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GGRB28: Geographies of Disease

This guide will help students in GGRB28 with finding articles for the annotated bibliography and other resources for the final research assignment.

Step 1: Choose a Topic

Use a similar who, what, where, when, and why and how method to help you narrow down your topic. Pick one aspect to focus on your research. 

Topic 1: Pick one health issue affecting rural communities in Canada (e.g., access to MAID, maternal health resources, sexual health services, access to advanced treatments) and evaluate it based on the course topics and health geography concepts. You cannot chose Indigenous communities/reserves for this topic.

Topic 2: Choose one environmental/climate issue impacting a community globally (e.g. air quality due to forest fires, coastal erosion, access to potable water, water contamination, heat waves) and explore how health geographers have engaged with the topic and their contributions to the research. What are the key issues highlighted or addressed by health geographers and how are they related to the course concepts and themes?

Topic 3: Grounded in an understanding of geography as a determinant of health, pick two other social determinants of health that impact specific communities in the GTA or another urban centre in Ontario and evaluate them based on the course topics and health geography concepts. 

Step 2: Background Research, Brainstorm, Scope, & Narrow Your Topic

Describe the what, who, where, and when of your topic based on your background research.


  1. Who (people or organization) are involved? 

  1. What is happening? What's the issue?  

  1. When does it happen or when does the issue occur?  

  1. Where does it happen or where does the issue occur? 

Use your background research and anything you may have found already to describe these aspect of your research scope(s). 

You can use the worksheet to help brainstorm your ideas, and ultimately the brainstorming and writing will help you narrow down what specific aspect of your topic you will focus your research.

Google Web Search

Step 3: Activity 2 Narrowing Your Topic (In-class portion)

Based on your assignment topic selection, answer one of the following questions in your worksheet to help you narrow your topic.

Topic 1: What is 1 health issue affecting rural spaces in Canada? Where and who does it affect? What is 1 class concept that relates?

Topic 2: What is 1 environmental/climate issue impacting a community globally? Who is impacted by this challenge? - consider identifying the specific community, age group. What is 1 way that health geographers have explored this issue? What is another way that health geographers have explored this issue? What is 1 course concept that relates?

Topic 3: What are 2 social determinants of health? What specific urban community does this impact in the GTA or urban centre In Ontario? What is 1 course concept that relates?

Step 4: Pair & Share Your Topic

Now that you have focused your topic turn to the person(s) next to you and share your topic. If you are listening help think through the topic by asking:

  1. Who are you focusing this on? 

  1. What course concept does this relate to? 

  1. Where (province, city, rural/urban, space) are you focusing your topic?  

  1. Why is this an issue for health geographers?