BIDS 295 -- Alcohol Use and Abuse: Causes and Consequences


In addition to reading the texts, viewing the films, and attending class as outlined in the syllabus by the dates indicated, several required out-of-class assignments are described briefly below that will complement one another in meeting our goals for the course.

  1. Examinations.  There will be three examinations (February 19, April 2, and April 30), each based on the readings, films, and lecture/discussion materials for the preceding segment of the course.
  2. File of advertisements on alcohol use.   You will collect a file resulting in at least 25 advertisements on alcohol from at least three different popular current (2015) print or online commercial venues (i.e., in the context in which they were intended as commercial ads, not retrieved from a collection of ads on the topic of alcohol).  The ads should be selected to illustrate the multiple cultural themes that are used to “sell” alcohol to the public.  You should attach to each ad a notation of the publication source, the date it appeared, and your reflections on the subtle and not-so-subtle messages and cultural themes each ad employs to sell the product.  Also consider in your reflections the degree to which each ad informs or misinforms the public about the product and its effects.  The first installment of your advertisement file (including at least 10 ads with notations) will be collected at examination #1.   The second installment of your advertisement file (including at least 10 additional ads with notations) will be collected at examination #2.  The final installment (including at least 5 additional ads with notations) will be submitted April 23 in class.  The entire advertisement file will be used in discussion on April 23 as we assess how marketing media represents alcohol and its use as well as in the third exam.
  3. Term Research Project.  Each of you will choose a specific aspect of alcohol use (eg. cause, consequence, particular group pattern, particular physiological effect, social issue, or policy) to study in detail.  You may choose to base the project entirely on research literature or on a combination of research literature and some data based on first hand research. (Note: Some types of first hand research involving human subjects may require IRB approval by HWS and thus will need to be proposed well in advance of the dates it is to be carried out).  You may choose to complete this project requirement in one of several possible ways:
    • Individual Research Project.  You may choose to pursue a multidisciplinary research project on your own.  Your final research paper submission should be 10-12 pages in length.
    • Investigative Team Research Project.  You may team up with one or two other students in the class to conduct a multidisciplinary research project on some aspect of alcohol and society.  If you are a two-person team, the paper should be 14-16 pages in length.  If you are a three person team, the paper should be 18-20 pages in length.
    • Policy Research Paper (15-20 pages, >25 sources).  A student may elect to thoroughly research a policy position related to alcohol use from both natural scientific and social scientific perspectives. This research paper is designed to meet the capstone policy brief requirement for the public policy program.  If you are using this course to satisfy the capstone requirement for the public policy program you must choose this option.

Additional option possible for all projects:  You may choose to create a media presentation (eg. audio, video, or PowerPoint) as a component of your project that conveys a significant portion of your project and that can be made available for the wider HWS community through course and other campus public media.  If this option is chosen, minimum written paper page lengths may be scaled back accordingly to 6 (one person paper), 8 (two person paper), 10 (three person paper), or 12 pages (policy brief).   If this option is chosen, contributors must agree to permit their media presentation to be viewed or played through public HWS venues.

All projects will be presented (brief overview) in class during the final exam time period and corresponding papers will be due at that final class meeting.  Projects that include creation of a media presentation will present that media presentation in addition to a verbal description of their project.  Projects that do not include a formal media presentation may still use a PowerPoint to facilitate the presentation of their paper but this is not required.  All team project members must be present for the presentation of their project.

We have designed an intermediate assignment to help you in developing your term research project.  The assignment is described below.   It will also be a record for you of suggestions and criticisms from your instructors to help you produce the best project you can.

Project Proposal with Annotated Bibliography (Due March 10 in class).  This one-page paper describes a topic and points of view that you wish to pursue.  You should briefly describe your question, show how your project relates to the general topic of alcohol use in society, and show how natural and social science perspectives might be incorporated in the investigation.  The annotated bibliography should contain periodical references and supporting books that bear directly on your project topic.  The reference citations should conform to MLA, APA, or ASA research paper bibliographic format.  Annotations of one to three sentences are required showing the importance of each article to the project.  If you are pursuing a group project, you should identify your team members.  Only one submission is necessary for each team.

Final project submission (Due May 10th at 1:30pm).

Extra Credit

1.   Class Participation:  Strong class participation (regular comments in class about readings and films) can increase the course grade up to 30 points (more than 1/2 of a letter grade).