the significance of theoretical and conceptual issues in sociological debate
- understand sociological methodology and a range of research methods
- reflect on their own experience of the social world in which they live
- develop skills which enhance their ability to participate more effectively in adult life
Two themes will run through the course:
- Socialisation, culture and identity;
- Social differentiation, power and stratification
At AS level students will study 2 units:
- Families and Households
- Education with Research Methods
At A2 level students will study another 2 units:
- Beliefs in Society
- Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods
- Crime and Deviance (3-part synoptic question)
[ Back to Top ]
AS-Level Sociology (Year 1)
Unit 1 SCLY1 Families and Households – 40% of AS level, 20% of A level.
- 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, child-bearing and the lifecourse, and the diversity of contemporary family and household structures.
- The nature and extent of changes within the family, with reference to gender roles, domestic labour and power relationships.
- The nature of childhood, and changes in the status of children in the family and society.
- Demographic trends in the UK since 1900; reasons for changes in birth rates, death rates and family size.
This is assessed with a 1 hour written paper (60 marks), in January.
Unit 2 SCLY2– Education with Research Methods - 60% of AS, 30% of A Level
- The role and purpose of education, including vocational education and training, in contemporary society.
- 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 subcultures, the hidden curriculum, and the organisation of teaching and learning.
- The significance of educational policies, including selection, comprehensivisation and marketisation, for an understanding of the structure, role, impact and experience of education.
- The application of sociological research
- Quantitative and qualitative methods of research; their strengths and limitations; research design.
- Sources of data, including questionnaires, interviews, participant and non-participant observation, experiments, documents, and official statistics; the strengths and limitations of these sources.
- 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.
This is assessed with a 2 hour written paper (90 marks) in June. Candidates answer one question on education, one question on sociological research methods in context and one question on research methods.
[ Back to Top ]
A2-Level Sociology (Year 2)
Unit 3 – SCLY3 Beliefs in Society - 20% of A Level.
- Different theories of ideology, science and religion, including both Christian and non-Christian religious traditions.
- The relationship between religious beliefs and social change and stability.
- Religious organisations, including cults, sects, denominations, churches and New Age movements, and their relationship to religious and spiritual belief and practice.
- The relationship between different social groups and religious/spiritual organisations and movements, beliefs and practices.
- The significance of religion and religiosity in the contemporary world, including the nature and extent of secularisation in a global context.
This is assessed with a 1 hour 30 minutes written paper (60 marks) in January. Candidates answer one compulsory question and one question from a choice of two.
Unit 4 – SCLY4 Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods - 30% of A Level
Crime and Deviance
- Different theories of crime, deviance, social order and social control.
- The social distribution of crime and deviance by age, ethnicity, gender, locality and social class,including recent patterns and trends in crime.
- Globalisation and crime in contemporary society; the mass media and crime; green crime; human rights and state crimes
- Crime control, prevention and punishment, victims, and the role of the criminal justice system and other agencies.
- The sociological study of suicide and its theoretical and methodological implications.
- The connections between sociological theory and methods and the study of crime and deviance.
Theory and Methods
In addition to the research methods taught at AS level, A2 candidates should also:
- Demonstrate a wider range and greater depth of knowledge and understanding than at AS Level.
- Study the nature of sociological thought and methods of sociological enquiry in greater range and depth, and demonstrate more highly developed skills of application, analysis, interpretation and evaluation than at AS Level.
Furthermore, A2 candidates should examine:
- Consensus, conflict, structural and social action theories.
- The concepts of modernity and post-modernity in relation to sociological theory.
- The nature of science and the extent to which sociology can be regarded as scientific.
- The relationship between theory and methods.
- Debates about subjectivity, objectivity and value freedom.
- The relationship between sociology and social policy.
This is assessed with a 2 hour written paper (90 marks) in June. Candidates answer one question on crime and deviance, one question on sociological research methods in context and one question on theory and methods.
[ Back to Top ]