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Hope Library Guides

IDS 172 Disability in Modern Societies (Disability Studies): Articles

Fall 2023

Database Tutorials

All Hope College Databases Here (Disability Studies is Interdisciplinary!)

Specific Databases to Try

History Databases for locating Journal Articles

Both of the main History Databases work the same.  However, they contain different areas of focus. 

For a global focus, see Historical Abstracts 

For North American intersections, check out America: History and Life  

Here is a reminder of the many ways that you can control and limit your searches (in both History Databases!!!) in order to get the best results. Open the images in a new tab to zoom in!




Tips for Jstor

Jstor is an excellent full text archive of humanities, social science and business journals and includes a large number of history journals.

  • This is not an exhaustive collection, and it will not contain things published within the last 4 years.  For citations for the most current history articles, use America: History and Life and Historical Abstracts.
  • Remember, because you are searching the full text of the article, choose your keywords carefully to avoid getting irrelevant articles.  A plus side of this is JSTOR is good for searching for more obscure referenes to a topic.
  • To limit your searches further, select specific disciplines from the limiting list.

jstor subjects

  • To further control your search, use special search characters to increase the presence of certain important terms:
  • ^# after a word will request that that particular word be present a minimum of # number of times in the article (ex. irish^10 AND soldier^10)
  • ~# after two words in quotes will ask that those word be within # words of each other.  (ex.  "women* suffrage"~5)
  • Jstor is does not in include articles from the last 2-3 years of most of its journals, so for the most recent scholarship, search America: History and Life.

Developing Your Search Strategy

Planning out your search strategy in advance will save you time finding relevant articles in the library databases. To search most effectively, break your research topic into it's main concepts. Exp

  • ableism,
  • public policy,
  • people with mobility-related disabilities.

Do background research and brainstorming to discover other terms the literature may use for these concepts.

  • Brainstorm synonyms for each concept;
  • Scan books, encyclopedia articles, & class materials for related words;
  • Explore thesauri within the databases for subject terms related to your concept.


Concept Brainstorming

Academic Search Complete Thesaurus

MeSH Headings


ableist OR discrimination OR prejudice OR bias OR marginalization ableism OR "discrimination against people with disabilities" "discrimination psychology"[MeSH Terms] 
public policy government OR law OR legal Law "Public Policy"[MeSH Terms]

people with mobility-related disabilities

wheelchair OR crutches OR elderly OR Parkinson's Movement disorders "Mobility Limitation"[MeSH Terms]


Search Tips

Take some time to plan out your search strategy in advance. Remember these important search tips.

  1. Don't search wth your topic as a single phrase. Determine the key concepts of your topic. Then place each concept in its own search bar.
  2. Use ORs to string together synonyms or related terms for core concepts and place concepts on individual lines connected with AND.
    • Line 1: ableism OR ableist OR discrimination OR prejudice OR bias OR marginalization 
    • Line 2: public policy OR government OR law OR legal
    • Line 3: "people with mobility-related disabilities" OR wheelchair OR crutches OR elderly OR Parkinson's OR "Movement disorders" OR "Mobility Limitation"
  3. Use quotation marks to search for exact phrases
  4. Look for the "peer reviewed" limit in each database. You can set this limit on the main search screen (before you search) or narrow your results after you've started your search.
  5. Set date limits as appropriate for your topic.

If your first search doesn't return the results you want, done give up. Edit your search strategy, add more synonyms, and try again.