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HPS 319 Research: History of Medicine II: 17th–20th Century

This guide is intended to assist students in Prof. Lucia Dacome's HPS 319 course.

Create a subtitle

As stated in your syllabus, narrow your topic enough for you to add a meaningful subtitle to the large theme given in your essay topics: 


     Large topic: How did societies cope with epidemic diseases?

           Subtitle or Sub-topic: 19th century Toronto, municipal involvement increased and mortality rates decreased. This  increased/decreased the stigmatization and isolation of immigrants.

Narrowing your Topic

Sample Broad Topic: Medicine and Society

Narrower topic: How did societies cope with epidemic diseases such as Cholera?

To narrow your topic further, you can consult reference sources and consider the following: 

Which Geographic Regions you are focusing on:


-  United Kingdom, Great Britain, England, Wales

-  Europe, Germany

-  North America, Upper Canada, Lower Canada, New York

- Quebec, Toronto, Town of York

Which Period of Time are you focusing on:

Cambridge Histories Online can provide overviews of particular time periods

Examine a particular event, or historical process, or document within the theme or topic you have chosen from the given list:


-  Incorporation of Toronto in 1834 from former Town of York

-  First By-Laws of Toronto

-  Immigration to Toronto 

More Tips

Try the following: 

Different terminology might be used for the same or similar concepts at different times in history:

-        Town of York or Toronto

-        Upper Canada or Ontario

-        Hospital or infirmary or Asylum

Synonyms or variations of words:

-        Indian Cholera or Asiatic Cholera

-        Waste management or sanitation