Health Communication 430
 Changing Health Behavior
 Spring 2016



Brief description: In a paper of not more than three pages, display your grasp of course material by applying some concept(s) or principle(s) from class to some specific health behavior-change topic(s) or material(s). The assignment is graded on the basis of the extent to which the paper displays depth and breadth of understanding of course material.



Elaborated description:


The purpose of this assignment is to provide you with an opportunity to display your understanding of course material by applying (using) that material in some fashion. This might be done in a variety of ways. As examples of possible formats for applications:

            • A paper might analyze some health behavior intervention using concepts and principles from class. For example: “Here’s a health behavior-change intervention I know about that didn’t work as well as was hoped. One reason for that lack of success might be . . . < discussion here of ideas from the course >.”

            • A paper might describe how a given health behavior-change challenge might be approached using some theoretical framework discussed in class. For example: “Here’s a potential health behavior-change challenge . . . < description of the challenge >. One way of approaching that challenge might be . . . < discussion of a concept/principle/finding/framework from the course, showing how and why that idea might be useful in that particular application >.” Or, alternatively expressed, “Here is how you could use < idea X from the course > to develop a behavior-change intervention for behavior Y.”

            • A paper might analyze some health-related message (advertisement, brochure, etc.)  using concepts and principles from class. For example: “Here’s a health-related advertisement  Part of what’s going on is this ad is . . . < discussion here of ideas from the course >.”


A given paper might have more than one such application (i.e., many different applications can be discussed in a single paper); that is, there is no limit to the number of different course ideas that might be used in a paper (no limit, that is, apart from the practicalities of the three-page limit). So, depending, a paper might provide a lengthier treatment that displays in-depth grasp of one or two particular ideas/frameworks, or it might give several briefer applications of different ideas.


Remember that the point of the assignment is to assess your grasp of relevant course material, and hence your central interest should be to display such grasp. Have a care for clarity and correctness in composition; spelling, grammar, and the like will play a role in evaluation. Be certain that the content, organization, and wording of your paper is yours alone. You are welcome (but not expected or required) to refer to any reference materials you deem suitable, but be sure to provide appropriate bibliographic information for such materials. (Such bibliographic information does not count against the three page limit.)



Some anticipated questions:


Does it have to be three pages?

            No. But the assignment is graded on the extent to which it displays depth and breadth of understanding of course material. An answer that offers a superficial treatment of one idea will not be marked as favorably as an answer that offers deeper treatment of several ideas. (Expressed differently: You’ve got three pages to show what you’ve learned. Might as well use them.)


Can it be more than three pages?

            No. (If it’s more than three pages, we’ll read only the first three.)


Am I limited to talking about just one application (applying just one class concept to just one topic), or can I talk about more than one?

            You can certainly discuss more than one class concept. How many you discuss will depend on how complicated the various applications are.


Do the applications I discuss have to be related to one another? That is, can my paper talk about three unrelated ideas from the course, applied to three different situations?

            The applications you discuss do not have to be related to each other. It’s perfectly acceptable if the paper discusses several different unrelated ideas.


Can I take one basic concept and discuss several different applications of it?

            You can—but you might not want to. The assignment offers you the opportunity to display the breadth of your knowledge of course material. Showing that you understood one specific idea is not as compelling as showing that you understood several different ones.


Should the paper be written for a general audience (people with no background)?

            No. Think of the professor, the assistants, and other class members as the audience. Your audience is familiar with the ideas you’re applying (and so you need to explain those ideas only to the extent necessary to discuss their application).


For a given application paper, is the paper limited to drawing on course material that was presented since the previous application-paper deadline, or can material from any part of the course be used?

            Material from any part of the course can be used for any application paper. If you have a time machine that permits travel into the future, you can even discuss concepts we are going to cover in future sections of the course.



Practical details:


You are required to submit at least two application papers. You may submit as many as three. If you submit three, the two with the best grades will count toward the course grade. (If you submit only two, then of course those two grades are used.)


The maximum length for each paper is three double-spaced pages.


Papers are due on (i.e., will be accepted on) three dates:

            Application paper #1: due 2:00 p.m. Saturday 23 April

            Application paper #2: due 2:00 p.m. Saturday 7 May

            Application paper #3: due 2:00 p.m. Saturday 21 May


You must submit your paper in two forms, one hard copy (i.e., on paper) and one electronic. The content of the two forms must be identical; both forms must be received by the deadline.


Concerning the paper-form (hard copy) submission: Do not put your name on your paper submission; use your Northwestern student ID number. Your hard-copy paper is due at the start of class on the dates given above.


Concerning the electronic-form submission: Turn in the electronic version through the course’s Canvas site. You will need to have your paper in the form of a Word document. On the Canvas site, complete the relevant “application paper” assignment, which will involve attaching and submitting the relevant Word-document file. Your electronic-form paper is due by the start of class on the dates given above.


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