The Social Science Group, led by Dr Simon Cohn, has been set up to investigate the wider social and cultural aspects of health and illness. By investigating both what people say and what they do, the key purpose is to explore the links between specific issues (such as the delivery of an intervention) and broader contexts. Particular attention is paid to a practice –orientated approach, and to resist assuming the individual is always the best unit of analysis. In this way both clinical and non-clinical colleagues can develop a set of analytical approaches and theoretical tools that extend the Unit's overall research trajectory. Because most members will formally be members of another Unit group as part of a multidisciplinary team, there is also a more open Social Analysis of Health Network.
Social Analysis of Health Network
This network, led by Dr Simon Cohn, connects researchers from various backgrounds within and beyond the Department of Public Health, including the MRC Epidemiology Unit, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, MRC Human Nutrition Research and PhD students across the University.
The work of the network is to critically contribute and respond to shifts in health research, which increasingly acknowledge the complex interactions that constitute care. As a consequence, it aims to address the plurality of experiences, responses and understandings of both patients and professionals which make up the practices of health, disease and illness. Rather than being defined by methodology, the common focus is to explore underlying theoretical perspectives which inform research, from initial questions through to analysis. The integration of a range of disciplines from humanities and the social sciences is key to generating different kinds of questions and ultimately new insights for applied research.
A full list of members is available here.
Current Research Interests and Projects
- Analysing notions of choice and consent – such as interrogating the concept of informed choice in primary care, issues of choice in relation to end of life provision, and the everyday ethics relating to resuscitation practices
- Exploring the social context of people’s everyday activities – such as looking at the social dimensions of weightloss programmes, ideas of safety that underlie children’s play, and the promotion of physical activity for the prevention of chronic disease
- Looking at the experience of disease – including critically researching the role of peer support for the management of diabetes and the concept of time and temporalities in screening for Type 2 diabetes
- Looking at issues of trust between patients and doctors, people and sources of knowledge, and general perceptions of institutions such as the NHS – for example in relation to the communication of risk and the ways in which patient perspectives are currently measured and used by doctors, nurses and managers
A full list of the group’s publications are available here. Key publications include:
- Stronge, P. (2012) A confusion of tenses: health screening and time. Health, doi: 10.1177/1363459312460700
- Edwards, D., Cohn, S. R., Mavaddat, N., Virdee, S. K., Lasserson, D., Milner, S., Mant, J. (2012). Varying uses of the ABCD2 scoring system in primary and secondary care: a qualitative study.. BMJ Open, 2(6). doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001501
- Cohn, S., Fritz, Z. B., Frankau, J. M., Laroche, C. M., & Fuld, J. P. (2012). Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation orders in acute medical settings: a qualitative study.. QJM. doi:10.1093/qjmed/hcs222
- Boase, S., Mason, D., Sutton, S., & Cohn, S. (2012). Tinkering and tailoring individual consultations: How practice nurses try to make cardiovascular risk communication meaningful. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 21(17-18), 2590-2598.
- Borgstrom, E., Barclay, S., & Cohn, S. (2012). Constructing denial as a disease object: accounts by medical students meeting dying patients.. Social Health Illn. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9566.2012.01487.x
- Boase, S., Kim, Y., Craven, A., & Cohn, S. (2012). Involving practice nurses in primary care research: The experience of multiple and competing demands. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 68(3), 590-599.