Social Sciences: Medical Anthropology

Department: Anthropology

Supervising Faculty Member: China Scherz

Specialization: Medical Anthropology

Research Focus: I am currently leading a collaborative qualitative study on alcohol use and abuse in Uganda. The collaborative team is made up of Ugandan researchers working in Uganda and undergraduate students at the University of Virginia.   Our research is primarily focused on two questions.  (1) We want to understand how and why Ugandans are starting to become concerned about alcohol abuse as an important public policy problem.  (2) We want to understand how spiritual experiences interact with shifts in social networks to influence processes of personal transformation and health-related behavioral change over time.

Position Description: The USOAR students working on the study will participate on the research team in the following ways:

  1. They will attend weekly lab meetings.
  2. They will learn to search the Ugandan English language newspaper archives for articles related to alcohol and substance abuse.
  3. They will learn to code the content of these articles using a qualitative data analysis software called Dedoose.
  4. They will learn to analyze the coded articles to look for trends over time.
  5. They will learn to interpret these articles and test hypotheses about relevant themes.

Required skills: Basic computer skills
Excellent organizational skills
Capable of both independent and team based work
Some prior coursework in anthropology or other social sciences preferred

Computer software: No, training will be provided

Training/certification: CITI research ethics training required

What you will learn:

  1. Identify relevant themes in a newspaper article
  2. Understand the significance of fluctuations of codes over time
  3. Analyze the different discourses used to discuss a topic of public concern.