Higher Modern Studies Writing frames

When planning the construction of a Higher Modern Studies 12 mark and 20 mark response, the following tool will provide a supportive scaffold. By using this writing frame, pupils will be able to identify 2 knowledge points and 2 corresponding analysis points. 

When planning an answer to a 12 mark question, pupils can use three of these wheels. This will give them 6 knowledge points and 6 analysis points. This is one approach for this type of question. (This type of question may also be answered with 8 knowledge points and 4 analysis points)

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For a 20 mark question, candidates can use 4 of these wheels to help them identify 8 knowledge points and 8 corresponding analysis points. ​

The 20 mark response will require an introduction and conclusion to access the remaining 4 marks. 

The power point slides below provide a scaffold for this approach.

Pupils could write one of factors that they will discuss in the centre of the wheel. This could be an effective revision tool for teachers to check and give directed support. This could be used in small groups where pupils support each other in their ideas. The wheels could also be reduced in size to create flash cards.

Using a writing tool such as this can help alleviate the overwhelm that some pupils can feel when trying to organise their notes and the vast course content of the Higher Modern Studies course.

I hope that this helps you - feel free to download and use for educational purposes. Do not distribute for profit.

the causeS of income/wealth inequalities

Power point slides - present in a lesson or save as pdf to use as worksheets. Type directly into the slides.

Blank pdf templates

the causeS of HEALTH inequalities

Power point slides - present in a lesson or save as pdf to use as worksheets. Type directly into the slides.

Blank pdf templates


Spin the analysis/evaluation wheel

Spin the wheel to prompt analytical and evaluative thinking. Begin with a knowledge point, and then spin the wheel.

Higher Modern Studies Source Skills

The question answered can be found via the SQA website via this link (pages 5-6)

Evidence from Source C supports the viewpoint that Russia does effectively protect the rights of its citizens. Government spokesman, Lukin stated that the rights of political groups to protest “was protected by Russian law”. This is significant because the right to protest is an important civil right. This is supported by the information in Source A which states that no one has been executed since 1996. This is significant because it shows that human rights violations appear to be in decline. Evidence from Source B also backs up the points in Sources A and C because it shows that Russia has better rights than China or Saudi Arabia. This is significant as it shows that comparatively, Russia does not have the lowest score on the political rights index (PRI). Overall, this evidence shows that the Russian Government has taken steps to address human rights abuses and complaints about such abuses have reduced.

However, there is evidence within the sources provided that suggest that Russia does not adequately protect the rights of its people. The evidence in Source A states that those involved in “political activity” are legally labelled as “foreign agents”. In Russia this is interpreted as a “spy” or “traitor”. This shows that citizens’ human right to protest and to express their views freely are being abused by the Government and not protected as the statement suggests. This is backed up by the information in Source B which shows that comparatively, the political rights of Russian people are among the weakest among other G20 members in 2015. Source B also shows that citizens’ political rights in Russia have declined since 1997. This shows that the political rights enjoyed by Russian people are weak and not protected by the Government.


Evidence from Source C mirrors this abuse of rights as it shows that when people write to complain about unfair court rulings, 25% of such complaints are in relation to abuses of citizens by police or prison staff. This shows that Russian citizens do not feel that their rights are protected by authority figures. Overall, it would be fair to conclude that people’s rights in Russia are not respected fully and in some areas are unprotected.

Overall, therefore the statement that Russia effectively protects the rights of its citizens is largely inaccurate as it has made it very difficult for any campaign groups to operate without fear of repercussions.  Although there have been no executions since 1996 and jury trials are more common, basic political rights have been denied. The Political Rights Index supports this conclusion as Russia’s rating is declining over time and is only better than China and Saudi Arabia.

(10 marks)


The technique

Paragraph 1 – evidence to show support for the viewpoint.

Evidence from Source A shows that….  This is significant because….(link to the statement)

This is mirrored by the evidence in Source B which reveals…. This is significant because…(link to the question)

The evidence in Source C backs this up when it points to….This is significant because… (link to the question)

Overall, this evidence shows that the statement is partially accurate because…


Paragraph 2 – evidence to oppose support for the viewpoint.

Evidence from Source A shows that….  This is significant because….(link to the statement)

This is mirrored by the evidence in Source B which reveals…. This is significant because…(link to the question)

The evidence in Source C backs this up when it points to….This is significant because… (link to the question)

Overall, this evidence shows that the statement is only partially accurate because…


Paragraph 3 – Overall judgement.

Overall, therefore the statement ………is largely untrue/largely true/partially accurate because…… One one hand …..(give a brief comment/evidence about one side of the argument) On the other hand however it must be concluded that (give a comment on the other side of the argument that you think is more convincing and then give a reason/evidence to support this final judgement)

You can find another accuracy question to practise here (pages 6 & 7)

The Conclusions Question (1).png

The question answered can be found via the SQA website via this link (pages 7-8)


One conclusion that can be drawn about minimum unit pricing (MUP) and consumption by socio economic group is that MUP has lowered consumption levels for poorer people but made no difference to the middle and upper classes (Conclusion with judgement)

Source C highlights this as it shows that those form classes CDE drink 2 units less than they did before MUP was introduced, whereas those from classes AB remain unchanged, still drinking 12 units a week. (Source point). This is a clear indication that MUP has impacted poorer classes more than middle to upper classes. (Analysis)

This is mirrored by the evidence in Source A which states that ‘drinkers who live in poverty used to purchase approximately 500 units of alcohol per year, for less than 50p per unit, however after a year of MUP this figure has decreased’. (Link to another source) This is significant as it shows the link between MUP, consumption and socio-economic group. (Analysis)

3 Marks

One conclusion that can be drawn about MUP and crime rates is that the impact of MUP on crime is mixed especially amongst different types of crime. (Conclusion with judgement)

Source A shows that high tariff crimes such as murder and violence show a small decrease in recent years but it is debateable whether this has any relation to MUP. (Source point) This shows that there may not be a direct correlation between serious crimes and MUP. (Analysis)

Source B shows that both violent and hate crimes have decreased since MUP was introduced but only by a small amount. Source A states that MUP may have actually caused a rise in crime as supermarkets have reported a rise in theft of alcohol. (Link to another source(s)) This shows the mixed impact that MUP has had in that it has had a limited impact on reducing crime and for some types of crime, MUP may have had a negative impact by increasing crime rates. (Analysis)

3 Marks

One conclusion that can be drawn about the impact of MUP and health is that increasing the price of some alcohol has had an impact on the drinking habits and health of some groups. (Conclusion with judgement)

Source A states that MUP aims to make dangerous ‘binge drinking’ more expensive and that ‘binge drinking’ is a major cause of hospitalisation. (Source point) This shows that increasing the price of alcohol could help to tackle dangerous drinking habits and reduce hospitalisation for such behaviour. (Analysis)

This links with Source B which shows that alcohol related hospital admissions in Scotland have reduced since MUP was introduced in 2018 and it shows that it is projected to continue to decrease. (Link to another source) This shows that MUP has had and will continue to have a positive impact on reducing alcohol related admissions to hospital in Scotland. (Analysis)

3 Marks

Overall, it would be fair to conclude that MUP has changed the drinking habits of some groups but the majority of people (63%) have continued to drink in the same way. MUP has reduced consumption of alcohol in some lower-class groups but critics argue that it is not the ‘prosecco drinking well-to-do in society that MUP affects, it is the everyday person trying to buy a drink that he or she can afford’ (Source A). This means that MUP has not fully worked to change the drinking habits of all people in society. (OC with supporting evidence not already used)

2 Marks

The technique

Make a conclusion that includes a judgement + Source point + Analysis + Link to another Source + Analysis x 3 + Overall Conclusion + Supporting evidence not already used.

You can find another conclusions question to practise here (pages 2-4)


The question answered can be found via the SQA website via this link (pages 7-8)

Source A is reliable to a certain extent. This is because it was written in January 2016. This makes it a reliable source of information and it was published recently and is up to date. In addition, Source can be described as reliable and trustworthy as it is taken from a respected newspaper, The Independent. Although the article may have a liberal bias, the journalist would have likely followed journalistic ethics when conducting his interview. The source may be unreliable because it only offers one person’s viewpoint.


Source B IS reliable to an extent because it is taken from IPSOS Mori, a respected professional polling organisation used by many media outlets. The information shows a public opinion survey of the biggest issues people are facing in the UK. The sample is labelled as ‘representative’  and therefore, although small in number, is likely to be reliable as it may reflect the diversity in terms of race and gender of the UK population.

Source C is reliable to an extent. Source C is a screenshot from the Channel 4 News website. This makes the source reliable as Channel 4 is a respected news broadcaster and one that is trusted by many people in the UK for their balanced investigative journalism. However, the Source is limited in its reliability as it shows a report from 2009 which is not up to date information.


Overall, Source B is the most the reliable of the three sources because it is up to date information having been published in January 2016 and it is representative of more than one person’s views which is shown in Source A. Source B is also more reliable than Source C because Source B is an impartial polling organisation whereas Channel 4 news may adopt a liberal political agenda when reporting the news and the news report shows an incident in 2009 which is out of date.

In order to score highly in this type of source question, you need to interpret and evaluate three complex sources of information and evaluate each in terms of reliability. Sources may be written, numerical, graphical or pictorial. This question is worth 8 marks.


The technique

Source A is reliable to a certain extent/not very reliable.


This is because it is….(published by…./written in (date) or is/is not a large sample size) or This reduces its reliability because…./This makes it a reliable source of information because….…(it is more objective/up to date/impartial/from a respected news publication).


In addition Source A reveals...(add in additional piece of information).


This means that Source A is likely to be reliable because…(it is more objective/up to date/impartial/from a respected news publication) or This means that Source A is likely to be less reliable because…(it is known to be left/right wing which means that…./it was written a long time ago which means that…. …/the article was written by a well-known Conservative MP which means that….)


Do the above for Sources B and C also

Overall, Source A is the most the most reliable source because….and…….


Source A is also likely to be more reliable than Source B because… and more reliable than Source C because…..

You can find another conclusions question to practise here (pages 8-9)

Further practice of evaluating the reliability of sources

(some are trickier than others)

  1. A blog about the importance of electoral reform.

  2. Fox news reporting on Republican policies.

  3. An open letter written by Nicola Sturgeon to The Scotsman newspaper.

  4. Statistical data from the World Health Organisation.

  5. An opinion poll by Ipsos MORI.

  6. An article from The Daily Record about Jeremy Corbyn.

  7. An article from the Daily Mail about welfare spending cuts.

  8. An article about the Conservative Government in the FT.

  9.  A UK Government report about the success of PREVENT.

  10. A UK Government report about welfare spending cuts.

  11. A report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation about welfare spending cuts.

  12. A SNP manifesto about Brexit.

  13. An extract from a speech by Paul Nuttall about Brexit.

  14. A BBC news report about the Scottish independence referendum.

  15. A radio transcript from BBC World Service about Teresa May.

  16. A Wikipedia page about the Chinese Government’s record on human rights abuses.

  17. An extract from a speech made by an Amnesty International representative about the Turkish Government’s treatment of its people.

  18. A Modern Studies textbook chapter published in 2010 about healthcare provision in the US.

  19.  A journal article written by the British Medical Association (BMA) about the health dangers related to alcohol consumption.

  20. A graph from The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) showing the main targets for terror attacks in 2016.

  21. An article written in The Telegraph on 19 September 2014 about the results of the Scottish referendum.

  22. An article written by the Royal College of Nursing about life expectancy in London.

  23. A pamphlet created by a group of English farmers about the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), September 2014.

  24. A transcript from a Russian government-backed news broadcast, Sputnik TV.

  25.  A pie chart showing the number of people that die of smoking-related diseases as a result of smoking, published by ASH (Action on Smoking and Health)

  26. An interview with a member of Fathers 4Justice about the issues related to custody of children.

  27.  A news broadcast from North Korean state television.

  28. An adapted source about the need to reform the House of Lords.

  29. An article published by WikiLeaks about Hilary Clinton’s email activity.

  30. A tweet from Donald Trump.

  31. A transcript of a Press Briefing from the White House given by Press Secretary, Sean Spicer.

  32. A graph to show the number of hate crimes against Muslims by pressure group Tell MAMA.

  33. A table to show the 2015 General Election results for the UK Parliament, published on 10 May 2015.

  34. An article in The Economist about the demise of Labour.

  35. An article in the New Statesman about the demise of the Conservative Party.

  36. An extract from a speech by Tony Blair about Brexit.

  37. A diary entry written by Nick Clegg about his commitment to abolishing university tuition fees.

  38. An extract from the Bible.

  39. An extract from the Koran.

  40. Breitbart news article about attacks by Hamas on the Israeli Defence Force.

Reliability evaluation table

Higher Modern Studies Revision Workbooks

The workbooks below are available for free download and can be used for educational purposes only. The workbooks follow directly the course notes books above.

Social Issues (Social Inequalities) Revision Workbook:

Political Issues Revision Workbook

International Issues (International Terrorism) Revision Workbook

International Terrorism Learning & Teaching Resources

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This resource offers 35 sources taken from the Global Terrorism Index 2019. Pupils can work through in groups, individually or as a class, drawing conclusions about each piece of data. Click on the box above to download the pdf version. Click here for the power point version. The value in this task is the practise of source analysis skills required for N5 and Higher, the teaching of content through graphical interpretation, inferring meaning, working collaboratively and developing numeracy skills.

Analyse the social causes of internation

Download an exemplar 12-mark response to the question 'Analyse the social causes of an international issue that you have studied'. Available as a pdf or power point presentation.

Higher Political Issues Learning & Teaching Resources

Pressure Groups

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Higher Social Issues Learning & Teaching Resources