A-Level Sociology (AQA) Revision Notes


Revision guide for AQA A-Level (7192) and AS-Level Sociology (7191), including staightforward study notes, independent study booklets, and past paper questions and answers. Fully updated for the summer 2021 term.

Download Past Paper Questions With Answers
  • Paper 1: Education with Methods in Context

Education

  • the role and functions of the education system, including its relationship to the economy and to class structure
  • differential educational achievement of social groups by social class, gender and ethnicity in contemporary society
  • relationships and processes within schools, with particular reference to teacher/pupil relationships, pupil identities and subcultures, the hidden curriculum, and the organisation of teaching and learning
  • the significance of educational policies, including policies of selection, marketisation and privatisation, and policies to achieve greater equality of opportunity or outcome, for an understanding of the structure, role, impact and experience of and access to education; the impact of globalisation on educational policy.

Methods in Context

  • Students must be able to apply sociological research methods to the study of education.
  • Paper 2: Research Methods and Topics in Sociology

  • Research Methods
  • Topic 2: Families and Households
  • Topic 5: Beliefs in Society
  • Topic 6: Global Development
  • Research Methods

    • quantitative and qualitative methods of research; research design
    • sources of data, including questionnaires, interviews, participant and non-participant observation, experiments, documents and official statistics
    • the distinction between primary and secondary data, and between quantitative and qualitative data
    • the relationship between positivism, interpretivism and sociological methods; the nature of ‘social facts’
    • the theoretical, practical and ethical considerations influencing choice of topic, choice of method(s) and the conduct of research

    Topic 2: Families and Households

    • the relationship of the family to the social structure and social change, with particular reference to the economy and to state policies
    • changing patterns of marriage, cohabitation, separation, divorce, childbearing and the life course, including the sociology of personal life, and the diversity of contemporary family and household structures
    • gender roles, domestic labour and power relationships within the family in contemporary society
    • the nature of childhood, and changes in the status of children in the family and society
    • demographic trends in the United Kingdom since 1900: birth rates, death rates, family size, life expectancy, ageing population, and migration and globalisation

    Topic 5: Beliefs in Society

    • ideology, science and religion, including both Christian and non-Christian religious traditions
    • the relationship between social change and social stability, and religious beliefs, practices and organisations
    • religious organisations, including cults, sects, denominations, churches and New Age movements, and their relationship to religious and spiritual belief and practice
    • the relationship between different social groups and religious/spiritual organisations and movements, beliefs and practices
    • the significance of religion and religiosity in the contemporary world, including the nature and extent of secularisation in a global context, and globalisation and the spread of religions

    Topic 6: Global Development

    • development, underdevelopment and global inequality
    • globalisation and its influence on the cultural, political and economic relationships between societies
    • the role of transnational corporations, non-governmental organisations and international agencies in local and global strategies for development
    • development in relation to aid and trade, industrialisation, urbanisation, the environment, and war and conflict
    • employment, education, health, demographic change and gender as aspects of development
  • Paper 3: Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods

  • Paper 3: Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods

  • Crime and Deviance
  • Theory and Methods
  • Crime and Deviance

    • crime, deviance, social order and social control
    • the social distribution of crime and deviance by ethnicity, gender and social class, including recent patterns and trends in crime
    • globalisation and crime in contemporary society; the media and crime; green crime; human rights and state crimes
    • crime control, surveillance, prevention and punishment, victims, and the role of the criminal justice system and other agencies

    Theory and Methods

    • quantitative and qualitative methods of research; research design
    • sources of data, including questionnaires, interviews, participant and non-participant observation, experiments, documents and official statistics
    • the distinction between primary and secondary data, and between quantitative and qualitative data
    • the relationship between positivism, interpretivism and sociological methods; the nature of ‘social facts’
    • the theoretical, practical and ethical considerations influencing choice of topic, choice of method(s) and the conduct of research
    • consensus, conflict, structural and social action theories
    • the concepts of modernity and post-modernity in relation to sociological theory
    • the nature of science and the extent to which Sociology can be regarded as scientific
    • the relationship between theory and methods
    • debates about subjectivity, objectivity and value freedom
    • the relationship between Sociology and social policy

    What is AO3 in sociology A-level?

    AO3 is an assessment objective for analysing and evaluating sociological theories, concepts, evidence and research methods in order to present arguments, make judgements and reach conclusions.

    Examples of AO3 points include:

    • Evaluate from other PERSPECTIVES – What would other perspectives say about the theory / concept? Is there a counter-argument?
    • Evaluate – HISTORICAL CRITICISM – Is the theory/ concept dated? When was the concept developed? Is it still relevant today, or has society changed so much that it is no longer relevant? Has society changed in such a way that some aspects of the theory are now more relevant?
    • Evalaute – POWER/ BIAS/ VALUE FREEDOM? Who developed the concept/ theory – whose interests does it serve? For example, 'x' theor is ethnocentric because....

    What is the fastest way to revise sociology?

    There is no great mystery about how to study for sociology A-level. Many students, although they’re not naturally that ‘academic’ still score A and A* grades through sheer hard work, focus and determination.

    Before you start you need to satisfy yourself that you have good syllabus notes to work from. Although most textbooks are fine in places they have a tendency to either not give enough detail on certain topics or give too much information (which can be just as bad).

    As long as you have great syllabus notes and lots of past paper questions the rest is really up to you. If you want to score an A* or A grade you need to act like someone who’s going to score these grades.

    You are competing against people who are going to put in a hell of a lot of hard work so you need to work as hard as or harder than them. And you need to think about what hard work really is.

    What are the most effective ways of revising subject knowledge?

    1. Ask 'How'' and 'Why' questions when revising and try to connect ideas (this method is called 'elaboration')
    2. No cramming. Distribute your revision over time and use a spaced system of repetition
    3. Switch topics regularly when revising (this is called 'interleaving' and it will help you to identify connections between different topics)
    4. Words and visuals. Combine words and visual representations to create two ways of remembering key ideas (this is called 'dual coding')

    Contact Us

    • Teachers! Students! Please get in touch if you have any A-level sociology notes you would like to share. We would really like to cover all 8 topics for paper 2.
    • Please contact us via email contact@simplysociology.com.