Year 11 Sociology Enrichment Activities
The following programme is designed to prepare you for A level Sociology for the following topics:
- Families and Households
- The Media
- Crime and Deviance
- Sociological Theory and Research Methods
It would be really useful to complete all sections of the programme to ensure that you have a thorough understanding of the background for all topics. It is suggested that you complete a task each week. However you can choose to do them in any order. Suggested website links are included. Towards the end of the document there are also some relevant online courses you can complete via Futurelearn.com who have collated a range of academic courses run by different universities around the country. Take a look at this poster outlining different movies, books and TV programmes that will enrich your sociological learning.
Task 1 – Society
The social world is changing. Some argue it is growing, others say it is shrinking. The important point to grasp is: society does not remain static over time, it constantly changes – through decades, centuries, and across countries, societies. Answer the following questions:
- Give 3 different ways society has changed over the last 100 years – think about the different areas of social life and work.
- Why has society changed? Why are societies different?
- Research the 3 main political parties – Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat. What are their main ideas? How are they different?
- If you were in power, what would your first 4 items be on your agenda? What would you hope to do?
Task 2 – What is Sociology?
Watch the What is Sociology? Crash Course Sociology video clip on YouTube. Make notes on what you understand about sociology.
Find the definitions for the following key sociological terms: Socialisation (primary socialisation and secondary socialisation); Norms; Values; Beliefs; Culture; Social Class; Gender; Ethnicity.
Task 3 – Main Sociological Theories
A theory, for our purpose, is something that explains the relationship between two or more things. A perspective can be defined as a way of looking at and seeing something. To have a perspective, therefore, means to look at something (whatever that thing might be) in a particular way. When we talk about the sociological perspective, therefore, we are talking about the particular way those sociologists, as opposed to non-sociologists to try to understand human social behaviour.
Use the internet to find out about the main sociological theories. For each one explain the main idea and concepts and the key sociologists: Functionalism; Marxism; Feminism; Action Theories; Postmodernism. Which sociological perspective do you agree with? Why?
The YouTube channels below are good for summaries of the main theories:
Task 4 – Education
Research the history of education in the UK and answer the following questions:
- When did education become compulsory in the UK?
- Prior to compulsory education, what were the differences in who used to receive schooling?
- What are the oldest and newest subjects?
- How have the methods of dealing with behaviour changed over time?
- What are some of the major changes that have taken place in UK education in the 20th and 21st centuries?
- Consider the impact of the following policies: Education Act 1944 (Tripartite System), Comprehensives 1966, Education Reform Act 1988.
- Your personal view on – what is the role and purpose of education?
Task 5 – Family
Find the definitions for the following key family terms: Monogamy; Bigamy; Polygamy; Maternal; Nuclear family; Empty nest; Empty shell marriage; Extended family; Kinship; Cohabitation.
Research the changing family in the UK and answer the following questions:
- How has the family structure changed over the past 100 years?
- How have the following policies affected the family?
- The Divorce Act 1969 and 1984
- The Paternity Act 2010
- The Civil partnerships Act 2004 and the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2013
Task 6 – Sociology in the media
Sociology is everywhere so you’ll be able to see aspects of it in all forms of media. Try searching for the following titles and make notes on any videos you watch. Try to keep it relevant to the topics taught in Sociology (Education, Families, Global Development, Crime and Deviance).
- What did you learn about society?
- How does the programme link to the topics you will be studying?
Stacey Dooley documentaries (BBC iPlayer/YouTube), Black Mirror (Netflix) – Nosedive episode, School Swap documentary (4OD), Louis Theroux documentaries (Netflix) Dispatches documentaries (40D), Panorama documentaries (BBC iPlayer).
Task 7 – Education and Families in the news
Find the definition of meritocracy.
Read this news article and answer the following questions:
- Does this article suggest we live in a meritocracy?
- Why is it important that ‘poor’ students go to university?
- Find 5 news articles that link to Education and/or Families. Download and print if you can. Some things to look out for are: immigration, poverty, benefits, exam results, private education, achievement, free schools.
Task 8 – Globalisation
- What is globalisation?
- How has it occurred?
- What is the debate between globalisation and Westernisation/ Americanisation?
- Research different experiences of childhood across the world and give reasons for why society may or may not be more ‘child-centred’.
Task 9 – Crime
Using the internet, research the answers to the following questions:
- What is a crime?
- What is deviance?
- What are laws?
- What is a white collar crime?
- Moral crimes include offences such as prostitution, underage drinking and illegal drug use. Why do some people argue that such crimes are ‘victimless’?
- What is cybercrime? Name some examples of cybercrimes.
- What is a hate crime?
- What do you think is more effective in reducing crime: crime prevention or harsher punishments?
Have a look on this crime statistics website and research crime in your area or the area near your school. Then answer the following questions:
- Where does most crime take place?
- What are the top 3 crimes/offences?
- Why do you think that those crimes are committed in your area? Think about socio-economic issues and location.
Task 10 – Research Methods: Questionnaires
In sociology, data on society is collected in different ways. You are going to conduct your own sociological survey and collect data on an aspect of society that particularly interests you (for example, why do people leave school for college? Why do people go travelling? Why do people drink underage? How have people coped with isolation during the Coronavirus pandemic?).
You must design a questionnaire with between 6-8 questions on your given area. You will need to break your topic up into smaller questions.
- What is your age?
- Did you go travelling because… (pick one)
- You didn’t want a job
- You had family abroad
- You wanted an adventure
- Where did you go travelling?
- Would you go travelling again? Yes/No
You will need to carry out your questionnaire on a range of different people. Aim to ask 5 people the same questionnaire (via telephone is acceptable).
Presenting your questionnaire findings
You will need to present your findings from the questionnaire in either in a graph or a pie chart and explain what you have found.
Task 11 – Research Methods: Interviews
You must design a set of interview questions (between 6-8) on the same area as your questionnaire. (You can use the same questions or pick new ones, this is up to you). For example:
- Please give me 2 reasons why you decided to go travelling?
- Did you travel alone? Why?
- Would you go travelling again?
This time ask different people from those who completed your questionnaire. Aim to carry out your interview on at least 3 people.
Presenting your interview findings
You will need to draw conclusions from your interviews and explain what you have found.
Task 12 – Research Methods: Evaluating methods
Answer the following essay question:
What are the positives and negatives of using questionnaires and interviews when collecting data?
You will need to explain both the positives and negatives of using both questionnaires and interviews. You must also explain any difficulties you had and why, and come to an overall conclusion of which method worked best for you. You should write at least 750 words.
Online courses & resources:
Other sources of information/ways to develop you sociological understanding of local, regional, national and global issues: BBC News, ‘Thinking allowed’ Radio 4 podcast, Twitter #sociology, Panorama. Read a range of different newspapers online (Guardian, Independent, Daily Mail, Huffington Post). Keep an eye on social media. Listen to The Sociology Show Podcast
- Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh
- Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour by Kate Fox
- Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class by Owen Jones
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding
- We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie