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The paper should have three main parts: social epidemiology, social consequences, and theoretical framework. It should also include a reference section with at least six references (see grading worksheet below).



Select an illness, disability, injury, syndrome, or condition to do research on and to write and present about. There must be a body of literature about the illness. Chronic conditions generally have a body of literature associated with them because people have to adjust over long periods of time. Do not choose a mental illness unless you have received permission from the instructor. Please clear the topic with your instructor.

Describe the social epidemiology of the illness that you select. That is:

WHAT do they get and what is it? Describe the illness, its course/stages, and outcome. Please do not copy technical materials directly from websites.

WHO gets the illness? Who is at risk? Discuss characteristics of the at-risk or afflicted population.

WHERE are they located? That is, where are people with the illness located in terms of the social structure, or hierarchy? Or where, geographically? Where in the age, social class structure? Where, in terms of stress exposure or other risk factors? Keep in mind that the nature of the “where” could be very illness-dependent.

WHEN does it occur? When does it occur in terms of age, stage of development, or phase of life? Some diseases are seasonal. “When” could also refer to the conditions that must be met to produce the illness or factors that place the person at risk.

WHY does it occur? “Why” refers to the causation theories that currently or previously were seen in the literature.



What happens socially to people with the illness? What are the social consequences of having the illness in terms of major life areas? That is, what happens in family life and interaction, economic and occupational pursuits, marital relations, recreational and leisure pursuits, or everyday face to face interactions? Is there stigma associated with the illness? Is it obvious or hidden? You might wish to interview somebody who has the illness to get their perspective.

FOCUS on what the “group” of people with the disease experience and how the disease influences their daily lives.



Which sociological theories can be used to understand or to explain the illness? What theories are discussed in the literature on social epidemiology, illness experiences or consequences? Or, alternatively, bring together the conceptualizations from course or personal readings that allow you to construct an understanding of the illness. That is, after reading the literature, what theoretical explanation can you construct to explain the social behavior surrounding the illness? You are free to flex your conceptual muscles here.



PAPER LENGTH: 6-8 pages, excluding title and reference pages. The word count should be 1500-2000 words.

The paper should be typed, double-spaced, one-inch margins and Times New Roman 11-12 point font.



Most of your references should be from the social scientific and health/illness research literatures contained in scholarly journals and books. Wikipedia should NOT be used as a major reference source. It can be a starting point for ideas, but it’s not a scholarly reference. To locate appropriate literature you will need to go to the library or use the electronic services offered. Sociological Abstracts lists many pertinent articles, many of which are available on-line through JSTOR. Suggestions for electronic and printed sources are given in the Weitz text in the introduction. If you interview somebody with the illness, they can be used as a reference source.


I also suggest looking at the references listed at the end of the selections in the Weitz text. I have found the references (cited in text and listed at the end of the book) in these texts to be great sources of information for my own research.


CITATION STYLE: Please use the American Sociological Association reference style. I have also placed the American Sociological Association (ASA) style guide on the D2L course homepage.

Plagiarism detection software is used for this assignment. Please refer to the Medical Sociology Term Paper Module for American Sociological Association Style guides or use the following website.

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