GCSE Sociology

<b>Course Overview</b> <br /><br /> GCSE Sociology <br /> Exam Board: AQA <br /> Specification: 4190

 Have  you  ever attended a wedding  and  watched the  faces of the  near  relatives, and  wondered  what  sort  of a marriage the couple  would  have what  influence the  in-laws would  have, how the housework would  be distributed, where the household would  be set up, etc?

Have  you  ever noticed  the  number of things you  do  without thinking like  wearing  the right clothes,  eating  with the right implements, or talking in a particular way, and wondered  why you feel it essential  to behave in this  way?


Have  you  ever thought about  society  as such  and  wondered why  some should be poor  and  others  rich, why  some should be considered more important than  others?


Have   you    ever   joined    in     demonstration   against    the authorities  and  felt  the  need  to  participate  actively   in  the governing  process?


If you  have answered ‘yes’ to  one  or  more of these questions, you  are going  to enjoy  learning about  the  various institutions that   make   up   society,   how   they   function  and   how   they influence  your   life.   You  will find   it  interesting to  see  how different  ‘classical’ thinkers have held different views about society  and  how  there  are different ways in  which society  can be studied.


This  Introduction  includes all  the  information that  you  need before  you  really  start studying in  earnest.  It includes details of the  syllabuses that  you may  be tackling and  advice on how to work  with this  course.


 Study Technique



There is no single study technique that  is right for this  course. Indeed,  there  are as many  different ways of studying as there are learners. So you  will  have  to find  the  methods which are right for  you  in  your   own  personal situation.  However,  the following  tips   represent  some   of  the   best   advice   for   the majority of ‘open’  learners.


Discipline  is  undoubtedly  the   key.   You  must  set  aside  a specific  period  each day or definite times  each week and  stick to  it!  Don’t  let  yourself make excuses for  not getting down to work.  Set yourself definite targets   not  just  the  date of your examination, but  the  date when  you  are going to submit your first assignment, and  so on.  Break  your study up  into  small

‘bite-sized’ pieces.



Don’t  just skip over  the bits that don’t make sense to you. In a subject like  Sociology,  all the topics  are closely linked together and if you  don’t understand  part of one  lesson, it  is  going to affect your  ability to study other  lessons as well. So go over the difficult section  until it begins  to  make  sense.  If  the  lesson materials are not  clear to you,  look  at the way the same ideas are covered in  your supplementary reading. If you’re still  not sure,  it should be possible  for  you  to  contact your  tutor (by phone or post). Don’t  be  shy about doing that!


Don’t  underestimate the amount of study that is  need to  gain the top grades.  Simply memorising all the ideas in the lessons may  not  be enough.  You  should be studying even when  you are not studying! Television, radio,  newspapers and magazines give you  a picture of how  the  world  around you  is  changing and provide  you with  valuable up-to-date examples.  So keep a look-out for  programmes or articles which might be useful to your  studies. Study  the  behaviour of those  around you.  What are  the  rules  of  conduct within your  own  family? Or  within your   place  of  work   or  education?  Why  and   how  do  these patterns change? If you already  have an enquiring and critical mind, you are well placed.


Study  the  syllabus.  This  will  tell  you  not  just  what  you  need to study but  what  the  underlying objectives  are, why  you  are studying these things. A brief  analysis of the  syllabus is given below  but  we strongly advise  you  to get hold  of the  complete syllabus and  work  out  which parts  of the course  will  help  you with which sections  of  the  syllabus, and  so on.  Get  hold  of practice examination  papers  as  well,  if you  can.  These  will show  you  what  sort  of  questions you  are  likely to  face  and what  sort of skills you will  need to demonstrate.


Make  full  use of your  tutor. He or  she is paid  to  help  you, after  all! Take advantage  of any opportunities for tutorials and other practical help.  Make  sure  you  submit all  your   Tutor- marked Assignments for  marking. Your  tutor will  spend  quite a bit  of time  on  the  marking so you  should take  full  note  of whatever  comments you  get. The comments are usually more important than  the  marks because  they  are designed  to show you ways that  you can improve.


Make  notes.  There are any number of ways of doing  this  and you will  have to find  the one that  is best for you. Making notes is a way of getting  things clear in your  own mind. It helps  you to remember the  ideas  and  when  you  come  to  revision you should find  that  you  have written down  an effective  summary of the key ideas. Never assume  that  you are going to remember something just because you  have read it.  Most people’s memories  are not as good as that!


Do all the  tests.  Just  because you think you understand something, you  should not  skip  over the  tests.  They are there to reinforce the ideas and plant them  firmly in you memory. A fuller description of the  assessment  structure of the  course  is given below.




Course Reading Material and other Resources



All  of the  vital  material you  need for  this  course  is contained within  the   22   lessons.   However,   you   will   find   that   your knowledge of the study of society is considerably broadened by carrying out some additional reading.


One text may cover your  supplementary reading. It is:



Pauline   Wilson:   Collins   Revision   GCSE  Sociology  for  AQA

(Collins, 2010),  (ISBN-13: 978-0007350599)



Although it is  not  compulsory, we  strongly  recommend that you buy  or borrow this publication since it will  amplify all the topics  that  we cover.  It would  certainly help  you  during your revision process.  Working through some of the  questions will help   you   prepare   for   your   examination.  There   is  also  an answer  book available.

Another text which would  be very helpful indeed is this  one: Pauline  Wilson  & Allan Kidd:  Sociology GCSE for AQA (Collins;

ISBN: 978-0007310708)



You  will   also  find   these   books   to  be  valuable  sources   of information:


Jonathan Blundell: Active Sociology for GCSE (Longman) Ken Browne:  An Introduction to Sociology (Polity)

M. Haralambos & F.K.E.  Smith: Sociology: a New Approach



One  easy  way  to  buy  supporting texts  is  through the  OOL website  (  But,  as  indicated above,  it is  vital that  you should also pay close attention to the world  that  you live in and cast a critical eye on what  you see. Newspapers, magazines,  television and radio  all offer valuable up-to-date materials. Of course,  some programmes and  publications are better  than   others, so look  out  for  the  ones  which focus  on society today.  Some newspapers carry  special sections  which discuss  sociological questions in clear,  everyday terms.  The Guardian has  a ‘Society’  supplement  once a week, while the Sunday Times  sometimes includes a supplement called ‘New Society’. Both of these are well worth studying.


These are your ‘secondary’ resources  and  you   will  find   that they will  serve a number of purposes. You will  see that  some if not  most  of the questions in your  examination will  require you to   respond  to   ‘stimulus’  materials   o various  kinds.  This means you must learn  not to accept everything at face value.


Whenever  you  listen  to  a programme or  read  an  article, you should  try   to  work   out   the  point  of  view  of  the  writer  or speaker behind it.  What is  that persons perspective? Is  it  fair and  unbiased? Is  there another way  of  looking at  the  same data  or information? The more  critical you  become the  better you  will   do.  Try  to  relate   what   you  hear  and  read  to  the concepts  and  topics   that   you  are  studying so  that   you  find concrete  examples  for abstract ideas.



The Arrangement of Lessons



1.  What is Sociology? (1)



2. What is Sociology? (2)



3. The Family (1)



4. The Family (2)



Tutor-marked Assignment A



5. Education (1)



6. Education (2)



7. Stratification (1)



8. Stratification (2)



Tutor-marked Assignment B



9. The Welfare State



10. Poverty (1)



11. Poverty (2)



Tutor-marked  Assignment C



12. Politics  (1)



13. Politics  (2)



14. Work



15. Unemployment



Tutor-marked Assignment D



16. Population (1)



17. Population (2)



18. Urbanisation


Tutor-marked Assignment  E


19.  Social Control



20.  Deviance



Tutor-marked Assignment  F



21.  How does the Mass Media influence us?



22.  The  Power of the Media



Tutor-marked Assignment G

Tutor-marked Assignment H (Practice Examination)

Supplement: Project Work



You  will  see  from this that most of the key  topics are divided between two  lessons. Often the first provides a general introduction while the second looks at the situation in  Britain today.



Self-Assessment Tests and Activities



The  self-assessment tests are a crucial element in  the course. You  will  find  a number of these in  every lesson. Usually, they consist of quite straightforward questions which test your memory and understanding of the material that you  have just worked through.  Often they will  consist of one-word answers. But do  not just skip over  them. Check in  the answers at the end of the lesson that you  have got  them right and, if you  have not,  it   is   a  sure  sign that  you   should  go   back  over   the preceding section until the point is clear.


The    self-assessment  tests  are  also  designed as  a  useful revision aid. They  are clearly ruled off from  the main body of the lesson so  when you  come to  a tutor-marked assignment or to your examination, you  can go back over  the self-assessment tests at a rapid pace. This will tell  you  what has stayed in  your memory and  what has  drifted away. Keep   going  over   these tests until you  can get  them all  right because between them they contain just about all  the essential ideas that  you   will need for your examination.


Some of the lessons also include ‘Activities’  sections. These are like   the  self-assessment tests  except that  they do   not  ask specific questions and there are no  answers provided. They  are designed  to open out your  thinking and  to get you  to observe what   is  going  on  around you.  Sometimes   they  will   suggest something practical that   you  can  do,  a little bit  of  research that  would  be useful. It is important that  you  do not  neglect these hints and suggestions.


Finally, from  time  to time,  you  will  find  exercises  to complete. These  generally   require you  to  look  carefully at  parts  of  the text.  This  will  help  to develop your  analytical skills as well  as drawing your  attention to  important information. Spend  time on doing  these  exercises  as carefully as possible  as the  skills you  develop  are  directly relevant to  your  examination. Suggested answers  are provided at the end of each lesson.



The Choice of Syllabus



All the GCSE Sociology syllabuses are similar because they are devised according to  a set of “national criteria” laid  down  for all  the  boards   to  follow.   So  this   course  will   be  satisfactory whatever  GCSE syllabus you attempt.


But  the course  focuses  on the requirements of one syllabus in particular syllabus 4190  set by the Assessment  and Qualifications Alliance (AQA). This syllabus (or  ‘specification’) is  subject to  change  from  year  to  year  so be sure  to  keep  a copy    of    the    specification   that     applies    to    the    correct examination year for you.



The AQA Examination



Within the 4190  specification, there are two choices for exams, as follows:



Sociology (Short Course) 4191



Unit  1: Studying Society; Education; Families  (41901) Written Paper 1 hour  30 mins                                                 90 marks 100% Candidates answer  all questions in all three sections.



Sociology (Full Course) 4192


Unit  1: Studying Society; Education; Families  (41901) Written Paper 1 hour  30 mins            90 marks 50% Candidates answer  all questions in all three sections.