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The nature of quantitative methods in A level sociology.

Hampton, Jennifer ORCID: 2018. The nature of quantitative methods in A level sociology. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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British sociology has been characterised as suffering from a ‘quantitative deficit’ originating from a shift towards qualitative methods in the discipline in the 1960s. Over the years, this has inspired a number of initiatives aimed at improving number work within the discipline, of which the Q-step programme is the most recent. These initiatives, and the work that supports them, primarily concern themselves with the curricula, attitudes, and output of students and academics within Higher Education. As such, the role that the substantive A level plays in post-16 quantitative education has been largely ignored. This thesis addresses this apparent gap in the literature, providing a study of the curriculum, with a particular focus on the quantitative method element therein. The thesis takes a mixed-method approach to curriculum research, encompassing the historical as well as the current, and the written as well as the practiced. The analysis is presented in a synoptic manner, interweaving data from across the methods used, in an attempt to provide an integrated and holistic account of A level Sociology. An overarching theme of marginalisation becomes apparent; not least with the subject itself, but also with quantitative methods positioned as problematic within the research methods element of the curriculum, which is itself bound and limited. The high-stakes exam culture is shown to dominate the behaviour of both teachers and students, regardless of their attitudes and understanding of the relevancy and/or importance of quantitative methods in the subject. Taken together, these findings imply a potential problem for recruitment into quantitative sociology, whilst offering an avenue by which this might be addressed. Linked to the high-stakes performativity culture, a novel conceptualisation of teachers’ understandings of the relationship between their role, the curriculum, the discipline, and notions of powerful knowledge is offered.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Submission
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 7 January 2019
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2023 02:28

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