My pared down mark scheme for the methods in context question in the previous post, which is adapted from the AQA’s own mark scheme, just put into easier language:
Applying material from Item B and your knowledge of research methods, evaluate the strengths and limitations of using covert participant observation to investigate pupils with behavioural difficulties (20)
If work your guts off you could get here!
|Knowledge of the strengths and limitations of covert participant observation will be accurate and conceptually detailed.
Application will be very focussed on the specific topic. Students will consider at least two of the following in relation to the specific issue (pupils with behavioural difficulties)
1. Who you might be researching (e.g. pupils, peer groups, parents, teachers, support staff).
2. Where you might be doing the research (e.g. classrooms, staffrooms, pupils’ homes).
3. The sensitivity of researching pupils with behavioural difficulties (e.g. vulnerability, stigmatisation, parental consent, school reputation).
Evaluation of the usefulness of covert participant observation will be explicit and relevant. Analysis will show clear explanation and may draw appropriate conclusions.
Students will typically apply 4/5 of the following strengths and limitations of covert Participant Observation to the above issue:
1. Practical issues in the research process: Access (getting in, staying in, getting out), data recording, time/ cost
2. Ethical issues – e.g. sensitivity, informed consent
3. Issues of validity: qualitative data/ verstehen/insight, flexibility
4. Interpretation and analysis problems
5. Small sample size/ unrepresentativeness
You should aim to be here!
|1. Knowledge of the strengths and limitations of covert participant observation will be accurate, broad and deep, but incomplete.
2. Application of knowledge to the topic (students with behavioural difficulties) will be more generalised or more restricted way, for example:
• applying the method to the study of education in general, not to the specifics of studying pupils with behavioural difficulties, or
• specific but undeveloped application to pupils with behavioural difficulties, or
• a focus on the research characteristics of pupils with behavioural difficulties, or groups/contexts etc. involved in it.
3. Evaluation and analysis are likely to be explicit but limited
It’s reasonable but not desirable to be here
|1. Knowledge of the strengths and/or limitations of covert participant observation will be accurate but with limited breadth and depth
2. Application of the method will be limited to education in general, rather than the specific topic
3. Evaluation and Analysis will be limited, with answers tending towards the descriptive.
No one should be here!
|1. Knowledge of covert participant observation will be limited and undeveloped – e.g. two to three insubstantial points about some features of covert participant observation.
2. Application to the topic will be very limited and at a tangent to the demands of the question, e.g. perhaps drifting into an unfocused comparison of different methods.
3. Minimal/no evaluation.
You defo shouldn’t be here!
|Answers in this band will show very limited knowledge, eg one to two very insubstantial points about methods in general. Very little/no understanding of the question and of the presented material.
Significant errors, omissions, and/or incoherence in application of material.
Some material ineffectually recycled from the Item, or some knowledge applied solely to the substantive issue of pupils with behavioural difficulties, with very little or no reference to covert participant observation.