The terms used for specific populations, especially ethnic populations, are subject to change over time. For instance, in the offical subject vocabularies of various databases and organizations, African Americans have been refered to as African Americans, Afro Americans, Blacks, and Negroes. Obviously, we don't use all of the terms in the present time. Even currently, however, different databases use the terms differents. CINAHL, for instance, uses 'Blacks' exclusively. SocIndex, however, distinguishes between 'African Americans' (citizens of the United States) and 'Blacks--United States' (short term residents).
In most of our databases, you can search the Subject Terms for specific words and phrases used to describe particular topics. In our most used databases, the subject link is right at the top:
The name varies in different databases:
In other databases, look for Thesaurus or Subject Headings, often in the Advanced Search.
Some databases do not have specific lists of subject terms, like ScienceDirect. (See below for suggestions.)
Within MEDLINE, CINAHL, SocIndex, PsycInfo, and other EBSCO databases:
In the Advanced Search, look for the Age Related options under the Search box. Specific age ranges are offered from infant to elderly in many of our medical related databases.
Think carefully about the age ranges of your desired population. For instance, if you want college students, you may find that the usual age of college student overlaps the age categories. You might need to search for both 13-18 (Adolescent), and 19-44 (Adult) in CINAHL. That means that your search will turn up articles on highschool students and full adults who may or may not be in college. If you really want students in college, you might also add a keyword search like "college OR university" to your search. Or perhaps any study that deals with the same medical issues that face college students is what you want, so selecting Adult 19-44 is sufficient.
Use additional terms within your search. Use OR between words to tell the database that the terms are alternatives to each other:
teenager OR adolescent
cocaine OR heroin OR marijuana OR illegal drugs
Can't think of additional terms? Try Google's thesaurus search: