GCSE SOCIOLOGY REVISION NOTES
thPaper 2 Monday 25 June Morning
? Work and Employment (this will be questions on how you would research this
topic and you will be asked to compare sources)
? Education (this will be 3 questions)
? Mass Media (choose this question out of the choice of topics you are given)
WORK AND EMPLOYMENT Paper 1 Section A
1. The first question will simply ask you to find 2 examples from a source. (2)
2. In Question B you will be asked to give 3 reasons why the evidence in a Source may
not be reliable or accurate. (6)
The evidence will be one research method such as an unstructured interview, a
questionnaire, an observation, a diary, official statistics, media report, experiment.
For your 3 reasons (2 marks for each explained) you should think of 3 of the following
points to use…
? Sample size (people being studied) is not representative meaning accurate
generalisations cannot be made.
? Bias of researcher, meaning results lack validity
? If it‟s an interview the Interviewer Effect means their presence influences answers.
? May be an error in how information was recorded.
? If it‟s an observation, the presence of the observer causes group to behave
3. Question C will say “To what extent does the evidence in Source B support the
evidence in Source C? Explain your answer. (6)
? 2 marks for saying what the conclusion is of the 2 sources and state how far they
agree with other and disagree with other. Highlight the conclusion on the exam‟ paper.
The sources will not just support each other
? 1 mark for saying that the 2 sources are based on 2 different types of evidence eg
diary and questionnaire.
? 2 marks for saying that 1 source (questionnaire) is more valid as it is asking a wider
sample and therefore a more representative view.
? 1 mark for saying it difficult to compare the sources as they are based on 2
different types of evidence, maybe from different years, and this is the reason why
they have different conclusions.
4. Question D will ask “How useful is Source D as evidence of …?” (6) ? 2 marks for stating the conclusion of the source and how this will be useful for
Sociologists studying this topic. Eg problem of double burden facing women
(mothers and workers)
? 2 marks for saying the sample is not representative meaning that a generalisation
for the whole country cannot be made because it may be too small or from one part
of the country, or from one gender, or from one age group, or from one ethnic
? 2 marks for saying the evidence may lack validity because it is dated, or from a
media publication used to dramatise issues, or from an observation so it cannot
be repeated accurately to check results, or the source itself may be biased
5. Question E will give you a hypothesis and then ask you to… “Describe and explain
the methods and evidence sociologists could use to test this claim”. (10) The
hypothesis could be on these areas:
? “Women still suffer from inequality in work”
? “Most people work for extrinsic job satisfaction”
? “ICT has made work easier but created more unemployment”
? “Patterns of work are becoming more flexible”
? “Inequality in work gives the families of ethnic minorities inferior life chances.”
You will get 5 marks for describing your methods such as … Questionnaire, measures public opinion on…, by using a stratified random sample of …you
get a representative view and can generalise for the whole country. Describe what information you would be finding. Eg what type of job satisfaction do people get from work?
Unstructured interviews with …give detailed data, personal issues, talk at length, look at
motives and reasons behind behaviour. Eg the impact of low paid work on the families of ethnic
Observations of give researcher opportunity to see people behaving in natural way. By
observing ….you could find out eg how much impact ICT has on working. You could say that
you will using a triangulation of research methods to give you a more complete picture of …eg how far work has become more flexible in recent years.
You will get 5 marks for describing your evidence such as… Official statistics eg unemployment rates, is there a long term trend?
Previous sociological research eg University study looking at the attitudes of teenage girls
Diaries kept by mothers that detail their daily routine in the home and in full and part –time
Newspaper reports on factory closures, the impact of unemployment on communities.
Key issues you will need to be aware of :
a. How patterns of work are changing (flexible work, part time, short contracts, home
b. How types of work change (ICT, call centres)
c. Links between work and life chances.
d. Causes of unemployment.
e. How unemployment impacts on class, age, region, gender and ethnic group.
f. Intrinsic/extrinsic job satisfaction.
g. Inequality at work in terms of gender, ethnicity, age. h. Trade unions
ECUCATION Paper 2 Section B
1. The functions or purpose of education is to:
? Teach children the skills they need for Work (to be numerate, literate and competent
? Teach children the Values of society (Citizenship)
? Selecting or grading children for work
2. Education is an agent of secondary socialisation as it teaches children the culture of
society (norms, values, language, and customs)
3. The formal curriculum is the lessons on the timetable. The National Curriculum at Key Stages 1-5
4. The hidden curriculum is what children learn outside of lessons. It is taught through school
rules, comments of teachers, and comments in assemblies and consists of values (honesty,
punctuality, attendance, co operation, respect, obeying rules, accepting hierarchy, accepting
boredom, learning gender roles). It prepares children for the rules of work.
5. School is an agent of social control as it controls behaviour through a system of rewards
(merits) and punishments (detentions).
6. Education is compulsory by law, but this does not have to be in school. Home tutoring can
be given. Schools such as Summerhill also exist, where children are free to choose their own
7. The UK‟s education system is structured according to age:
? Primary 5-11
? Secondary 11-18
? Tertiary 18+ in Higher Education
8. Do children from private (independent) schools have an unfair advantage over children from
? Private school have smaller class sizes, more individual tuition, superior facilities
(labs, playing fields, study rooms, ICT support), pupils can specialise more (eg playing
harp, doing archery) private school network means they have advantages later in life
(life chances, career opportunities from ex pupils), higher expectations, parents
„push‟ children more, they have cultural capital and material advantages (greater
support /resources at home).
? Private schools are always top of League Tables. These schools are often located in
wealthy areas. Rich parents use their income to buy their children a better education.
? State comprehensive schools have larger class sizes, less individual tuition, poorer
facilities (some have no playing fields, less ICT support), less opportunities for
specialising (those with certain skills may not be developed), inferior life chances with
jobs, lower expectations from teachers and parents, suffer from lack of cultural
capital, many face material disadvantages (poverty), children more likely to face anti-
school subculture and disruption in class. They have more supply teachers
? Many state comprehensives are located in poor areas and are more likely to come
at the bottom of the League Tables. State schools have children from a variety of
backgrounds (Class, some with extreme poverty, ethnic groups, some with no
? These points are generalisations and there are always exceptions eg Weatherhead
is located in a mixed area of affluence and deprivation. It has children with an anti-
school subculture and some who can achieve the best results in the country. Some
students end up in unskilled work; others go on to study in the top universities (Oxford,
? Is it fair that wealthy parents can use their material advantage to buy their children a
better education? Private schools make society divisive and keep the rich ruling
class in power.
? The government have set up City Academies which are new schools with modern
facilities built in deprived areas. This is to give poor working class children a more
positive view of education.
9. Streaming is when children are grouped according to ability for every lesson eg in bands.
10. Setting is when children are grouped according to their ability in different subjects eg top
set Maths, middle set English
11. Streaming and setting may help children make progress according to their ability (less able
don‟t hold back more able), but they could also lead to the labelling of pupils.
12. National curriculum is what government says must be taught (subject/content)
13. Education should be inclusive for all people regardless of class, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation. This has aim improved in recent years eg schools adapt to
needs of disabled, extended schools means school facilities stay open later eg homework clubs,
14. Vocational education is learning or subjects linked to a specific career eg Health + Social Care, Travel and Tourism.
15. Parental choice is said to exist when parents choose their child‟s secondary school,
however some schools are oversubscribed and parents don‟t always get their selection.
16. To make sure schools are delivering value for money they are subject to OFSTED inspections, where results are matched against the intake of pupils.
17. Single sex education is provided in all boys/girls schools. Some argue they have better
exam‟ results with fewer distractions, others say they are poor for socialisation as they restrict
experiences of pupils.
18. Why do some children underachieve in schools?
? Equality of opportunity is said to be the principle behind our education, but children
do underachieve in terms of their class, gender and ethnicity.
? Social class: poorer children are deprived of cultural capital and material goods
(poverty) and this causes them to suffer from inferior life chances (poor health,
overcrowded homes, more crimes). Schools at the bottom of the League Tables are
always in the poorest areas.
? Gender: boys underachieve in relation to girls. Many have anti school subculture in which they have poor attendance, poor discipline, and negative attitude to authority,
mock those with ability, have a shortage on male teachers (role models) in primary
schools, see reading as feminine as this is role traditionally done by mother and have
a shorter concentration span. (This is said to be innate, genetic, from nature)
? Schools said to be more feminine with emphasis on female traits of organisation,
neatness, less competition as helped by introduction of coursework at GCSE.
? Hidden curriculum reinforces traditional gender roles, with stereotypical (a distorted
or exaggerated image) expectations by teachers in terms of subject choice or careers
and gender. Decline of traditional male jobs eg shipbuilding, car factories, mines has
? Ethnicity: Children from ethnic minorities are more likely to underachieve. Labelling, blacks boys 6 times more likely to be suspended, teachers accused of expecting
disruptive behaviour leading to self-fulfilling prophecy; discrimination, the school + curriculum is aimed at white middle class children (ethnocentric) and those from ethnic
minorities cannot relate to it eg text books, uniform, rules; Language difficulties, for some English is their 2
nd language; cultural barriers, amongst some Asian cultures
careers for girls not seen as important; Material disadvantage (poverty) ethnic
minorities more likely to live in poverty and face cultural disadvantages
? However, children from Indian backgrounds are high achievers in education; this
reflects their culture of learning.
MASS MEDIA Paper 2 Section C
1. Mass media is the communication of information to a large audience.
2. Mass media ranges from books, to the radio, TV and cinema
3. Changes that have occurred in the media in the last 20 yrs = internet, satellite TV, digital TV and radio, cable technology, colour pictures in newspapers, DVDs, I pods, downloading music
and films, myspace, mobile phone technology. These changes give people instant access to
information across the world. We are said to live in a „global village‟ as technology has in effect made the world smaller. The spread of this new technology around the world is known as globalisation
4. Media is owned by a small number of „barons‟, who own vast media companies or empires.
Eg Disney, Eg Rupert Murdoch owns News International and publications such as the
Times, Sun, News of the World, Collins publishers, New York Post, Fox Channel, Sky. Eg.
Richard Branson who owns the Virgin Empire. The BBC is a public corporation funded by the government through taxpayers and licence fees. It should be objective and put service
5. Who controls the content of the media?
? According to Pluralists, the content of the media is decided by the public who act as
consumers eg if the public demand reality TV and tabloids with gossip and scandal,
these will be supplied.
? According to Marxists, the content of the media is decided by the capitalist owners
who use the media to promote their own ideas and to divert the public‟s attention away
from real issues towards trivia. This is done so the public will not realise the unfairness
of society. The media is biased eg The Sun is said to be a big influence on voting
behaviour as whoever it supports in elections tend to win. Editors can set the agenda
for what will be in the news, but this is often decided by their boss/owner.
? Government also control content through censorship eg Obscene Publications Act,
Official Secrets Act, stopping information national security being published
? Ethical reasons, eg sex and violence after the 9pm watershed
? Technical and practical considerations eg a small earthquake in USA will receive
more coverage than a bigger earthquake in East Asia as it‟s easier to get film from the
USA as their technology is better and they have more reporters.
6. Does the media present a stereotypical image of social class, gender and ethnic
? Social Class. All media is said to be biased in favour of the middle class, from news
readers to adverts and to sit coms, they speak with „BBC‟ accents and present an
image of the cereal packet family, in professional jobs, with traditional gender roles.
When the working class is shown, it is in stereotypical soaps set in grim urban areas
or as chaotic dysfunctional families eg Shameless
? Gender: feminists say we live in a patriarchal society (male dominated) and all the
top media jobs are controlled by men. Women are valued as sex objects as success
depends on looks. Unattractive men appear on TV, but not women. The need for self
improvement and perfection (diets, beauty tips, finding a man) is the message given
out to women.
? Ethnic minorities portrayal is unrepresentative and stereotypical. They are not
given positions of authority and power, they are seen as a problem eg asylum
seekers, criminals, terrorist and not valued for contributions they make to UK culture.
Ethnic minorities are often absent from adverts, magazines and children‟s TV. When
they appear in soaps it‟s often stereotypical. Eg corner shop, doctor.
? Pluralists say the media simply reflects what is going on in society. Eg Working
class life is like it shown in the soaps, that‟s why they are so popular. Eg Women‟s
publications focus on self improvement because that is what women want eg ethnic
minorities do run corner shops and often are in trouble in society.
7. The media said to create crime and deviance by creating moral panics. Eg the media focus on a story and hype it up so that it appears much more serious than it actually is, eg
hoodies. This causes the public, shops, police and courts to take tougher action against
hoodies and they in effect „find‟ more crimes. Banning hoodies from shopping centres.
8. When the media hype up crimes to make them appear worse than they actually are, it is
known as „deviancy amplification‟.
9. The media is a powerful agent of secondary socialisation. It can reinforce society‟s values eg work, with programmes on careers, democracy, with political forums, it can start campaigns
eg Make Poverty History, it can encourage girls to diet eg super models, unite the nation eg
10. What impact does the media have on its audience?
? Hypodermic syringe theory says the media is like a drug; people take in and copy
what they see and hear eg violent films produce violent behaviour.
? Uses and Gratifications Model says people choose only the media they want. People
will simply switch off or stop buying media they disapprove of and this media will go out
of business. Eg Chris Evans TV show.
? The media acts as an agent of social control as it ridicules some behaviour
(drunkenness) and praises other eg charity work
? The media has cultural effects, in the way it influences attitudes to gender, ethnicity
and social class.