Theory and Methods

Study Support Materials 

This unit covers:

  • Research Design and Methods (AS and A Level)
  • Sociological Perspectives (A Level)
  • Sociological Debates (A Level)

Research Methods:

  • What do Sociologists study?
  • Research Design and Considerations
  • Research Methods

This will be studied and examined in both AS and A Level as part of the Methods in Context question on Paper 1 (AS and A Level) as well as a stand alone question in Paper 2 (AS) and Paper 1 and 3 (A Level)

Sociological Perspectives:

Although you will be introduced to these at the start of year 12, you will not be examined on them explicitly in the AS exam but you maybe in the A Level exam in either paper 1 or paper 3.

In year 12 it is necessary to introduce you to these theories as they will come up in all the units that you study and will need a basis to start from.

The main theories you will discuss include:

  • Functionalism
  • Marxism / Neo Marxism
  • Feminisms
  • Interactionism
  • Social Action Theories (A Level Only)
  • Postmodernism
  • Sociology of Personal Life (Families and Households Only)

Debates in Sociology (A Level Only) 

There are 4 key debates in sociology that you could be asked about in either paper 1 or paper 3. These will bring together the content of all the units you have studied.

The debate themes include:

  1. Positivism v Interpretivism
  2. Sociology as a science
  3. Sociology and Value Freedom
  4. Sociology and Social Policy

Although there are 4 questions types, it is important to remember that you need to adapt your answer to the specific focus of the question that is set and not just pour everything you know about the topic on to the page.