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Unit rationale, description and aim

To understand the web of relationships that exist between individuals, groups, and communities at local, national and international levels, sociologists explore and analyse sociological perspectives and the sociological imagination to emphasise the vital roles of groups, systems, and institutions. This unit will introduce students to a range of major sociological concepts and theories required to do this and to the range of research methods used in sociological reasoning and research. The unit encourages students to understand how the sociological perspective interprets and impacts upon various forms of collective and individual action from local and global social issues to their own individual lives. Students will examine Australian and global society including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives and knowledge; and will consider social diversity through sociological perspectives. The unit aims to provide students with grounding in the ethical, moral, and egalitarian aims of the sociological approach to society and social groups and the skills that are necessary for effective writing in sociology, at an introductory level.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the sociological imaginationGC1, GC6, GC9, GC10
LO2Identify different sociological approaches and perspectives to analyse sets of social patternsGC1, GC5, GC9, GC10
LO3Communicate clearly through written and/or oral forms using sociological theories and evidenceGC3, GC4, GC11, GC12
LO4Apply sociological theories, concepts, and evidence to the understanding of social phenomenonGC2, GC6, GC7, GC8


Topics will include: 

  • The nature of sociological enquiry and sociological explanation 
  • The relationships between groups, systems, social forces and the individual in human behaviour  
  • The dynamics of groups including values, roles, norms, and status 
  • An introduction to the major theoretical perspectives in Sociology 
  • An introduction to the different methodological approaches in sociological research 
  • Australian and global society including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives and knowledge, globalization, and social diversity through sociological perspectives 
  • The application of sociological knowledge and empirical evidence to social problems  
  • Key skills at an introductory level, for effective research and writing in Sociology. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit will use exercises, discussions and formal assignments to encourage a questioning approach to sociology. In the combination of lectures and tutorials students will have the opportunity to explore sociology forms and genres exercises, group work and discussions. Students will investigate sociological terms, the various aspects of the social patterns and influences required to understand the sociological imagination and strategies for developing insightful interpretations of individual lives. By establishing key skills in sociological approaches students will come to understand that critical questioning is a crucial part of the discipline and evidence is central to interpretation. Finally, the unit will emphasise clear writing and ethical research skills as key skills in developing well-argued and evidence-based analyses. 


This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit objectives consistent with Faculty assessment requirements. Such procedures may include essays, examinations, oral and written presentations and practical work. The first assessment requires students to demonstrate evidence of gathering quality biographical data for a reflective sociological essay and apply the sociological imagination to individual biographies. Students will use biographical or interview data to provide a concise, readable account of the social factors which influence the life of a single person. The second assignment is a research essay where students will use sociological concepts and theory to analyse sets of social patterns. This enables students to identify different sociological approaches, and analysis to real life examples. The exam will test students’ knowledge of the different sociological topics covered in the unit. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Social Biography 

This assessment requires students to detect the influences of social forces on the individual. The task involves writing a social biography which includes social, cultural, historical influences which have shaped an aspect or aspects of their own life or that of another student. ACU privacy and taught ethics guidelines will be followed in this assessment. Students are not permitted to interview non-ACU students outside of tutorial class for this assignment.  


LO1, LO2, LO3

Written Task 

Students are required to apply a sociological perspective to a social issue, using a written essay format. The task may be staged with a hurdle task to develop academic literacy, honest and research in sociology prior to completing the essay. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Final Exam 

The final exam will test students’ knowledge of the different topics covered in the unit. 



Representative texts and references

Arvanitakis, J. (ed.) (2016) Sociologic: Analysing Everyday Life and Culture, South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.  

Carl, J., Baker, S., Robards, B., Scott, J., Hillman, W. and Lawrence, G. (eds.) (2012) Think Sociology, Frenchs Forest: Pearson Australia. 

Chambliss, William and Daina S. Eglitis (eds.) (2019) Discover Sociology 4th Edition. London. SAGE   

Germov, J. and Poole, M., (eds.) (2019) Public Sociology: An Introduction to Australian Society (4th edition), Sydney: Allen and Unwin.  

Giddens, A., Duneier, M., Appelbaum, R., and Carr, D., (2018) Introduction to Sociology 11th edition. London. Seagull Press 

Giddens A, and P. Sutton, (2018) Sociology (8th editionPolity Press. 

Henslin, J, Possamai, A. and Possamia–Inesedy, A. (2016) Sociology: a Down to Earth Approach (3rd edition). Pearson 

Van Krieken, R. (2017) Sociology (6th edition), Sydney: Longman.  

Walter, M., Martin, K.L. & Bodkin-Andrews, G., 2017. Indigenous Children Growing Up Strong A Longitudinal Study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Families 1st ed. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK. 

Willis, E. (2011) The Sociological Quest, (5th edition), Sydney: Allen and Unwin.  

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