As a framework for presenting ideas on developing ways to make sociology more applicable, we focus on the recent state of medical sociology research. Data for this paper were generated through a content analysis of a twelve-year period (1993-2004) of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior (JHSB) and Social Science & Medicine (SSM). The analysis aims to determine if the content of JHSB and SSM reflect the breadth of the sub-discipline of medical sociology as well as the stated goals of the journals. The selected issues of JHSB and SSM were coded on the basis of the following attributes: (1) Primary Substantive Topic, (2) Methodology, (3) Data Type and Analytic Technique, and (4) Research and Policy Recommendations. We found that the orientation of JHSB articles was towards generating research and theory that shy away from policy, interdisciplinary approaches, and applied issues. SSM content tends to display more interdisciplinary breadth and variety, but also reflects a dearth of applied recommendations. Our discussion focuses on what JHSB and SSM could be. We present ideas on how the sociological discipline in general-and JHSB and SSM in particular-can help generate and nourish new forms of inquiry that can impact the way research questions are framed. We conclude that such a shift is needed in order to maximize the applicability of social scientific evidence to everyday life, and we share examples situated within a socio-medical context, where there is a particular need for the application of social evidence to practice. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.