For the Research Paper assignment, you will investigate the epidemiological aspects of a health condition or disease of public health significance and critically review the effectiveness of (a) an actual program that uses a health education approach for the primary prevention of the condition and (b) a health policy or regulation that is being used to help prevent the condition. You will be able to choose the disease topic of your own interest from the attached topic list of both communicable and non-communicable conditions.
The research report is an opportunity to investigate your health topic in detail and practice longer form academic writing. Below is the suggested structure although you may choose to have additional subheadings specific to your topic. Please ensure that you use academic language (non-emotive) and cite sources of all information. You should use a minimum of 10 authoritative references including at least 5 peer-reviewed journal articles to support your Research Paper which should not exceed 1500 words in length.
1.0 Introduction (5%) [~125 words]
In this section you should introduce your topic, describe what your report is about, and define any necessary terms. At the end of the introduction, include a clear statement of purpose. You will need one to two paragraphs and this section should include references.
2.0 Epidemiological aspects of health topic (25%) [~ 450 words]
In this section you should describe who the health issue affects (populations of interest), how many it affects (prevalence and incidence) and how badly it affects them (morbidity and mortality). You should include statistics (where appropriate) such as:
• trends of the health issue in Australia (or another relevant country) over at least 8–10 years (is this issue increasing or decreasing in severity/impact?);
• gender and/or age differences in those affected; and
• any vulnerable or marginalised groups disproportionately affected.
• specific social determinants and/or risk factors
Please use sub-headings to organize the information in this section. Consider whether a table, graph or image would be useful. Ensure that tables or graphs are properly labelled and the source identified and referenced. Sources may include journal articles, publications from government and semi-government bodies, and research statistics. Where you are citing statistics, please ensure they are from reference sources that were published in the last five years.
3.0 Rationale/justification for public health action (10%) [~175 words]
In this section you should make a persuasive case for public health action to address your chosen health condition. Compelling reasons for taking public health action can include the public health burden (in terms of morbidity and/or mortality) caused by the disease condition and the economic burden from costs to to the health system due to hospitalisations, medical interventions or treatment, and health personnel costs. An important consideration is also whether there are cost-effective primary preventive interventions available for the condition.
4.0 Primary prevention 1 (Health Education) (15%) [~325 words]
In this section you should describe ONE program that is (or has been in the past) used to prevent the health condition and that would be considered to fit within a Health Education approach as discussed in the unit. A program is a specific set of activities used to change someone’s behaviour or reduce their risk of disease by a specific organisation or government department. Do not discuss a broad approach such as social marketing or peer education. Find a specific program that has been implemented and evaluated (i.e. has been tested to see if it was successful in some way) – you may use government or organisational websites for this section. Describe the features of the program and what impact it has had on the epidemiology of the health topic. If you cannot find a program in the country you have discussed in the previous section find one in a similar country and explain how it could be relevant to your context. Remember, the program should be a primary prevention type, not a secondary or tertiary prevention program.
5.0 Primary prevention 2 (Policy) (15%) [~325 words]
In this section you should describe ONE policy/law/regulation that could be used to prevent this health issue from occurring. Describe the features of the policy/law and how it impacts the epidemiology of the health topic. Prioritise identifying a policy/law/regulation that has actually been implemented (even if not in your country of choice). For some health topics this may be difficult in which case find a policy/law/regulation that has been recommended by experts in peer reviewed journal articles.
6.0 Conclusion (5%) [~100 words]
In this section you should remind the reader of the overall content and purpose of the report. Reiterate why your health issue requires action. Include information regarding who is most at risk and who health promotion programs should be aimed at in the future (e.g. whole population or a particular target group). Don’t include any new information in the Conclusion and references are generally not necessary for this section.
7.0 References (5%)
You should use a minimum of ten authoritative references including at least five peer-reviewed journal articles (published since 2010). There is no maximum number of references. You may also consider information sourced from authoritative sites on the Internet such as the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare, Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Referencing is tedious and requires patience and discipline but it is not difficult. Do not try to remember how to reference. Always have your referencing guide by you when you are writing a reference and make sure you follow it exactly. The alternative is to use Endnote (referencing software that automatically formats your references). You will be required to use Endnote for assessments later in your degree so it is worth becoming familiar with it now.
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