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Sociology of Medicine and Health

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The purpose of the research paper is to give each student the opportunity to demonstrate

that they can investigate the effects of social factors on health. The goal of the assignment

is to strengthen scientific thinking and writing. The objective is for each student to write

an objective, logical, fact-based paper using evidence from high quality scientific

research sources.

Option 1

Investigate the effects of one social factor on one specific disease — example,

gender and lung cancer. Thesis: gender is a significant causal factor in lung

cancer morbidity and mortality. (This is not a factual example.)

Option 2

Investigate the relationship between one specific disease and multiple social factors

— example, stroke and the three social factors with the greatest impact on stroke

mortality or morbidity or both. Thesis: age, race, and gender have the greatest

social impact on mortality due to stroke. (This is not a factual example.)

Option 3

Investigate the relationship between one social factor and three different diseases that

are related with the chosen social factor — example, three main causes of death for

women. Thesis: lung cancer, heart disease, and influenza are three leading causes

of death among women. (This is not a factual example.)

Option 4

Investigate one social factor and one or more health occupations— example,

gender differences among nurses and physicians. Thesis: Changes in the

proportion of men and women who are nurses and physicians are more reflective

of changes in gender roles than in health professions. (This is not a factual


Option 5

Investigate social differences in health or illness behavior— example, gender and

age differences in health services utilization. Thesis: during childhood and after age

50, differences in health services utilization for men and women are similar, but

during the middle years women use health services much more than men. (This is

not a factual example.)

Option 6

Investigate something more adventurous. Must be approved in advance.

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