Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Exam Strategy for Sociology


Paper I

For short notes, these are the important sections in paper I:
Sociology - The Discipline
Scientific Study of Social Phenomena
Techniques of data collection and analysis
Economic System
Political System
Educational System
Science & Technology
To prepare for the long questions in paper I, students are required to thoroughly prepare Pioneering contributions to Sociology. This includes
Karl Marx: Historical materialism, mode of production, alienation and class struggle.
Emile Durham: Division of labour, social fact, religion and society.
Max Weber: Social action, ideal types, authority, bureaucracy, protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism.
Talcott Parsons: Social system, pattern variables.
Robert K Merton: Latent and manifest functions, anomie, conformity and deviance, reference groups.
While revising Pioneering contributions to Sociology', students need to focus on areas like socio-economic and political background, views of thinkers, their analysis, contemporary perspective and evolution. The section on `Pioneering contributions to Sociology' is the most important part of paper I. It helps to understand the theoretical inferences of paper II. So, if you are thorough with this section, it will be easier for candidates to get a gist of sections like Social Stratification, Economic System, Political System, Educational System, Social Movements and Social Change and Development.
Candidates are required to understand argumentative aspect of thinkers like Karl Marx, Emile Durham, Max Weber, Talcott Parsons, Robert K Merton, with an eye to use their arguments in other sections of paper I. The theoretical inference of these thinkers need to be carried forward in paper II wherever required.
For long questions, students need to focus on topics such as Pioneering Contributions to Sociology, Marriage and Family, Social Stratification and Mobility, Political System, Social Movements and Social Change and Development. Students who can thoroughly focus on these sections are expected to answer 70% of queries in paper I. They should, however, have an overall view of the paper with focus on emerging trends like education, religion and economic developments.

Paper II

While preparing for this paper, students should ensure that they should not confine their preparation in terms of different sections. They need to focus on interrelation between different topics. Students need to have an analytical eye with focus on continuity and change. Like, despite so many changes, why caste system is still prevalent in our country. Or, despite the break-up of the joint family system, the mentality of joint family still exists among Indians.
For short notes, the important sections are:
Historical Moorings of the Indian Society
Class Structure
Marriage, Family and Kinship
Political System
Population Dynamics
Social Movements
Social Problems
For long questions, the important sections are:
Caste System
Class Structure
Agrarian Social Structure
Industry and Society
Political Processes
Tribal Societies
Social Change
Social Movements
Women and Society
Apart from these, students need to keep an eye on sections like Caste System, Agrarian Social Structure and Tribal Societies. You can always have short or long questions from these three sections. Paper II actually works like mathematics and it is a high-scoring paper.
There are many topics in paper II which seem to be essay-type. But in Sociology, they need to be approached through sociological perspectives. Suppose you are asked a question on poverty, this can have theoretical inferences. You need to give empirical or sociological or case studies examples to analyse the topics.

Writing Short notes

You need to directly start answering the question. Avoid flowery language with an eye on all perspectives while answering the question

Long questions

Perspectives which have been asked needs to be kept in view while answering the question. Theoretical dimension are to be substantiated with analysis.


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