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Illness explanatory models in contemporary research: a critique of the Explanatory Model Interview Catalogue

Rodgers, Cory (2012) Illness explanatory models in contemporary research: a critique of the Explanatory Model Interview Catalogue. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh.

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The Explanatory Model Interview Catalogue (EMIC) is a semi-structured interview guide used by cultural epidemiologists to collect data on illness representations in different cultural contexts. To facilitate planning of new services for AIDS-affected families, a modified version of the EMIC was employed to study representations of HIV in rural Karagwe, Tanzania. Results of this study are reported here, although research design problems limit the meaningfulness of these findings and raise questions of validity. By reflecting on the shortcomings in my study design as well as published criticisms of the explanatory model framework, I critique several trends in EMIC research. First is the tendency to reduce or even eliminate the preliminary ethnographic phase that precedes interviews. Second is the existence of problematic assumptions about cultural knowledge that characterize many EMIC studies, ignoring cognitive processes and reifying uncertain claims as concrete beliefs. Not all EMIC applications follow these trends, and attention is directed to exemplar studies that demonstrate anthropologically-attuned cultural epidemiological research.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorDeWalt,
Committee MemberTrostle,
Committee MemberWoodward,
Committee MemberCovington-Ward,
Date: 25 May 2012
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 30 September 2011
Approval Date: 25 May 2012
Submission Date: 20 April 2012
Release Date: 25 May 2012
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 92
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: University Honors College
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Africana Studies
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: explanatory model, medical anthropology, EMIC, BEMI
Date Deposited: 25 May 2012 19:05
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2014 21:06


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