The following Pathfinder is intended to step you through the basic library research process for identifying resources relating to the Aging Concentration.
Consult the Steps to Research and Writing a Paper for more detailed information.
References to book and journal titles are specific to items owned by the MSASS Harris Library and Case Western Reserve University libraries (although in most cases the resources can be found in other academic and public libraries). The websites that are included at the end of the Pathfinder are intended as a starting point for research on the Internet and are not meant to be inclusive.
1. Start by locating resources that provide an overview of your topic.
Some titles specifically related to aging are:
Annual review of gerontology & geriatrics (1980-2010, Vols. 1-30). New York: Springer.
Binstock, R. H., & George, L. K. (Eds.). (2011). Handbook of aging and the social sciences (7th ed.). Amsterdam; Boston: Elsevier/Academic Press.
Birren, J. E., & Schaie, K. W. (Eds.). (2006). Handbook of the psychology of aging (6th ed.). Amsterdam; Boston, MA: Elsevier Academic Press.
Capezuti, E. A., Siegler, E. L., & Mezey, M. D. (Eds.). (2008). The encyclopedia of elder care: The comprehensive resource on geriatric and social care (2nd ed.). New York: Springer Pub.
Cavanaugh, J. C. (Ed.). (2010). Aging in America (Vols. 1-3). Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger/ABC-CLIO.
Dannefer, D., & Phillipson, C. (Eds.). (2010). The Sage handbook of social gerontology. London: Sage.
Demick, J., & Andreoletti, C. (Eds.). (2003). Handbook of adult development. New York : Kluwer Academic/Plenum.
Duffy, M. (Ed.). (1999). Handbook of counseling and psychotherapy with older adults. New York: Wiley.
Ekerdt, D. J. (Editor in chief). (2002). Encyclopedia of aging (Vols. 1-4). New York: Macmillan Reference USA
Feldesman, W. (2000). Dictionary of eldercare terminology (2nd ed.). Baltimore, MD : National Information Services Corp.
Frolik, L. A., & Kaplan, R. L. (2010). Elder law in a nutshell (5th ed.). St. Paul, MN: West.
Hooyman, N. R., & Kiyak, H. A. (2011). Social gerontology: A multidisciplinary perspective (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Lockhart, C., & Giles-Sims, J. (2010). Aging across the United States: Matching need to states’ differing
opportunities and services. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press.
Maddox, G. L. (Ed.). (2001). The Encyclopedia of aging: A comprehensive resource in gerontology and geriatrics (3rd ed., Vols. 1-2). New York: Springer.
Mangen, D. J., & Peterson, W. A. (Eds.). (1982-1984). Research instruments in social gerontology (Vols. 1-3). Minneapolis, MN:
University of Minnesota Press.
Manheimer, R. J. (Ed.). (1994). Older Americans almanac: A reference work on seniors in the United States. Detroit: Gale Research.
Niles-Yokum, K., Wagner, D. L., & Gelfand, D. E. (2011). Aging networks: A guide to programs and services (7th ed.). New York: Springer.
Palmore, E., Branch, L., & Harris, D. (Eds.). (2005). Encyclopedia of ageism. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Pastoral Press.
Palmore, E. B. (Ed.). (1993). Developments and research on aging: An international handbook (Rev. ed.). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
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. [ALSO AVAILABLE ONLINE: The newest version of this thesaurus can be downloaded for free as a PDF from the AARP website.]
Romaine-Davis, A., Boondas, J., & Lenihan, A. (Eds.). (1995). Encyclopedia of home care for the elderly. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Sadavoy, J. (Ed.). (2004). Comprehensive textbook of geriatric psychiatry (3rd ed.). New York: W. W. Norton.
Whitbourne, S. K. (Ed.). (2000). Psychopathology in later adulthood. New York: Wiley.
Wood, S., & Moye, J. (Eds.). (2008). Assessment of older adults with diminished capacity: A handbook for
psychologists. Washington, DC: American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging/American Psychological Association. [ALSO AVAILABLE ONLINE: FULL TEXT and
2. Search the online catalog for additional books that will give you the history, context, definitions and theories.
Define the terms that you want to use when you are doing a search for materials. If you do a subject search in the online catalog, the system limits you to using predefined Library of Congress Subject Headings. Click here for more information on doing a subject search.
Some subject headings for aging (in alphabetical order):
- Age and employment
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Elderly poor
- Old age
- Older People Abuse of (used for Elder abuse)
- Older People Care (used for Eldercare)
- Older People Government Policy
- Older People United States
- Social security
- Social Work with Older People
[NOTE: There are many other subject headings for aging in the Library Catalog and OhioLINK, these are just a few we selected as examples. For medical subject headings and other medical resources on aging, you may want to view the Aging subject guide prepared by the Cleveland Health Sciences Library.]
Doing a keyword search will give you many more titles than a subject search and may help you focus the results. When you do a keyword search the system looks in the title, subject and table of contents fields. Click here for more information on doing a keyword search.
To do effective keyword searching, you will need to think of concepts and terms related to your topic. Consulting a thesaurus will help you find synonyms for concepts. Click here for a list of thesauri owned by the Harris 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. [ONLINE ACCESS: The newest version of this thesaurus can be downloaded for free as a PDF from the AARP website.]
In addition to the subject headings above, here are some general terms (in alphabetical order) to use when searching for information on aging. When you narrow your search you will make an additional list specific to your topic.
NOTE: Using a system’s truncating symbol (in this example, the asterisk “*”) at the end of the root word will provide you with records using variations of that word.
- Caregiving (caregiv*)
- Geriatrics (geriatric*)
- Gerontology (gerontolog*)
- Older adults (older adult*)
- Senior citizens (senior citizen*)
- Seniors (senior*)
- Social Security
- Very old
3. Find some general articles on your topic.
After you have located books on your topic, you will want to look for general journal articles in your subject area. Case and OhioLINK offer several general databases. These include: Academic Search Complete, Lexis-Nexis Academic, Article First (OCLC), Social Sciences Index and TOPICsearch. These databases are interdisciplinary and most provide a mix of popular magazine articles and scholarly research articles. You can find these databases by choosing the Research Databases option in the Library Catalog. Note: Access is limited to authorized users.
TIP: When you search in general databases, you will sometimes retrieve citations to book reviews related to your topic. These book reviews may be helpful in leading you to book titles and/or authors in your area of interest.
4. Search subject specific databases for more scholarly journal articles.
Once you have assembled general journal articles on your topic, you can begin focusing on scholarly research articles. Citations, abstracts and, sometimes, the full-text of journal articles are found in a variety of databases available through Case Western Reserve University and OhioLINK to authorized users.
Case and OhioLINK databases are available by clicking on Research Databases in the
The World Wide Web also makes available a range of databases. Some of these require a
subscription fee to be paid; others are free. Click here to view a list of selected databases available on the Web that are related to social work and the social sciences.
Literature on aging is found in many disciplines. Some of the databases that will have articles on this topic include:
AGELINE is available electronically through the Case Research Databases list and as a free database on the web. It provides bibliographic coverage on aging in a social, psychological, health related and
economic context and is published by the American Association of Retired Persons. It has selected coverage from 1966-1977, and inclusive coverage from 1978 to the present.
CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health) is available electronically through the OhioLINK Research Databases and the Case Research Databases. It indexes literature relating to nursing, education, behavioral sciences, social services,
and health care. Most of the entries included the reference list for the cited article. Coverage is from 1982 forward. This index corresponds to the printed publication
Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health.
Ethnic Newswatch is available electronically through the Case Research Databases list and through the Library Catalog. It indexes and provides the full-text of over 260 leading periodicals and newspapers published by the ethnic and minority press in the Americas. The database has search options in both English or Spanish with over 1 million articles (over 200,000 in Spanish). Coverage is from 1990 forward.
Family & Society Studies Worldwide (1970-present) is available electronically
through the Case Research Databases. It is a core resource on family and gender related topics. It covers over 800,000 records drawn from journals, books, conference and working papers government reports, and websites in the social science disciplines. Citations from the Inventory of Marriage & Family Literature and the Australian Family & Society Abstracts are included.
LexisNexis Academic Universe is available electronically through the OhioLINK Research Databases. It provides current information by allowing access to domestic and international newspapers, trade journals and newsletters, and magazine articles. Full-text is available. Searches can be done by region or state by choosing the U.S. News category. The database also provides current articles related to the business, legal and medical fields.
MEDLINE / Medline Advanced / PubMed is available electronically through the OhioLINK Research Databases (MEDLINE) and as a free database on the web through the National Library of Medicine or through the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed. MEDLINE contains over 13 million records from 1966 forward. PubMed
also contains citations pre-1966 and additional information not included in MEDLINE. The subject areas covered include medicine, nursing, and the health care system. This index corresponds to the printed publication Index Medicus.
PAIS (Public Affairs Information Service) International is available electronically through the
OhioLINK Research Databases. The subject categories include the areas of public policy, social policy and the social sciences. It includes citations for books as well as journal articles and covers a wide range of planning and public administration journals and books, including government publications. The coverage is from 1972 to the present.
PsycINFO is available electronically through the OhioLINK Research Databases. The database indexes the world’s literature in psychology and related disciplines. It covers over 1900 journals as well as books, and individual book chapters. The coverage is from 1967 forward. This index corresponds to the printed publication
Psychological Abstracts. PsycINFO Historical is a different database that covers similar information between the years 1887-1966.
Social Sciences Citation Index is a database available electronically through the OhioLINK Research Databases. It is a multidisciplinary index to the world of social sciences, and indexes over 1400 journals in fifty disciplines. The database allows cited reference searching (searching by cited work) as well as traditional search methods. Abstracts are not included. Current and retrospective coverage is from 1956 forward.
SOCIAL WORK ABSTRACTS is available electronically through the Case Research Databases list. It contains more than 45,000 records from 1700 social work related journals. Topics
covered include service delivery, social work practice, homelessness, aging, child and family welfare, community organization, and substance abuse. The coverage is from 1977 to the present. This database corresponds with the printed publication Social Work Abstracts.
SocINDEX is available electronically through the Case Research Databases and the OhioLINK Research Databases. SocINDEX includes citations, abstracts, and some full-text for all subdisciplines of sociology. SocINDEX provides data mined from more than 500 “priority” coverage journals as well as 1,040 “selective” coverage journals. It also includes indexing of books, reports, and some other formats. Also included is a useful sociology specific thesaurus for subject term searching. It replaces Sociological Abstracts in the OhioLINK database.
SOCIOLOGICAL ABSTRACTS is a database available electronically through the
OhioLINK Research Databases. It indexes 2600 journals in sociology and related disciplines from over 55 countries. It also contains citations to many relevant dissertations and conference proceedings. Sociological Abstracts is an excellent source for information related to general community practice issues. The coverage is from 1963 through June 2005. This index corresponds to the formerly printed publicationSociological Abstracts.
OhioLINK stopped subscribing to updates from this database effective June 2005, as a result nothing after that date will be present in the database. Check SocINDEX for current information.
CAUTION: The setup will vary for different databases. In many databases if you type in a phrase the system will look for the exact phrase. It does not add an “and” between words. So if you type “urban poverty homeless” you will get zero results because it will look for those words in that exact order. It is often clearer to enter one term at a time and combine the end results.
TIP: Look in the descriptor field and/or use the online thesaurus to lead you to
NOTE: Online databases are distributed nationally and are not specific to Case Western Reserve University. The University will not own all the journals that are cited in the
databases. Click here for information on finding journal titles in the online catalog.
5. Browse current issues of journals that contain literature on your topic.
Journals that are most likely to contain information on the topic of aging include:
6. Do a Web search on 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.
Following are selected websites that might be helpful when looking for information on aging:
This agency is part of the Federal Department of Health & Human Services. This extensive website features a variety of fact sheets on topics related to the elderly, information on government initiatives and programs on aging, statistics on older persons, elder abuse prevention and more. The site also includes a section specifically targeted at professionals with links to GAO Reports on Aging, website links, and HHS Poverty Guidelines. There is also a comprehensive section for Elders & Caregivers.
This is the website for the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, which is a group of U.S. Government agencies cooperating and collaborating their statistics on aging. Includes the report Older Americans 2010: Key Indicators of Well-Being as well as PowerPoint slides of the charts and Excel spreadsheets of the data tables. This site also includes a subject area contact list, a timeline, and older versions (2000, 2004, 2006 and 2008) of the Older Americansreport.
This site provides comprehensive information on Alzheimer’s disease, including basic facts, caregiving issues, medical diagnosis and treatment, and current research efforts. The site can be tailored for “Persons with memory loss, caregivers, and health professionals.”
This site includes a section for Health Care Professionals that includes fact sheets and research; a section on their Advocacy work which includes current legislative information; and a media section with press releases of recent findings and press clips where the AAGP’s work has been utilized.
Information on this site includes resources relating to caregiving, Medicare, nursing homes, and research on aging, as well as AARP’s legislative and policy efforts. Under topic area Policy and Research is the Research Center called AgeSource Worldwide where you will find links to Internet Resources on Aging. The Internet Resources on Aging has “over 900 of the best sites on the web for people age 50+.” The list is searchable by topic or browse the topics or an alphabetical list. A copy of the Thesaurus of Aging Terminology covering the subject terms used is available in the Harris Library. The site also provides
links to services that are available to its large membership base.
FirstGov is the official web portal of the U.S. Government. This version is specifically
tailored for Seniors and contains information that they may need from the Government. The site contains many links to various agencies and services provided by the federal government and consolidates them all into one place. It includes sections on consumer protection, health, and Social Security.
The Geriatric Mental Health Foundation was established by the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry and its site provides information to older adults and caregivers about senior mental health issues. For this reason, it is less clinical than the AAGP’s site, but still contains in-depth information. The Resources section lists many wonderful sites about senior mental health issues and is divided by topic.
The website for the Institute for Geriatric Social Work located at Boston University School of Social Work, offers an e-newsletter (in the Publications section) that provides regular updates to social work practitioners, educators, service providers and policy makers on important initiatives nationwide that support geriatric social work. Their
Resources section also offers addresses, phone numbers, and homepage information to many centers and associations that work with or study the geriatric population.
(Formerly The Medicaid Clearinghouse.) Sponsored by the nonprofit organization, Families USA, this site links users to information on Medicare/Medicaid issues at the federal and state level as well as additional resources. Families USA also gives you the latest information on Medicare/Medicaid.
MedlinePlus is a service of the National Library of Medicine to provide up-to-date medical information. This section of the site provides information on a wide range of health issues faced by Seniors ranging from common medical ailments to depression, eldercare, sexuality, and other psychological and social issues.
This non-partisan policy institute “conducts research on issues related to population aging and provides information to the public, the press, policymakers, and the academic community.” Research is focused on issues such as income and health security. The site provides the full-text of reports and background papers on topics such as older workers, public policy, and chronic conditions. Fact sheets and data profiles are also available.
The site provides an extensive summary of the term “elder abuse” and its many contexts, as well as information on elder abuse statistics, state phone numbers for reporting abuse, and a list of publications. There is also a link to the Clearinghouse on Abuse and Neglect of the Elderly (CANE), which provides annotated bibliographies on specific abuse-related topics for free and also has a database to search their holdings. NCEA also maintains a listserve for persons interested in discussing elder abuse issues.
NCOA is a coalition of organizations and individuals devoted to promoting the dignity,
self-determination and well-being of older persons. It pioneered such programs as “Meals on Wheels” and “Foster Grandparents.” The Advocacy section highlights pending legislation related to older persons and provides policy updates and links to other organizations. You can also do a search of the site by keyword. There are also some very good publications on this site including research reports which are available for free download.
The mission of NIA is to improve the health and well-being of older persons through research. The Web site focuses on research funded through the National Institutes of Health and the site is most helpful as a resource for locating grant opportunities and research efforts in the area of aging. The Health Information section includes links to other Federal aging resources and links to their Publications Site which included many brochures and booklets about aging in both English and Spanish.
This site provides a general overview of aging-related resources and issues in Ohio as well as highlighting government programs. Some of the areas that are covered include: Ohio area agencies on aging, home and community services, elder rights, and the Passport program.
Located at Miami University in Ohio, the Scripps Gerontology Center is one of seven such
centers in the United States. This site includes an extensive and detailed list of frequently asked questions and an exhaustive links page. In addition, they have many publications with some available in PDF. Their Aging in Ohio section has detailed reports at both the county and state level on the 60+ age population as well as future projections.
This site provides extensive information on social security benefits, regulations and programs. Excellent information on the history of social security and policy-related aspects of the program can be found in the Resources section under History, Research & Data. Also includes Benefit Calculators, a section on the future of Social Security, and a publications section.
Much of the material on this site was developed in conjunction with UN initiatives related to the International Year of Older Persons in 1999 and the Second World Assembly on Aging in 2002. Although it is not updated frequently, it contains some UN documents as well as proposals for future programs and research.
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. Make notes of the gaps in your literature so that you can use this information when you do additional searches. Click here for more information on evaluating the information you have collected.