Answers to the AQA’s A-level sociology (7192/2) ‘topics’ exam: families and households section A only. Just a few thoughts to put students out of their misery. (Ideas my own, not endorsed by the AQA)
I won’t produce the exact questions below, just the gist…
Q04: Outline and explain two ways in which government policies may affect family structure (10)
Simply select two policies and try to discuss their effects on as many different types of family structure as you can, without overlapping!
I would have gone for….
The 1969 Divorce act, and linked this to reconstituted families, single parent families, the negotiated family, divorce extended families… and contrasted the New Right and Postmodernism.
The 2013 Civil Partnership Act and linked this to changing gender relations, gender roles, equality and children in the family, and childless/ adopted families. I also would have applied and contrasted the New Right with Radical Feminism
I would have gone for two very basic ‘topic based’ areas to start: something about aid and improving women’s health and the knock on effects, and then something about women’s education, linked to work.
Q05: Applying materal from item C, analyse two ways in which demographic trends since 1900 may have affected the nature of childhood in the United Kingdom today.
Using the item, you need to use the following:
Life expectancy increasing and more generations of the family being alive – here you need to discuss the bean pole family, sandwhich parents, extended families maybe (and the modified extended family)
People having fewer children – probably most of your marks will come from this…. contrast march of progress with paranoid parenting/ cotton wool kids.
They DO like asking about childhood, don’t they!Q06: Evaluate Dependency theory essay
Evaluate the view that individual choice in personal relationships has made family life less important in the United Kingdom today (20)
The item basically directs you to discuss postmodern perspectives on the rise of individualisation and the decline of the family and to evaluate this.
Not an easy question, but workable…
General points you could use:
Outline the postmodern view….. Allen and Crow and Beck-Gernsheim are the two ‘extreme individualisation’ theorists – lots you could discuss here.
Maybe dramatise this with the increase in divorce, rise of single person households.
Discuss Giddens’ idea of the Pure Relationship – higher rates of family breakdown are now more likely because of this!
Discuss Beck’s idea of the Negotiated family – similar to Giddens.
Criticise PM with the Personal Life Perspective…. which finds that family life is still important, it’s just that family life has changed – people now effectively regard pets etc. as part of their families.
Criticise with the ‘criticisms’ of increased family diversity…. most people still have families, nuclear family still the most common, etc….
This is the kind of question you may have had to think about for some time.
Answers to the AQA’s A-level sociology crime with theory and methods exam, June 2018… Just a few thoughts to put students out of their misery. (Ideas my own, not endorsed by the AQA).
Please scroll down for links to other papers!
I won’t produce the exact questions below, just the gist…
Q01 – Outline two ways in which gender may influence the risk of being a victim of crime (4)
Difficulty – easy
Men and masculinity – aggressiveness, linked to higher levels male victims of street crime.
Women and domestic violence – linked to patriarchal norms, gender roles.
And then ideally explain how they differentially effect at least two ethnic groups.
Q02 – Three criticisms of the labelling theory of crime (6)
Difficulty – anywhere from easy to difficult…
If you’ve realised this is a ‘stock question’ that’s been waiting to happen for a while, easy, but if you’re not prepared…. it’s tricky to get beyond the ‘deterministic’ criticism.
If you scroll down to the bottom of my 2016 post on the labelling theory of crime, you’ll find five criticisms at the end of it!
Q03 – Analyse two reasons for social class differences in official crime statistics (10)
Difficulty – easy
The item clearly directs you to one application of labelling theory and one application of ‘underlying differences’.
Police and courts more likely to label wc/ Underclass behaviour as criminal – apply Cicourel. Contrast to white collar crime going unnoticed.
Greater motivation due to poverty (risk) and opportunity… link to left realism, opportunity structures.
Q04 Evaluate sociological contributions to our understanding of the relationship between the media and crime (30)
Difficulty – medium
Fair question, difficult/ niche topic.
The item directs you to relative deprivation and moral panics so you can apply strain theory, Marxism, and interactionism – quite easy.
Then New Media – so cyber crime maybe linked to postmodernism.
Of course, anyone whose done the media option will have an unfair advantage here. This is something of a problem, then again I can say the same about any of my students getting a question on globalisation and crime, given that they do the global development option.
Difficulty – easy
Q05 – Outline and explain two disadvantages of using laboratory experiments in sociological research (10)
Question 06: Applying material from item D, and your own knowledge, evaluate functionalist explanations of the role of the family in society (20)
This really does just appear to be a standard ‘evaluate functionalism’ essay – all you need to do is a basic intro to functionalism, then your four standard points – Murdoch, Parson’s functional fit theory, stabilisation of adult personalities and gender roles, then conclude.
The item (which I won’t reproduce here) is pretty standard – it just wants you to emphasise increasing family diversity and the fact that families may well be dysfunctional, so evaluating from mainly radical feminism, and Postmodernism and the personal life perspective…!
Not a bad half of a paper TBH.
A Level Sociology Families and Households Revision Bundle
Q01: Outline two problems of using questionnaires with closed questions in sociological research
Looks like a simple start although you will need to think a bit (it is an exam, after all!) to get beyond the ‘imposition problem’. You’ll also need to be careful to talk about just ‘closed’ questions.
I would have gone with:
Both will need expanding on, this is just a quick look!
The imposition problem – means respondents can’t express what they really feel.
Ethical issues with sensitive topics – closed questions may not allow people to express their feelings.
Q02 – Evaluate the disadvantages of using qualitative methods in sociological research
Intro – outline what they are: primary = unstructured interviews, the two types of participant observation. Secondary = LOT – public and private documents. Also mention the sacred Interpretivism vs Positivism.
Then I would do the following with linked evaluations comparing different qualitative methods:
Lack of reliability
Lack of representativeness
Overall evs – good validity
A whole host of practical problems.
Evs – some are better than others.
Generally good ethics.
Conclude – they’re a real hassle, and have terrible problems with R and R, but Intp argue it’s all worth it because of the better validity!
Possibly the easiest question in the history of AS Sociology! I won’t insult anyone by reproducing the answer here…. see this post on socialisation if you MUST double check the definition.
Q09: Using one example briefly explain how childhood might be a negative experience for some children in the UK today.
Also very easy – you could either pick up on something from toxic childhood or go via the increased control of girls/ poverty of the working classes, or just abuse?!?
Q06: Outline three reasons for the fall in the death rate in the United Kingdom since 1900
The AQA are being nice this year, aren’t they! Develop each of these points for an easy 6/6:
See this post on the decline in the death rates for how to develop each of the points. NB: you might want something more specific from within each general area!
Q11: Outline and explain two ways in which postmodernists argue that increased choice for individuals has affected patterns of family life (10)
OK so it’s about postmodernism, but it it’s quite general so you should be OK:
In terms of choice for individuals, there is more choice over:
whether or not we get married
when we leave home, IF we leave home (kidults)
whether or not we have children and when we have them
what the relationship looks like (pure relationship/ negotiated family)
sexuality and sexual identity
Any of the above, developed in terms of PATTERNS of family life – this might be family structures AND/ OR the life course…..
Actually well done the AQA, this is a good question, I likie!
Q12: Evaluate sociological views on the impact of government policies and laws on the role of the family.
The item refers to the functionalist perspective and how this suggests laws support the family, using welfare as an example.
Then it says the New Right believes policies such as the divorce act have undermined the traditional role of the family.
So…if you use the item, you’re basically being asked to focus on the extent to which welfare policies and the divorce act have undermined the ‘traditional role of the family’.
Personally I’d outline the Functionalist and New Right views, discuss the extent to which the policies mentioned in the item have undermined these functions, then focus on other social change factors and bring in postmodernism and feminism to evaluate.
I’d then generalise to other policies – civil partnerships/ maybe policies relating to childhood.
Hmm, you know what, in terms of a balanced and accessible exam paper…
1 in 3 children in the U.K. is either overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school, with those from deprived areas twice as likely to be affected.
There are some pretty obvious downsides to childhood obesity to both the individual and society – such as the increased risk of obesity related illnesses such as diabetes, and estimated annual cost to the NHS of > £billion/ year.
The government today announced a set of measures designed to halve the number of children suffering from obesity by 2030, which included
A ban on the sale of energy drinks to children.
A uniform calorie labeling system to be introduced in all restaurants, cafes and takeaways.
Shops are to banned from displaying unhealthy food at checkouts and entrances
Shops are to banned from including unhealthy food in special offers.
Primary schools would be asked to introduce an “active mile” to encourage children to be more active, including daily running sessions and an emphasis on walking and cycling to school.
The plan forms the second chapter of the government’s childhood obesity strategy. The first chapter was criticized for being too weak when it was published two years ago.
Given the increase in childhood obesity, this seems to be like a timely intervention:
Arguments for banning advertising junk food to children
There is strong evidence that children who are more exposed to advertising are more likely to eat more junk food, which is a starting point argument for banning the ads.
Even if you argue that is is the parents’ responsibility to control what their kids eat, the fact that in reality, it is simply impossible for parents to regulate every aspect of their children’s lives: kids are going to go online and be exposed to whatever’s there: better that junk food adverts are not.
This move ‘fits into’ the general movement towards more child protection. In fact, I think it’s odd that junk food manufactures have been exempt from doing harm to children (by pushing their products onto them) for so long.
Those of a liberal persuasion would probably be against even more state intervention in the lives of families, however I personally don’t see these policies as ‘intervening’ in the lives of families, they are more about forcing companies to restrain their marketing of unhealthy food to children, so personally I can’t think of any decent arguments against these government policies…… suggestions welcome in the comments!
I will be running a series of A-level sociology revision webinars from April to mid-June 2019. The focus will be on maximising marks in the three AQA sociology exams, as well as reviewing basic content across the main sociology options: education, methods, families, beliefs, crime and theories.
These Webinars will be live events, with 30-40 minutes of structured lecture/ Q n A revision supported by a PowerPoint, followed by 20 mins to deal with student questions and popular requests. Webinars will be recorded and accessible if students wish to go back over them, or if they cannot make a particular session.
The online revision sessions will be fully supported with work packs containing revision notes and activities and plenty of practice exam questions and model answers covering all of the short answer questions, the two types of 10-mark questions and the 20- and 30-mark essay questions.
I’m going to be offering access to these via a subscription through Patreon, so there will be tiered access ranging from £20 a month to £40 a month. If you subscribe to the lower tier, you get access to the revision webinars and resources (NB this is a bargain price!), if you subscribe to the higher level tiers, you get the webinars, resources AND I will provide you with feedback to any practice exam questions you do (basically I’ll mark more essays the higher up the tiers you go).
These Webinars will run on Tuesday evenings at 19.00 GMT, with the exception of the one before the families and beliefs exam, which will be on a Monday, because paper 2 is on a Tuesday!.
There will only be 20 places available* on these webinars. Subscriptions will open on March 1st 2019, but if you want to register your interest early just drop a comment below or email me and I can make sure you get a place.
(*There are more than 30 000 students who study A-level sociology , so these are actually ver rare!)
I taught sociology for 16 years between 2001-2018 until I quit recently (because I live frugally I’ve retired from full-time work early) and I’m still an AQA examiner, so I know the content of A-level sociology and the exam rules intimately. I now spend most of my ‘working time’ maintaining this blog and keeping up to date with all things sociology, A-level and exams.
Education and Theory and Methods (exam on 22nd May)
20 May 4
Education and Theory and Methods
Families and Beliefs
3 June 2
Families and Beliefs (exam on 4th June)
Crime and Deviance and Theory and methods (exam on 12th June)
A reminder of this years exam dates!
NB the above timetable is from the AQA exam board, other boards may have different times! Click here for the AQA’s A-level timetable.
Influence the content of these webinars – Requests!
What do you want covered in these Webinars? Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll use the feedback to make sure certain topics are covered…. I know what the real bogeymen of A-level sociology are (selection, the fully social theory of deviance, green crime etc.), but I also know different students struggle with different things, so if you’re thinking of ‘attending’ and want something specific covered let me know and I’ll make sure I go over it!
A Level Sociology Revision Webinars starting April 2019
I will be running a series of 12 A-level sociology revision webinars to cover the entire two year A-level sociology specification (AQA) including exam technique for the various question formats on the three AQA A-level sociology exam papers (7192/1, 7192/2 and 7193/3).
The webinars are scheduled for 19.00 every Monday (with one on a Thursday) and will run from Monday 1st of April to Monday 20th June, 2 days before the last exam (crime and deviance with theory and methods). Webinars are scheduled early so that we can get through the entire specification BEFORE the first paper (on May 22nd).
NB Registration will only be open during March and the first two weeks of April, then it will close!
Schedule (please see below for a more detailed version)
Monday 1st April – Education 1
Monday 8th April – Education 2
Monday 15th April – Families and Households 1
Monday 22nd April – Beliefs in Society
Monday 29h April – Crime and Deviance 1
Monday 6th May – Crime and Deviance 2
Monday 13th May – Research Methods
Thursday 16th May – Social Theories
Monday 20th May – Education and Theory and Methods 3 (exam on 22nd June )
Monday 27th May – Request webinar, content TBC
Monday 3rd June – Families and Beliefs 2 (exam on 4th June)
Monday 10th June – Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods 3
All of these webinars will last 45 minutes to one hour during which I will provide a brief overview of some of the content within each topic, and a discussion of at least three specific exam practice questions. Students will be able to ask questions during the Webinar, via text, and there will also be time for students to ask questions at the end.
I will be conducting the Webinars via Click Meeting, which allows students to download support materials in advance of the seminars, ask questions during the seminars via ‘chat’, and which will also allow students to review the seminar afterwards as they will be recorded and stored on the site. Recordings will be available until the 16th of June (several days after the final A-level sociology exam).
Webinar Support materials
The first eight revision Webinars are supported by a PowerPoint, revision notes and exemplar exam questions, and the education, families and methods topics (basically the first year content) have gapped revision hand-outs too, so these really are being offered at a bargain price!
NB – if you have purchased any of my revision bundles, some of these resources are the same. If you’ve already purchased one or more, please let me know and please contact me by email and I can arrange a partial (10% per bundle refund) via PayPal only.
The link will take you to a registration page for my ‘Permanent Room’ on the ClickMeeting platform. This is the room I will be running all revision Webinars from, every Monday (and one Thursday) from April 1st.
Once registered you will receive an email from ClickMeeting which will provide you with an access link which will allow you access my permanent room for March-June 2019. (NB I will only be using this at the scheduled times, as outlined in the schedule.)
Following registration I will also send you an email containing all the relevant revision resources for the 12 Webinars. These will also be downloadable during and immediately after each revision session.
Reminder emails will be sent out the day in advance of each of the 12 Webinar Revision Sessions, and also watch out for a bonus ‘introducing revision Webinars’ session on the final Monday in March, to give you an opportunity to familiarise yourself with how ClickMeeting works.
Payment is via PayPal only!
About your Tutor
I’ve taught sociology for 20 years, 16 of those in a successful sixth form college between 2002 and 2018 (10 years as Head of Department).
In 2014 I set up this blog, and managed to save enough off the back of it to quit working for the ‘man’ and now I work independently, developing non-corporate support materials to facilitate the teaching and learning of A-level sociology.
I also see myself as something of a trail-blazer in developing 16-19 online education: in 2019, we should be doing better than 20 teenagers all having to travel to a central location and then ‘sitting in a room’ for an hour or two. To my mind this all seems a bit 19th century. These Webinars are a move towards making A-level education more flexible and decentralised.