Aging & the Life Course

Vocabulary is the Key to Information Search

Databases contain what are called 'records', which are simply text descriptions of each item in the database. The text descriptions include, among other elements:

  • the title of the book, article or chapter
  • for articles or chapters, the title of the book, source or journal it is in
  • the author(s)
  • the publisher

Some databases include summaries, called 'abstracts', of articles.

Some databases contain articles or other material in full text or as PDF files.

The key to discovering material relevant to your topic is your ability to use appropriate VOCABULARY – words and phrases – to search the communication streams

  • Another way to frame this is that when you are doing research, you are joining a CONVERSATION among other researchers about the issues and problems that engage you
  • To participate in any ongoing conversation you will need to understand the LANGUAGE – words and concepts – being used by the discussants

Here's an interesting point about scholarly articles: they are written by scholars as they participate in ongoing debates. So, who's the audience for these articles? Other scholars! Unlike textbooks and reference books, scholarly articles are not aimed at college students. You can expect difficult concepts and vocabulary. 

Social Sciences Librarian

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Suzanne Gray
100 F Halle Library