Category: research methods
How many teens are on antidepressants?
A recent survey found that 1/3rd of teens have been prescribed anti-depressants, but this is probably a result of sampling bias.
Bias in Presenting Quantitative Data
Newspapers can ‘bias’ the presentation of quantitative data by stretching out the scale of the data they present, making differences between bars seem larger than they actually are (or vice versa!).
Invalid Official Statistics on Volunteering?
I caught an episode of Woman’s Hour last week in which the presenter kept mentioning that according to a recent survey 62% of people in the UK had volunteered in the last week, and inviting people to discuss their experiences of voluntary work. The survey in question (excuse the pun) was the Volunteering and Charitable…
Are one in five people really disabled?
According to official statistics 19% of working aged adults, or one in five people self-report as being ‘disabled’, and this figure has been widely used in the media to promote pro-disability programming. How do we Define Disability? According to the formal, legal, UK definition under the 2010 Equality Act someone is disable if they ‘have…
Autobiographies in social research
An autobiography is an account of the life of an individual, written by that individual, sometimes with the assistance of a professional biographer. One of the most popular UK autobiographies of 2020 was Harry and Meghan’s ‘Finding Freedom’, and it is supposed to ‘dispel rumors about their relationship from both sides of the pond’. The…
Personal Documents in social research
Personal documents are those which are intended only to be viewed by oneself or intimate relations, namely friends or family. They generally (but not always) not intended to be seen by a wider public audience. For the purposes of A-level sociology, the two main types of personal document are diaries and personal letters. Today, I’m…
A-Level Sociology Official Statistics Starter (Answers)
One of the supposed advantages of official statistics is that they are quick and easy to use to find out basic information. To test this out, I use the following as a starter for my ‘official statistics’ lesson with my A-level sociology students: I print the above off as a one paged hand-out and give…
How has Coronavirus Affected Education?
The most obvious impact of the 2020 Coronavirus on education was the cancellation of GCSE and A-level exams, with the media focusing on the chaos caused by teacher predicted grades being downgraded by the exam authority’s algorithm and then the government U-turn which reinstated the original teacher predicted grades. While it’s fair to say that…
Two-stage balloon rocket as an introduction to ‘experiments’ in sociology
The two-stage balloon rocket experiment is a useful ‘alternative’ starter to introduce the topic of experiments – a topic which can be both a little dry, and which some students will find challenging, what with all the heavy concepts! Using the experiment outlined below can help by introducing students to the concepts of ‘dependent and…
This post aims to provide some examples to some of the more unusual and interesting experiments that students can explore and evaluate. I’ve already done a post on ‘seven field experiments‘, that outline seven of the most interesting classic and contemporary experiments which are relevant to various topics within the A-level sociology syllabus, in this…