How can sociology, and particularly the concept(s) of X, be used to explain patterns of Y in relation to Z in Australia?

Sociological Essay
STEP 1 Build an essay question using the following formula, based on the health issue and population groups used in your Health Statistics Summary (HSS):
How can sociology, and particularly the concept(s) of X, be used to explain patterns of Y in relation to Z in Australia?
X – Sociological concept Y – Health issue Z – Social determinant
Class and capital
Social norms
Sick role
Alcohol consumption
Heart disease
Sexually Transmissible
Anxiety and/or depression
Family and Domestic or
Sexual Violence
Aboriginal & Torres Strait
Islander or non-Indigenous
Socio-economic status
Geographical location (e.g.
urban or rural/remote)

How can sociology, and particularly the concepts of class and capital, be used to explain patterns of smoking in relation to age in Australia?
NB, it might be necessary to tweak the social determinant to mention specific groups depending on your HSS. So if in the HSS you narrowed your focus to be suicide in rural compared to urban men you might not state ‘gender’ as the social determinant and instead phrase your question something like:
How can sociology, and particularly the concept of social norms, be used to explain patterns of suicide in relation to urban and rural men in Australia?
If in doubt, have a go at constructing a question and then consult your tutor as to whether it would be appropriate.
STEP 2 Research the sociological concept chosen:
• Familiarise yourself with the key sociologists and what their theories were about the
Ø? Make sure you have the spelling of theorist names and concepts correct!
• Find out whether the concepts have already been used by others to explain the health issue chosen, and what conclusions were drawn.
• What have sociologists said about the health issue and population group already?
• Depending on the concept and health issue, others might have written about this over long periods of time, or in diverse global locations. It is important to include hese as you can then compare how the relevance of the concept in the current Australian context might be similar or different.
• Also, find examples of other health issues and social determinants that have been explained using the concept.
• Use credible sources – these should include the textbook, all relevant readings from the topic Reading Schedule, and additional sources that you have searched for and found yourself. These could include (but are not limited to):
Other sociological textbooks:
Germov, J. (2014) Second opinion: an introduction to health sociology, 5th edn, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, Vic.
Gray, D. (2006) Health Sociology: An Australian Perspective, Pearson Education Australia, Sydney.
Giddens, A. & Sutton, P. (2014) Essential Concepts in Sociology. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Giddens, A. & Sutton, P. (2013) Sociology. 7th Edition. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Grbich, C. (2004) Health in Australia: sociological concepts and issues, 3rd ed., Pearson
Longman, Sydney, NSW.
Nettleton, S. (2013) The Sociology of Health and Illness. 3rd Edition. Cambridge: Polity
White, K. (2006) An Introduction to the Sociology of Health and Illness 2nd Edition London:
Sage Publications.
Willis, K, & Elmer, S. (2007) Society, Culture and Health: an introduction for Nurses, Oxford
University Press, Melbourne.
Articles in sociological or health related peer reviewed journals:
American Sociological Review
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology
Australian Journal of Social Issues
Australian Journal of Public Health
Critical Public Health
British Journal of Sociology
Health Sociology Review
International Journal of Health Promotion
International Review of Health Services
Qualitative Health Research
Social Science and Medicine
Sociology of Health and Illness
Appropriate sources do NOT include:
Lectures, lecture notes/slides
Newspaper articles
Health promotion material
STEP 3 Write a formal academic essay answering the question that you have created.
The essay should cover the following required elements (referred to in the rubric):
ü? General definition and overview of the ‘sociological imagination’.
ü? Explain why sociology is useful in helping us to challenge the dominance of
biomedicine and understand health and health care as shaped by biopsychosocial
ü? Synopsis of the epidemiological data found relating specifically to the health issue
and chosen population group in Australia (this can be adapted from the latter parts
and conclusion of your Health Statistics Summary). This should explain clearly how
the health issue impacts significantly on the chosen groups.
ü? Review any existing sociological literature explaining the issue/population group
ü? Detailed discussion of the chosen sociological concept. This should:
o Introduce the reader to the relevant theorist (or theorists)
o Give a detailed history and definition of the concept
o Explain how the concept is useful in relation to health (provide examples of
how it has been used by others)
ü? Application of the concept to the chosen issue and population groups. This should:
o Make clear links between the concept and the data found
o Explain what power relations underpin the experiences of the health issue for
the specific population.
o Make reference to the structure-agency debate, using the chosen sociological
concept to explain the structural factors that constrain individuals’ abilities to
control or determine health
ü? Provide a logical argument for the value of using sociology and the specific concept
in order to understand individual experiences of health
ü? Mention briefly other relevant concepts and theorists that could be used as
alternative or complementary ways of framing the issue
ü? Briefly discuss the implications for health care practice and the importance of health
care professionals to consider the social factors that shape health.
Provide evidence to support all of the statements made in the essay. Do not make any
claims without appropriate referencing. If you are unsure about this then consult the
Referencing guidelines on the Student Learning Centre FLO site, and also go through the
Academic Integrity at Flinders topic on FLO – ACINT001. Choose either APA or Harvard
referencing and follow the appropriate guidelines on FLO closely.
As a guide the following structure should be followed. See also the Essay Assignment
Planner, also available on FLO for you to use to as a more detailed planning tool.

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