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Strengthening Qualitative Research through Methodological Innovation and Integration: A Longitudinal Analysis of Human Mortality

a PSC Research Project

Investigator:   Susan Hautaniemi Leonard

Investigators will conduct a cause-specific analysis of the transition that stands to provide both an elaboration of demographic transition theory in the New England emergent industrial case, and a uniquely detailed long-term cause-specific profile of an epidemiological transition for comparative use in the wider discussion of the significant regional variations which have been found in North American epidemiological and mortality transitions. They will test whether the cause-specific patterns of mortality, subsidence in specific types of epidemic and accidental mortality, and changes in occupational mortality support the role of stressful urban environments in sustained elevated mortality even as medical and public health practices contributed to declining mortality elsewhere. The investigators will also conduct in-depth analysis of the changing influences on cause of death description and classification over the transition using the extensive qualitative database regarding medical professionals, institutions, texts, and contexts and the combined qualitative and quantitative analytical methods and data developed in the Connecticut Valley Historical Demography Project. These analyses include an examination of the central trends of the transition from a qualitative standpoint emphasizing the potentially false precision embedded in both central cause of death terminology and standardized cause of death nosology. The ramification of this broader analysis of potential contextual influences on the big picture of the nineteenth century epidemiological transition will be of both substantive and methodological relevance to any scholar studying nineteenth century mortality trends throughout the western world.

Funding Period: 04/01/2010 to 03/31/2012

Country of Focus: USA

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