At this point it might be useful to relate ideas about sociological questions (involving definitions, theories, facts, comparisons and the like) to your course of study.
In particular, we can, initially, note the way the different types of questions that sociologists ask relate to and correspond with the skills (or, in examiner-speak, "skill domains") that the Examination Board requires you to develop throughout the duration of your course.
We can relate these skill domains to sociological questions in the following way:
1. You have to demonstrate sociological knowledge and this involves a mastery of factual information.
2. In order to interpret the significance of factual knowledge, you have to understand sociological theories, concepts, methods of research and the like.
3. By combining these two skills (knowledge and interpretation) you are applying sociological theories and concepts to the construction of factual knowledge.
4. In any area of the course there will usually be a number of different theories, for example, that compete to explain some aspect of the social world. This means you have to evaluate them (for example, weigh up the relative strengths and weaknesses of each theory) against each another to arrive at some conclusion about their relative worth.
5. Finally, by using each
of the four skills in combination, you
will arrive at an overall level of understanding that is sociological
We can summarise these ideas in the following way:
Understanding consists of the ability to:
To create understanding you have to:
If this all seems a bit complicated at the moment it will be much clearer once you start to use the various skills in the work you do on your course. In addition, if you want to explore ways of developing the required examination skills you could have a quick look at the AQuIRED system.