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HIST 223: Old Age in the Modern Age (HC) Fall 2018

History / Anthropology 223: Old Age in the Modern Age (Snyder) Fall 2018

History and Social Sciences Best Bets

Health Studies Best Bets



What are the physical and psychological effects of over-medicating patients with dementia?

Step 1: Break up this research question into two or three main concepts. Ignore extraneous words.

  • Concept #1: over-medicating 
  • Concept #2: dementia
  • Concept #3: effects

Step 2: Conduct an initial search with these words, and quickly scan the results

Step 3: Using information from your initial search, add synonyms, acronyms, and variant spellings.

  • Concept #1: over-medicating OR over-prescribing 
  • Concept #2: dementia OR alzheimers
  • Concept #3: effects OR risks

Citation Indexes

Usually researchers find more sources by looking at the footnotes in an article or book, but these will always be older than the publication you have in hand.  Citation indexes like the Web of Science (which includes sections for the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, and Natural Sciences) are set up to search for sources cited in the footnotes of journal articles. This allows you to find newer articles which cite the books and articles you know are key for your topic. By relying on connections between authors and by moving forward in time, citation searching can open up new avenues of research.

Indexes for Related Subject Areas

Selected Journals on Aging

Search Example - History Index

Let's say you're interested in how African American families and communities have historically approached elder care.

Using the America: History & Life database, you try the following query:

Older people (subject)
Black OR "African American" (all text)

There are 71 results, so you decide to narrow the historical period to 1850-1900.

Now you find a few interesting and relevant results:

Search Example - Multidisciplinary Index

Perhaps you're curious about workhouses and similar institutions, and wondering about conditions and care for the elderly residents.

Using the ProQuest Research Library database, you try the following search:

History of medicine (subject)
workhouse* OR almshouse* (all text)
aging OR elder* (all text)

There are only 18 results, so you decide to take out the subject term and replace with two more parentheticals:

"elder care" OR health OR condition* (all text)

History (subject)

Now you have a larger set that you can narrow according to source type, document type, and so forth. You end up with a few highly relevant articles: