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Thesis Project

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Soka University Japan, Transcend Art and Peace
Created: January 31, 2002
Latest Update: January 31, 2002

E-Mail jeannecurran@habermas.org

Women and AIDS in Africa

By Jolie Gibbs

Copyright: Jeanne Curran, Susan R. Takata, and Jolie Gibbs: January 2002.
and Individual Authors. "Fair Use" encouraged.

  • Abstract or How to Start
  • jeanne's suggestions for Introduction
  • Introduction - Julie's Answers to the Questions

    On Thursday, January 31, 2002, Jolie Gibbs wrote:

    To: jeannecurran@habermas.org
    Subject: Thesis info
    Hi, Jeanne

    Here is the abstract for my thesis, I am not sure if you want to ok everything I have up to now or just certain things. This is the layout I have so far:

    • Abstract
    • Chapter 1
      • HIV and Effects on Women
      • AIDS and Social Behaviors
      • Purpose of the Study
      • Research Question
    • Chapter 2 (Lit. review... still working on this)
    • Chapter 3 Methods and Procedures. I will send each section seprately and make changes according to your comments. I have been looking at your advice for Berthena's thesis, and that has helped. O.K. let me know if I need to make any changes, Thank You. Jolie Gibbs

On Thursday, January 31, 2002, jeanne responded:

Good start, Jolie. But before you start sending me chunks of chapters, I'd like to get a very clear grasp of where we're going with this. It seems to me that you were interested in the effects that AIDS is having in Africa. Are you still going to take that approach? Or are you going to focus on some other aspect of the AIDS crisis? Oops, I just noticed that you attached your Abstract. OK, So there you've clarified that you are going to deal with the effects in Africa, and that you are going to deal particularly with the effects on women, and how to prevent them. That's a step in delimiting.

  1. Give me in a sentence or two what it is that you want your main focus to be. Then we can talk about how to delimit it. I'll settle for an abstract much later, once we see what barriers we encounter and how the thesis project develops.



ABSTRACT
This thesis project explores some plausible reasons for the high concentration of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) which causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) among women in Africa, and presents a descriptive analysis of social factors. The project further explores high risk behavior that may predispose African women to acquiring the disease and discusses possible ways to reduce infection rates. The African community and social behavior is explored through utilization of data gathered from various books, journals and on-line sources. The possible correlation of individual behavior and the social and cultural impacts on that behavior will be examined. The successful prevention of the spread of HIV and AIDS in this culture relies on the acknowledgement of the tremendous influence of cultural values of sexual behavior and health behavior, as well as the socialization process of African women and their lack of education about the disease. Impoverished African women live in conditions that perpetuate high risk behavior. This analysis indicates probable causes that are most critical are the family structure, economic and social structure and how they identify themselves within that structure correlate to high risk behavior in the Aids epidemic in Africa.

jeanne's comments:

Blue = minor word changes or typos in editing

Green = idea leap or a mixed up sentence that wants to be read out loud and straightened out.

  • The African community and social behavior is explored through utilization of data gathered from various books, journals and on-line sources.

    I think you mean here secondary analysis, where you use data that has previously been collected by someone else. I think you should use the term "secondary analysis."

    Generally, in sociology, when we speak of secondary analysis, we mean that we take someone else's data and reanalyze it in the hope of finding new explanations, new theories, confirming new hypotheses, etc. You would then use data collected, for example, in a national or international survey and try to establish new hypotheses and conclusions. I don't think this is what you want to do. I think you want to gather this information from a broad variety of sources to compile a focussed guide for those of us in the U.S. to be able to grasp the extent and nature of the problem faced by women with the AIDS epidemic in Africa.

    If that's accurate, then rephrase it so that it suits you. If not, please clarify for me. In any case, this is a different approach to theory. You are rethinking the data and the theories that have been offered and collected, but you are more importantly creating a resource document either to educate the American lay public, or to educate social work professionals who need to study the issue and find plausible ways to deal with it, or for curricular purposes to help educate the African women themselves. Don't try to do them all. But this difference in focus is what leads me to call this a thesis project instead of a thesis. You are not trying to rewrite theory on the structural and cultural factors that explain why Africa has the AIDS problem. You are trying to assimilate that knowledge in order to condense it into some useful form that can be used by those who need it. A project, not a formal theoretical research.

  • This analysis indicates probable causes that are most critical are the family structure, economic and social structure and how they identify themselves within that structure correlate to high risk behavior in the Aids epidemic in Africa.

    In this last sentence of the abstract one of those are's leads to an awkward reading. And the verb correlate is confused, or at least I am. I think if you just say it out loud, you'll be able to straighten it out.



Chapter 1: Introduction and Background

  • Tell me in a paragraph or so what made you want to study this. Make it personal; a thesis is personal. It's a lot of work. What led you to choose this topic for so much effort?
    • HIV and Effects on Women
    • AIDS and Social Behaviors
    • Purpose of the Study
    • Research Question

    jeanne's comments:

    Eek! Now this is a Ph.D. research project. This is why we delimit.

    HIV and Effects on Women needs to be a whole section that will give me and others an up-close and personal feeling for what it feels likes to be a woman with AIDS in Africa. Some short narratives by African women. Some descriptive medical information, so that we will know what it feels like, what they can't do, what scares them the most, etc. Some overall statistics that could help us situate these local narratives in the bigger picture. And some information on the medicine crisis. Father Peter referred to that, and there should be much information available.

    Now, all that would help me have a better grasp of what's going on, would help me empathize more with the plight. I'd give that a whole section by itself, if that's what you want to accomplish.

    AIDS and Social Behaviors is a complex theoretical piece. This is kind of like searching for the antecedent causes of juvenile delinquency. The AIDS article I just put up on the site gives some factors, including apartheid, said to be at the root of the rape of young children in connection with the AIDS crisis in South Africa. But you won't be able to resolve the role of the several underlying factors in one thesis project. Just look at the literature on the causes of juvenile delinquency.

    So how on earth can we delimit this section? How about doing a review of the factors that have been identified in the literature, and interspersing some local narrative to help us empathize with the real world in which this crisis is occurring? Once again, this moves us towards a thesis project, instead of a thesis. Much more manageable.

    The Purpose of the Study and the Research Question

    I think these should be right in the introduction. As you describe why you want to do the project, we'll get this information. I always identify research questions with hypotheses we're going to test. I'm not sure that's what you want to do. Could we talk instead about the Project Report and its proposed usefulness, and maybe some confirmation of the fact that somebody out there needs it?

    For example, where there are governmental and non-governmental agencies trying to render help in the AIDS crisis, you could contact them and verify the need for a project such as this. Don't be alarmed if not everyone greets you with open arms. There are lots of us out there with many different needs. You can ask many of your intended office and report what our reactions are. See? A mini-survey! Also known as a needs assessment.

    That always strengthens any final report, to show that someone out there wants it. Paulo Freire would say that we need to consult with our intended community to permit them to share in the shaping of the project. They might have questions we never thought of.

    Link to Introduction.