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Case Study: Influences of Social Structures on Health Decision-Making

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Case Study 2: Influences of Social Structures on Health Decision-Making
The goal of this assignment is to apply course concepts to analyze structural and systemic influences on health decision-making and behavior.
Choose a location where people might receive health messages or make health-related decisions, broadly defined. This could be a fast-food restaurant or grocery store, the waiting room of a public clinic, a gym or vitamin shop, etc. The location you choose should provide some insight into spaces, structures, systems, people, etc. who are influencing health decision-making and behaviors. In other words, don’t just sit on the beach and watch people jogging; you are unlikely to get much insight into what shapes health decisions and behaviors.
Conduct 30 minutes of observation in that location. Pay attention to things like the physical space, such as signs, menus, and layout; the people coming and going and interacting in the space; what behaviors people are engaged in and what factors seem to influence those behaviors. If you can watch and take notes unobtrusively, do so. If not, take notes immediately after leaving.
Your presence should be as natural and unobtrusive as possible. Consider whether your presence in a location might make people uncomfortable, expose you to private/sensitive information, or otherwise might not be the best choice for this assignment. Do not do anything unsafe, illegal, unethical, or otherwise problematic to complete this assignment.
Reflecting on your observation, identify 3 concepts from the course that are reflected in what you saw. Remember that the focus is on structures and systems. For each concept, briefly define it and then describe how aspects of your observation relate to the course concept – they might demonstrate these concepts, contradict them, etc. Be specific/concrete and clear.
Assignment submission should be 3-5 pages total, and include:
Half- to one-page summary of your observations.
2-page write-up connecting observation material to course concepts (about 2/3 of a page per concept).
Half- to one-page reflection on the process of completing the observation. This might include things like reflections on the learning process through observation vs. course readings, learning how to conduct an observation, and what aspects of health decision-making your observation might have missed or that might not be accessible to an observer.
Specifications (for all case studies):
Submit assignments as Microsoft Word documents (not PDFs)
Use Times New Roman, 12-point font, double-spaced, with 1” margins
Include a heading indicating your name, the course number, the assignment, and the date
Include a list of references at the end of the document (this does not count towards required or maximum page numbers)
You are not required to, but you may reference course authors in-text or parenthetically by last name, e.g., (Ehrenreich). For material from the course, please do not include titles of publications, years, or references to class such as “Walkover lecture.”
You do not have to reference anything from outside of class, but if you do, please include an in-text/parenthetical citation as well as a complete citation at the end of your write-up (references will not count towards the page limit).

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