Aging & the Life Course

Search Tips for Databases

Start with these short guides and videos introducing EMU Library databases:

Self-Check:  ProQuest PowerSearch

Navigate to ProQuest PowerSearch from the EMU Library's list of databases or the above link, and log in with your EMU ID.

Include the word OR between synonymous words/phrases to search for multiple synonymous terms. Type in:

"older people" OR geriatric OR gerontol*

Use the asterisk * at the end of words with that have a common root, e.g., gerontol* for gerontology, gerontologist, gerontological, etc.

Include "quotation marks" for searching for multi-word phrases, e.g., "social behavior" - because you only want that whole phrase and not all the results that simply contain those two words any place.

Use OR to string together synonyms or similar words/phrases:  aged OR "older people"

Use AND to combine different concepts to represent your question:  aged AND discrimination

How many results did you get? 

  • If you see around 490,000, you did a broad search. You can reduce the number of results by looking on the left column and limiting the results to Peer Reviewed (do NOT limit to full text - this will cut off your access to other full-text options). 
  • If you see a much smaller or larger number, check for typos or mistakes in your search results, or consult a librarian to figure out the problem.

Now let's look at some subject headings, either in the abstracts of a few items, or in the left-hand column under Subject. We can see that "older people" is a subject heading, along with "aged" and "aging" but if we just put those terms into our search, we're going to get a mess of unrelated articles that just happen to mention the word "aged" somewhere.

The solution is to go back to the Advanced Search page and change the target of the search. Instead of searching Anywhere (NOFT) in the item record, let's search in "All subjects & intexing - SU"   This way we'll only get results if our search terms show up in the subject tags, not just anywhere.

Try the same search but limited to subject and peer review. Did you get about 200,000 results?

Now it's time to add more terms in the second search box for the other elements of your topic, such as ageism AND discrimination, etc.  Again, scan the results to look for good subject terms.