Psychology and Sociology


“The greatest and noblest pleasure we have in this world is to discover new truths, and the next is to shake off old prejudices”.  – Frederick the Great.

Welcome to the fascinating world of Psychology: the science of mind and behaviour!

To some extent, we are all psychologists.  We all try to understand, predict and even sometimes control the behaviour of other people.  The study of Psychology differs in the sense that rather than make general observations of why people behave the way they do, psychologists systematically study the factors that influence behaviour using a range of scientific and non-scientific methods.  This allows them to make generalisations about human behaviour and understand the causes of it across different situations.

In line with curriculum changes, all pupils studying A level Psychology will study a two year qualification and will be assessed via three two-hour exam papers at the end of the two years. Following the OCR specification for Psychology, the course is broadly divided into three units:
• Research methods (30% of the overall grade) —introduces psychological research methods where students are required to conduct their own practical work using a range of experimental and non-experimental methods. The exam involves a multiple choice section assessing knowledge and understanding of methodology, a design section and a section on data analysis.
• Psychological themes through core studies (35% of the overall grade) —introduces key themes and core studies in psychology. Twenty studies are studied over the two year period. The inclusion of both classic and contemporary studies enable students to see the way that psychological knowledge and understanding changes over time. The exam is made up of short answer questions about the 20 studies, an essay based question on approaches or issues in Psychology and a question on application where students are asked to apply their knowledge to a real life piece of research, newspaper story or similar.
• Applied psychology (35% of the overall grade) —introduces a new and engaging compulsory section on issues in mental health and an exciting range of options including child psychology and criminal psychology. This allows students to gain an insight into how theory can be applied in real world situations. The exam involves a structured question on mental health and essay based responses for crime and child psychology.

Typically, students studying Psychology go on to Higher Education courses such as Geography, Nursing, Primary Education, English Literature and Language, Mathematics, Sociology, Law, Business Studies and many more. A significant number of students go on to study Psychology at university. For more information on careers in Psychology, follow the link Careers in psychology


A Level Sociology Pacing Guide

Course Description: All pupils studying A level Sociology will study a two-year qualification which follows the OCR specification. They will be assessed via three exam papers (see table below). The course is broadly divided into three components:

  • Socialisation, culture and identity— This component introduces the key themes of socialisation, culture and identity and develops these themes through the context of the media. It focuses on how media plays an increasingly important role as an agent of socialisation in contemporary society. It explores a range of evidence relating to media representations and media effects.
  • Researching and understanding social inequalities— This component explores the methods of sociological enquiry and develops knowledge and understanding of contemporary social processes and social change in the context of social inequality and difference. It aims to foster the development of critical and reflective thinking with a respect for social diversity in terms of social class, gender, ethnicity and age. It develops links between the nature of sociological thought and methods of sociological enquiry.
  • Debates in contemporary society— This component engages in theoretical debates and how these relate to a contemporary global society. It develops links between the topics studied in this component, the nature of sociological thought, contemporary social policy and core sociological themes. Contemporary and global debates are introduced through ‘Globalisation and the digital social world’ in Section A, and more in depth studied of ‘Crime and Deviance’ in Section B.



Total Marks


% of Total A Level

Component 1

Socialisation, culture and identity

90 Marks

1 hour 30 minutes

30% of total A level

Component 2

Researching and understanding social inequalities

105 Marks

2 hour 15 minutes

35% of total A level

Component 3

Debates in contemporary society

105 Marks

2 hours 15 minutes

35% of total A level


Component 1-Section A: Introducing socialisation, culture and identity

This section introduces learners to the key themes of socialisation, culture and identity and develop skills that

enable individuals to focus on their personal identity, roles and responsibilities within society and develop a lifelong interest in social issues.


Key questions


Learners should:

Key Studies

First Half Autumn Term

1. What is culture?

Culture, norms, and values

Types of culture:

• subculture

• high culture

• popular culture

• global culture

• consumer culture

Cultural diversity

Cultural hybridity

be able to understand the relative nature

of culture, norms, and values.

Mead (1935) Comparing tribal cultures

Bourdieu (1984) Cultural capital

McLuhan (1984) Global village

Nayak (2003) White wannabes

2. What is socialisation?

Primary and secondary



Agencies of socialisation:

• family

• peer group

• media

• religion

• education

• workplace


Nature/nurture debate


Formal agencies of social control:

• police

• law/legal system

• courts

• government

• military


Informal agencies of social control:

• family

• peer group/subcultures

• media

• religion

• education

• workplace

be able to link definitions of primary socialisation and secondary socialisation to relevant agencies of socialisation, understanding that socialisation is a lifelong process.


understand the link between socialisation and the creation of identities.


consider the implications of the nature/nurture debate for an understanding of



explore the overlap between formal and

informal social control for work, education

and religion.

Parsons (1955) The role of the family in primary socialisation

Oakley (1981) Gender role socialisation in the family

Lees (1983, 1997) Peer pressure and teenage girls

Bowles and Gintis (1976) Schooling and the hidden curriculum

Mulvey (1975) The ‘male gaze’

Young (2007) The ‘bulimic society’

Modood (1997) The importance of religion to young Asians

Waddington (1999) ‘Canteen culture’

Second Half of Autumn Term

3. What is identity?

The concept of identity

Aspects of identity and

the associated cultural


• ethnicity

• nationality

• gender

• social class

• sexuality

• age

• disability


Hybrid identities

understand how identities are created including the influence of agencies of socialisation.


understand the different aspects of an individual’s identity, their relative importance to individuals and ways in which they may intersect.


consider changing identities.

Ghumann (1999) Asian identity and family

Gilroy (1993) The ‘Black Atlantic’ identity

Francis & Archer (2005) British Chinese families

Back (1996) Neighbourhood nationalism

Hewitt (2005) White British identity

Anderson (1983) ‘Nation’ as an ‘imagined community’

Kumar (2003) English identity

Oakley (1981) Gender role socialisation in the family.

Mac an Ghaill (1984) Macho lads

Jackson (2006) Lads and ladettes

Mackintosh & Moonie (2004) Invisibility and social closure in the upper class.

Fox (2004) The English class system

McIntosh (1996) The homosexual role

Plummer (1996) The homosexual career

Postman (1982) The disappearance of childhood

Hockey & James (1993) The infantilisation of the elderly

Shakespeare (1996) Disability and identity

Murugami (2009) Disability and identity

Nayak (2003) White wannabes (hybridity)

Component 1-Section B: Media

This option focuses on how media plays an increasingly important role as an agent of socialisation in contemporary society. It allows learners to explore a range of evidence relating to media representations and media effects.

First Half of Spring Term

1. How are different social groups represented in the media?

Evidence of representations in the media and how far these are changing in relation to:

• ethnicity (majority and

minority ethnic groups)

• gender (masculinity and


• social class (middle,

working, upper, under)

• age (young and old)


Theoretical views of media


• Marxism

• neo-Marxism

• pluralism

• feminism

• postmodernism

be able to discuss representation of

a range of ethnicities. For example learners could consider UK nationalities

(Irish, Scottish, Welsh, English) and also newer immigrant groups as well as more established minority ethnic groups.


understand explanations for these representations, and any changing representations, utilising theoretical perspectives as appropriate.

consider issues of consensus versus conflict, social order and control in relation to theoretical views of media



use postmodernism as a critique of other theoretical views.

Van Dijk (1991) Media representations of minority and majority ethnic groups

Malik (2002) Inaccurate representations of ethnicity, tokenism

Barker (1999) Ethnic representation in Eastenders

Tuchman (1978) Symbolic annhiliation of women

Gill (2008) Change from passive to active representations of women in advertising.

Gauntlett (2008) More equal gender roles in media

Dodd and Dodd (1992) Representations of working class characters in EastEnders

Jones (2012) Portrayal of working class ‘chavs’

Price (2014) Portrayal of underclass and ‘poverty porn’

Nairn (1988) Representations of the Royal family

Heintz-Knowles (2002) Portrayal of children

Wayne (2007) Portrayal of youth in the news

Landis (2002) One-dimensional portrayal of older people

Miliband (1969) Media as new ‘opium of the people’

Hall (1981) Stereotyping ethnicity from a neo-Marxist perspective

Philo, Bryant & Donald (GMG) (2013) Portrayal of asylum seekers from a neo-Marxist


Whale (1980) Pluralist view of media representations

Williams (2010) Journalism as part of democracy

Mulvey (1975) The male gaze

Lauzen (2014) Under-representation of women in film industry

Whelehen (2000) Rise of laddism in media to override feminism messages of equality

Strinati (1995) Media saturation

Baudrillard (1994) Hyperreality

Turkle (1995) Postmodern perspective on television (and internet) as reality

Second Half of Spring Term

2. What effect do the media

have on audiences?

Theoretical views of media


• direct

• indirect

• active audience


The role of the media in

deviance amplification and the creation of moral panics

understand a range of theories on the effects of the media on the audience, including: hypodermic syringe; twostep flow; cultural effects; uses and


Packard (1957) Hypodermic syringe model

Newson (1994) Desensitising effect of children’s exposure to media violence

Badura (1961, 1963) Bobo doll experiments

Anderson et al (2003) Effects of violent song lyrics

Young (2003) Narratives/ context of media violence

Katz and Lazarsfeld (1965) Two-step flow model and opinion leaders

Philo (1989) Differing effect of portrayal of miners’ strike.

McQuail (1987) Uses of the media

Hall (1973) Coding/ decoding media content

Klapper (1960) Selective filter model

Wilkins (1967) Deviancy amplification

Cohen (1972) Folk devils and moral panics

Goode and Ben-Yehuda (1994) Elements of a moral panic

Hall (1978) Ideological function of moral panics

McRobbie (1994) Changing influence of moral panics

Component 3-Section A: Globalisation and the digital social world

First Half of Summer Term

1. What is the relationship between globalisation and digital forms of communication?

Definitions of globalisation

Developments in digital forms of communication in a global society:

• digital revolution

• global village

• networked global society

• media convergence

• social media

• virtual communities

• digital social networks


Applying sociological theories to digital forms of communication:

• Marxism

• feminism

• postmodernism

be aware of the problems with defining



consider how developments in digital

communication are related to social



have an overview of how developments in

digital forms of communication have been theoretically interpreted.

Giddens (1990) Defining globalisation

Carter (2005) Cybercity – a virtual community

Boellstorff (2008) Second Life

Castells (2000) A Marxist view on the power of the network

Boyle (2005) Digitalisation and media convergence

Cornford and Robins (1999) Concentration of power in media, new media not so ‘new’,

surveillance and control

Haraway (1985, 1991) Cyborgs as a path to gender equality

Cochrane (2013) Technology and the fourth wave of feminism

Bjorklund (1998) Social media as a form of autobiography

2. What is the impact of digital forms of communication in a

global context?

The impact of digital forms of

communication on:

• people’s identity

• social inequalities

• relationships

The impact of digital forms of

communication on culture:

• conflict and change

• cultural homogenisation

• cultural defence/


consider people’s identity and social

inequalities in relation to:

• social class

• gender

• age

consider both the positive and negative

impacts of digital forms of communication.

Boyle (2007) Increasing reliance on digital communications over successive generations

Berry (2011) Older users of the internet.

Mertens and D’Haenens (2010) Digital class divide

Li and Kirkup (2007) Gender differences in internet use between British and Chinese students

Turkle (2011) Effect on social relationships: alone together

Miller (2011) Tales from Facebook

Shaw and Gant (2002) Positive effects of internet use

Howard (2011) The role of digital communication in fundamentalist religious groups

Kirkpatrick (2010) Influence of social media on social movements

Component 3-Section B: Crime and deviance

This option focuses on debates in contemporary society through a detailed study of crime and deviance. The social construction of crime and deviance are considered and the ways in which crime is socially distributed, explained and reduced. This option introduces a global dimension, with reference to patterns and trends. It aims to give an understanding of different theoretical approaches to the study of crime and deviance.

Second Half of Summer Term

1. How are crime and deviance defined and measured?


• crime and deviance

• social order

• social control

• the relativity of crime and


• the social construction of

crime and deviance

Measuring crime:

• official crime statistics

• victim surveys

• self-report studies

consider the relativity of crime and deviance over time, between societies and within societies.


consider the advantages and

disadvantages of each way of measuring



have awareness that official crime statistics

could include police recorded crime figures

and the Crime Survey for England and


Hough and Mayhew (1985) The British Crime Survey

Jones, Maclean and Young (1986)The Islington Crime Survey

Young (1988) An evaluation of victim surveys, the myth of the equal victim

Farrington et al (1989, 2000a, 2001) The Cambridge Study: a longitudinal self report study

Campbell (1981) Self-report study on gender and delinquency

2. What are the patterns and

trends in crime?

The social distribution of

offending and victimisation:

• social class

• gender

• age

• ethnicity

Patterns of crime in a global


• global organised crime

• green crime


BWilliams et al (2012) Statistically linking social disadvantage and crime

Kinsey (1984) The Merseyside crime survey, class and victimization

Young (1988) The myth of the equal victim

Walklate (2006) Repeat victimization and abusive relationships

Adler (1975) The increase in female criminality

Gelsthorpe (2006) Differences in female criminality

Messerschmidt (1993) Masculinity and criminality

Winlow (2001) Working class masculinity and crime

McVie (2004) The Edinburgh study: age and offending patterns

Bowling and Phillips (2006) Charging and prosecution of Black suspects

Phillips and Bowling (2002) Overpolicing of some neighbourhoods

Holdaway (1996) The racialization of policing

Hood (1992) Race and sentencing

Waddington et al (2004) Stopping and searching, ethnicity and the ‘available’ population

Nightingale (1993) The paradox of inclusion

Gunter (2008) Black identity, badness and ‘road culture’

Gilroy (1982) The Myth of black criminality

Palmer (2013) Understanding black youth crime

Bowling, Parmar and Phillips (2003) Asian stereotypes and crime

Franko Aas (2007) Defining organized crime and green crime

Castells (2000) Organized crime and globalization

Robertson’s (1995) Concept of ‘glocalization’, conditions impact on global phenomena.

Potter (2010) Indirect damage done by ‘green crime’

Carrabine et al (2004) Primary and secondary green crime

First Half of Autumn Term

3. How can crime and deviance be explained?

Theoretical views of crime and


• functionalism

• Marxism

• neo-Marxism/radical


• interactionism

• realism (left and right)

• New Right

• subcultural theories

• feminism

consider the explanations of crime and the patterns and trends of offending in relation to social class, gender, age and ethnicity.

Durkheim (1960) Anomie and upright


Erikson (1966) The function of public

degradation ceremonies

Davis (1981) Prostitution as a safety valve

Merton (1938) Strain Theory

Cohen (1955) Delinquent boys and status

Cloward and Ohlin (1961) Illegitimate

opportunity structures

Winlow (2001) Badfellas: Working class


Katz (1988) The seductions of crime

Lyng (2005) Deviance and edgework

Presdee (2002) The revolt against the


Young (2003) Underclass criminality and

social exclusion

Becker (1966) Outsiders, labelling and

master status

Lemert (1951) Primary and secondary


Cicourel (1968) Police negotiations

Box (1983) Marxist view of crime as


Bonger (1916) Linking crime to economic


Gordon (1973) Crime as a rational response

to social conditions

Goldstraw-White (2010) Interviewing white

collar criminals

Chambliss (1973) The Saints and the


Hall & Jefferson (1976) Neo-Marxist views

on working class youth deviance and


Taylor, Walton & Young (1972) The New


Hall et al (1978) ‘Policing the Crisis’

4. How can crime and deviance be reduced?

Social policy and crime:

• left wing:

o social and

community crime

prevention and


o restorative justice

o structural changes

in society

• right wing:

o situational crime


o environmental

crime prevention

o retributive justice

o punitive

punishment and


consider policies relating to crime prevention, punishment and control.

John Braithwaite (1989) Left wing policies: Crime, Shame and Reintegration

Lea and Young (1993) Over and under policing, multi-agency working

Shapland (2008) Assessing restorative justice

Clarke (1980) Right wing policies: examples of target hardening

Painter and Farrington (1999) Street lighting and crime reduction

Wilson and Kelling (1982) Order maintenance

Zimring (2011) Assessing zero tolerance

Murray (2005) New right policies: prison works


Component 2-Section A: Research methods and researching social inequalities

In this section, learners are introduced to a range of methods and sources of data as well as the factors influencing the design of sociological research and the relationship between theory and methods. Learners are encouraged to consider the practical, ethical and theoretical issues arising in sociological research and to apply knowledge of research methods to the particular context of social inequalities.

Second Half of Autumn Term

1. What is the relationship

between theory and methods?


• patterns

• trends

• objectivity

• value freedom

• quantitative data


• meanings and experiences

• verstehen and empathy

• rapport

• subjectivity

• researcher imposition

• reflexivity

• qualitative data

Key research concepts:

• validity

• reliability

• representativeness

• generalisability

understand how social research is guided

by theory.


use these concepts in an evaluative way

when considering the research process

and methodological theories.

Studies are not required for the research methods section

2. What are the main stages of the research process?

Key concepts in the research


• factors influencing the

choice of research topic

• aims/hypothesis/research


• primary data

• secondary data

• operationalisation

• pilot studies

• data collection

• respondent validation

• longitudinal studies

• interpretation of data

• the relationship between

sociology and social policy

Sampling process

Sampling techniques

• random

• systematic

• stratified

• snowball

• volunteer

• opportunity

• purposive

• quota

Access and gatekeeping


consider how sociological research

contributes to social policy.


understand the practical, ethical and

theoretical factors influencing choice of

sampling process.


understand the advantages and

disadvantages of random and non-random sampling techniques.


understand how samples are accessed and the issues with access.


understand ethical considerations such

as those used by the British Sociological

Association and why ethical principles

should be followed.

Studies are not required for the research methods section

3. Which methods are used in sociological research?

Research methods:

• questionnaires

• structured interviews

• statistical data (official and


• content analysis

• observations (participant,

non-participant, covert,


• unstructured interviews

• semi structured interviews

• ethnography

Quantitative and qualitative


Mixed methods

• triangulation

• methodological pluralism

consider the uses of research methods in

the context of social inequalities.

Studies are not required for the research methods section


Component 2-Section B: Understanding social inequalities

Within this section learners will have the opportunity to develop knowledge and understanding of contemporary patterns and trends of social inequality. Learners are able to engage in theoretical debate, explore conceptual issues and develop skills of analysis and evaluation of sociological research and evidence.

First Half of Spring Term

1. What are the main patterns and trends in social inequality and difference?

Social inequality and difference

in relation to:

• social class

• gender

• ethnicity

• age

consider the main patterns and trends in

relation to work and employment.


consider evidence of social inequalities

from a range of areas of social life.


consider how social inequalities affect life


Social Class:

Rowlingson and Mullineux (2013) Birmingham Report on income and wealth

Atkinson (2013) Inherited wealth

Roberts (2001) Social mobility, middle class employment security

Gallie (2000) Working class/ manual occupations disproportionately affected by changes to

economic structure, deskilling

Wakeman (2015) Food banks and nutritional deficiencies



McDowell (1992) Women concentrated in work with part-time/ short term contracts.

Li and Devine (2011) Women and social mobility

Payne and Pantazis (1997) Gender and


Mac an Ghaill (1994) Crisis of masculinity

Warin et al (1999) Pressure on males to be breadwinners and superdads



Jenkins (1986) Racism in recruitment practices

Heath & Cheung (2006) The ethnic penalty

Bhopal et al (1995) Bangladeshi women homeworkers

Marsh & Perry (2003) Ethnicity and poverty

Aldridge (2001) Ethnicity and social mobility

Rex and Tomlinson (1979) An ethnic underclass

Pilkington (2003) Challenging the idea of an ethnic underclass



Milne (1999) Grey Power – Differences in life chances and experiences of the elderly

Moore and Conn (1985) Observation study on treatment of elderly

Hockey and James (1993) Infantilisation of the elderly

Ray, Sharp and Adams (2006) Ageism in the UK, e.g. in the workplace

Bytheway et al. (2007) Discrimination and rejection of elderly

2. How can patterns and

trends in social inequality and difference be explained?

The main sociological

explanations of social inequality

and difference:

• functionalism

• Marxism

• Weberian

• feminism

• New Right

have an understanding of the distinctive

concepts and ideas associated with each


Social Class:

Davis and Moore (1945) The functions of class inequalities

Saunders (1990) Equality of opportunity, a New Right view

Murray (1984) The underclass, a New Right view

Westergaard & Resler (1976) A Marxist view on the continuing importance of class inequality

Parkin (1979) Weberian class analysis, social closure and usurpation

Pakulski and Waters (1996) A postmodernist view on social class inequality



Sharpe (1994) Changing gender expectations

Ansley (1977) Women soaking up male frustration

Benston (1972) Unpaid domestic work

Millett(1970) Sexual politics

Johnson (1995) Patriarchal terrorism

Delphy & Leonard (1992) The family as an oppressive institution

Walby (1990, 1997) Triple systems, intersectionality

Hakim (2006) Rational choice. Preference theory

Rastogi (2002) Human capital

Schlafly (2002) New Right view

Barron & Norris (1976) Dual labour market theory



Patterson (1965) Immigrant-host model

Murray and Herrnstein (1994) The Bell Curve

Castles and Kosack (1973) Divide and rule

Miles (1989) Racialised class fractions

Rex and Tomlinson (1979) Ethnic underclass

Parkin (1968) Negatively privileged status groups



Parsons (1977) Youth as a transitional stage

Statham (2011) Role of grandparents

Cummings and Henry (1961) Social disengagement theory

Phillipson (1982) The elderly as a reserve army of labour

Arber and Ginn (1991) Age, gender and status

Turner (1989) Age and status in society

Victor (1994) Negative labelling of the elderly

Lackzo and Phillipson (1991) Intersection of class and age

Researching and understanding social inequalities: (02)

Blaikie (1999) Postmodernism and positive ageing

Second Half of Spring Term

Revision for Component 1: Focus of Revision will be determined by student need

First Half of Summer Term

Revision for Component 3: Focus of Revision will be determined by student need