Length: 2,500 words

Due: After Unit 3

This assignment requires you to write a 2,500-word (approximately 10 typed/word processed, double-spaced pages, not including the title page or reference section) critical essay on one of the following topics:

Women and the Canadian health care system
The impact of HIV and AIDS epidemics on women
Violence against women
Women and cancer
Health care and aging women
Women’s sexual and reproductive health
Activism and women’s health
Please consult your tutor before you begin this assignment.

Each of these topics represents a major issue in women’s health, and selecting one is the starting point in developing a critical research essay. An important component of this assignment is to have you define a precise “research question” that is not only relevant to one of these issues, but is also one that interests you. As you prepare your essay, you must ensure that your reader is aware of the exact nature of your research question and how you plan to address it.

Conducting a thorough review of the relevant literature in your selected topic area will help you narrow your focus on the specific area or question you have chosen to investigate. Using the methods, theory, and general knowledge that you have gained from the learning activities in the first three units of this course, you should be well prepared to critically analyze your subject in terms of its impact on women’s health. This critical analysis should integrate general theories of gender and health as well as any specific debates that pertain to your topic.

Portions of your research paper must include references, which are relevant to your analysis, that come from the required readings for this course. But, in addition to consulting the course materials provided, your paper must show evidence of research beyond these materials.

For this assignment, you are expected to include references that illustrate a variety of perspectives on your topic (historical, cultural, sociological, psychological, and so on) and that come from other sources (refereed journal articles, book chapters, books, and Internet articles). You can access such materials by doing Internet searches, by contacting the Athabasca University Library (see the “Library Services” section of this manual), or by visiting your local public library. (Note: Not all websites contain reliable or peer-reviewed content, and thus must be approached with caution. If you have doubts or questions about the information appearing on any website, consult your tutor. Your tutor can also advise you about the adequacy of your information and may suggest other resources for you to investigate.)

In total, your paper must make direct reference to at least ten sources you consulted in researching, preparing, and writing this essay.

Before beginning this assignment, take a few minutes to review the “Evaluation Guidelines for Assignments,” “Tips on Writing Essays and Research Papers,” “Plagiarism and Academic Misconduct,” and “Remarking Assignments” sections in this manual. If you have any difficulties preparing this assignment, contact your tutor immediately.

For more information on researching and academic writing style, proper referencing formats, and tips on scholarly essay writing, please consult the Athabasca University Library’s Digital Reference Centre. Click on “Help Centre” for guidance on research writing, citing and referencing, and Internet searching. The following online pamphlets will help clarify basic MLA and APA referencing styles:

Indiana University, MLA Style

Indiana University, PDF Style