For this assignment, you will:
use the online tools of the Sprague Library to search for ONE peer-reviewed article from a peer-reviewed public health journal,
register the article you found so that no other students in HLTH 204 pick the same article,
upload the article in full-text, PDF form (not just a URL, hyperlink, or abstract – you need the FULL article!), and
write and upload a short summary to explain how THEORY is used by the researchers to address the public health problem they studied
The purpose of this assignment is to:
Give students practice at the skill of “literature search” – a valuable skill needed in many public health jobs
Acquaint students with examples of peer-reviewed public health research
Show students concrete examples of the use of theory in the design of public health needs assessments, interventions (also known as “programs”), and program evaluations
Strengthen students’ ability to describe and explain the role of a health behavior theory as applied to real-world public health problems
1. Find your article
Public health journal articles inform us about all kinds of public health problems. Your article can be about any public health problem, so when you start your search you can either specify a health problem (for example, diabetes, or HIV, or “head injury”, or COVID-19, or smoking, or violence, or anxiety, etc. etc.). Or, you can do your search without specifying a particular health problem, and just use general search terms to find any theory-based public health study.
When you do a search, sometimes it helps to use quotation marks around multiple words, to help narrow-down what you seek. For example, look at how quote marks are used in this sample list of keywords for a search:
theory “lead poisoning” intervention
The student picked a specific health problem that interested them (lead poisoning), and they put quote marks around the two words so that the search engine would only look for articles related to this problem. If the student had not put quote marks around those two words, the search engine would look for articles related to ANY kind of poisoning (for example, curious children who accidentally drink bleach they found in a kitchen cabinet; or adults who get food poisoning at a restaurant). And without quote marks, the search engine might interpret the word lead to mean several things: the toxic metal, or the act of being a leader, or a clue or tip that helps a person (“I have a job lead for you!”). The quote marks help to focus the search and save you time.
Here’s another example:
In this search, the studies will be limited to those which took place in the U.S., rather than in other countries. If the student were interested in studies of smoking in some other specific country, they could replace “United States with keywords such as: China “Dominican Republic” (notice the quote marks – the country’s name is more than one word) Nigeria
3. Summarize your article
This might be the hardest part of the assignment. Academic research articles are often long, wordy, and filled with special terms and other jargon that many
people do not understand. Social and behavioral health scientists are very good at communicating with each other, but sometimes not so good at
communicating with the general public.
A tip which might help you:
Start by reading just the first sentence of each paragraph, until you reach the end of the article. Skip over any statistical tables for the moment. When you
reach the end of the article, go back to the beginning and then read the second sentence of each paragraph. Usually the most important information is
contained in the first one or two sentences of each paragraph. If you feel comfortable after getting that far, then try reading the whole thing – look carefully to
find the name of the theory (or theories) that the researchers used as the basis for their study. That information might be “buried” deeper inside one of the
Your challenge is to summarize just some very basic things about the article, to demonstrate your ability to describe and explain the role of a health behavior
theory as applied to real-world public health problems.
Preferably an article about Veterans, has to be theory based though.
For this assignment, you will: