Pathfinder: Aging

This research guide helps locate information on Aging.

Consult the Steps to Research and Writing a Paper for more detailed information.

1. Start by locating resources that provide an overview of your topic.

This will provide background information and identify potential keywords in your subject area. Encyclopedias, handbooks and subject specific dictionaries offer good places to start.
Some titles specifically related to aging are:

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2. Search the online catalog for additional books that will give you the history, context, definitions and theories.

Below are suggested keywords to use when searching for information. You can use them when searching the catalog or the research databases. Try combining them with another concept having to do with your subject:

  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Caregiving (caregiv*)
  • Dementia
  • Elderly
  • Geriatrics (geriatric*)
  • Gerontology (gerontolog*)
  • Older adults (older adult*)
  • Retirement
  • Senior citizens (senior citizen*)
  • Seniors (senior*)
  • Social Security
  • Very old


NOTE: Using a truncating symbol (in this example, the asterisk “*”) at the end of the root word allows you to search for variations of that word.

Also, using these subject headings in the library catalog may improve your search results:

[NOTE: For medical subject headings and other medical resources on aging, try the Aging subject guide prepared by the Cleveland Health Sciences Library.]

The following thesaurus provides aging-related terms and concepts:

  • Rimkus, A., Melinchok, M. D., McEvoy, K., & Yeager, A. K. (Eds.). (2005). Thesaurus of aging terminology. (8th ed.). Washington, D.C.: Ageline Database, Research Information Center, AARP. [Available as a free PDF download from the AARP website.]

3. Find some general articles on your topic.

After you have located books on your topic, start looking for general journal articles on your subject. Several general databases include:

  • Academic Search Complete
    Subjects: most academic topics
    Formats: journals, magazines, newspapers, books, book reviews
    Publication dates: 1887-present
  • LexisNexis Academic
    Subjects: news, law, business
    Formats: newspapers, wire services, broadcast transcripts, company profiles, court cases
    Publication dates: most are 1990s – present; court cases are 1789 – present
  • Article First (OCLC)
    Subjects: business, science, humanities, social sciences, medicine, technology, popular culture
    Formats: journal articles
    Publication dates: 1990 – present
  • Summon
    Subjects: interdisciplinary
    Formats: journal articles, books, conference proceedings, newspapers, images, databases and more available at CWRU
    Publication dates: Ongoing
  • TOPICsearch
    Subjects: current events, social, political and economic issues, scientific discoveries
    Formats: journal articles, magazine articles, biographies, book reviews, government information, public opinion polls, international newspapers
    Publication dates: 1990 – present

These databases are interdisciplinary and most provide a mix of popular magazine articles and scholarly research articles.

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4. Search subject specific databases for more scholarly journal articles.

After finding general journal articles on your topic, begin focusing on scholarly research articles. Citations, abstracts and, sometimes, the full-text of journal articles are found in a variety of research databases:

  • AgeLine
    Subjects: aging, gerontology
    Formats: journal articles, books, book chapters
    Publication dates: Selected coverage 1966 to 1977; inclusive coverage from 1978 to present
  • CINAHL Plus with Full Text
    Subjects: nursing, allied health
    Formats: journal articles, books, dissertations
    Publication dates: 1981 – present
  • Ethnic Newswatch
    Subjects: ethnic, minority, and native press
    Formats: newspaper articles, magazine articles, journal articles
    Publication dates: 1990 – present
  • MEDLINE with Full Text (EBSCO)
    Subjects: medicine
    Formats: journal articles
    Publication dates: 1949-present
  • PsycINFO
    Subjects: psychology and related disciplines
    Formats: journal articles, books, dissertations
    Publication dates: 17th century – present
  • Social Sciences Citation Index
    Subjects: anthropology, sociology, urban studies, business and communication, criminology, penology, law, nursing, rehabilitation, and information and library sciences
    Formats: journal articles, books, conference proceedings; allows cited reference searching
    Publication dates: journal articles – 1900 to present; conference proceedings – 1990 to present; Books – 2005 to present
  • Social Work Abstracts
    Subjects: addictions, aging, child and family welfare, community organization, homelessness, human services, mental health, therapy
    Formats: journal articles
    Publication dates: 1965-present
  • SocINDEX
    Subjects: sociology, criminal justice, demography, ethnic and racial studies, gender studies, marriage and family, religion, social development, social psychology, social structure, social work, socio-cultural anthropology, substance abuse, violence
    Formats: journal articles, books, conference proceedings
    Publication dates: 1895-present

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5. Browse current issues of journals that contain information on your topic.

Journals that are most likely to contain information on the topic of aging include:

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6. Search the Internet for additional information.

Information located through the Internet can provide supplemental material to scholarly research articles. Material retrieved from websites should always be evaluated for currency, authorship, bias and accuracy.

Below are some helpful websites for information on aging:

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7. Evaluate the information you have collected from books and articles.

Consult the bibliographies of the books and articles you have selected. This will lead you to additional references and authors to investigate. Note where you need to find more information if necessary.