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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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    Abstract

    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
    Creators/Authors:
    CreatorsEmailORCID
    Rodgers, Corycoryj721@gmail.com
    ETD Committee:
    ETD Committee TypeCommittee MemberEmailORCID
    Thesis AdvisorDeWalt, Kathleenkmdewalt@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberTrostle, JamesJames.Trostle@trincoll.edu
    Committee MemberWoodward, Jamesjfw@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberCovington-Ward, Yolandaydc1@pitt.edu
    Title: Illness explanatory models in contemporary research: a critique of the Explanatory Model Interview Catalogue
    Status: Published
    Abstract: 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.
    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.
    Patent pending: No
    Number of Pages: 92
    Institution: University of Pittsburgh
    Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
    Refereed: Yes
    Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
    Uncontrolled Keywords: explanatory model, medical anthropology, EMIC, BEMI
    Schools and Programs: University Honors College
    Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Africana Studies
    Date Deposited: 25 May 2012 15:05
    Last Modified: 16 Jul 2014 17:06

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