Student Resources

Methods in Context Exam Practice Book for AQA A-Level Sociology

in Student Workbooks

Comprehensive practice questions for the challenging methods in context questions for AQA A-Level Sociology together with essential advice on effective exam technique for these crucial questions.


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Methods in Context questions are unique on the AQA A-Level Sociology specification. This question asks students to use their skills of application and think like a sociologist who is conducting that piece of research.

The question asks students to apply both their knowledge of research methods and of a specific research context in education. This includes looking at the features of WHO they are researching, WHAT topic they are researching and HOW they are going to conduct the research.

The examples we examine in this edition of the Methods in Context Exam Practice Book for AQA A-Level Sociology are:

  • Written questionnaires - Researching cultural capital in education
  • Covert observations - Impacts of setting and streaming
  • Group interviews - Anti-school subcultures
  • Unstructured interviews - Formation of identity in schools
  • Self-completion questionnaires - University admissions
  • Secondary sources - Parental choice in education
  • Official statistics - Underachievement of different social groups
  • Structured interviews - Gender differences in literacy skills
  • Experiments - Gender differences in subject choice
  • Non-participant observations - Teachers’ expectations of pupils

The main aim of the exam practice booklet is to allow students to go through a process of understanding the question, using the information presented in an item, examining the strengths and limitations of using a specific method and identifying characteristics of those students are researching that might impact on the research and some of the issues a sociologist may face when conducting research on a specific topic area.

This booklet also helps students structure their answers before allowing them to attempt to write a response and checking their answers against a mark scheme and our suggested content.


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