GERO 300: Introduction to Gerontology

For further assistance with your assignment, you can contact Nina Smart, Liaison Librarian for Gerontology at 778.782.5043 (Tuesdays and Thursdays) or nsmart@sfu.caMonday to Thursday . For quick research help, please Ask a Librarian

Course description

"Examination of the aging process from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Physical and health factors in aging, economic and vocational factors in aging, family and community relations of older people, social policy and politics of aging. Throughout the course, emphasis will be placed on normal aging." [Note: for more information see the  GERO 300 Distance Course Outline and page in Canvas. If there are discrepancies between  information listed on this page and that in Canvas or instructor handouts, please refer to the latter.]


Term paper research resources

Quick Start to getting articles:
 "Finding gerontology articles in the SFU catalogue" video. At 3:40 mark is Advanced catalogue searching

Search examples in Catalogue:

"community housing" AND (seniors OR elderly OR "older persons" OR "older adults" OR gerontolog* OR geriatr* OR aging)
"community based services" AND (seniors OR elderly OR "older persons" OR "older adults" OR gerontolog* OR geriatr* OR aging)

...and then Limit to Articles on the left side of the page 

For more detail on library research, see:
Start Your Research Here  SFU guide to researching and writing a term paper

Background information (or: Better than Wikipedia!)

Reference works such as encyclopedias are a great place to start to get an overview of a topic, especially if you are new to a discipline. 
Entries are written by experts in the field, and often there is a useful bibliography. Click on the "online" link and then sign in to access these titles:

The Encyclopedia of Gerontology (online
Entries on most paper topics, such as: Dementia (for cognitive impairment, including causes);  Caregiving and Caring; Frail Elderly;  Abuse and Neglect of Elders; Living Arrangements; Aging in Place;  Exercise; 

Dementia handbook and resource guide  (online)

Routledge Handbook of Cultural Gerontology (online)
Entries such as: "Literature and ageing"; "Ageing in Film"; "Representations of ageing in the media"
In addition, Chapter 32 covers  Loneliness and isolation

Handbook of aging and the social sciences (online)
Chapter 15 - Aging, Neighborhoods, and the Built Environment; Chapter 16 - Abusive Relationships in Late Life;

Encyclopedia of Ageism (online)
Entry: "Children's literature" (See also this useful ERIC article on children' literature) .  Other entries "Hollywood", "Advertising", etc.

See also: Persona project resources for more useful publications

Finding journal articles


If you are interested in more detailed journal article searching than using the Caralogue go to one of the  Gerontology Databases below \:

Ageline The Major social-gerontology database -- start here for most paper topics.  
For search tips see the guide An Introduction to the Ageline database  

Sample subject terms and combined searches: Dementia OR Cognitive Impairment ; (Exercise OR Physical Activity) AND Quality of Life ; Aging in Place ; Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities; Assisted Living Facilities ; Caregivers  ; Elder Abuse ; Falls ; Aging in Place; Isolation

Use the Ageline Thesaurus is for for finding subject terms.  For instance, to find articles covering a particular methodology, click on the Thesaurus link at the top of the page, and type in: Research Techniques to find all the different types of research methods covered in Ageline, e.g.  Randomized Controlled Trials. 

CINAHL Complete The major nursing and allied health database for readable articles on medical topics.
Sample keyword search: "successful aging".  Sample subject term: Frail Elderly. Can Limit results by age group, i.e. Aged (65 yrs & older)

PsycINFO The major psychology database.   See their Quick Reference Guide
Sample Subject term: Reminiscence.  Limit results by age group, i.e. Aged (65 yrs & older) .

Education Source 
For the topic of portrayal of older people in children's literature, start with databases and use a  combined search such as: Old age in literature and child*

MLA bibliography 
For the topic of portrayal of older people in the media, start with databases and use a search such as: (elderly or aging or old age) AND (film or television)

Academic Search Premier
A nice, general database for finding articles, not gerontology based.  Start with Subject term: Older People and then narrow down for your topic



To determine which articles are empirical studies when you are in a database, look under the Subjects listed for each article, such as Qualitative Research, Statistical Analysis, etc.

If the assignment asks you for peer-reviewed journal articles, Limit your search to either "Peer reviewed" or "Academic journals", depending on the database.
(For more information, see the FAQ What is a peer-reviewed journal?)

See also: Moving from Citation to Article SFU guide on how to find the article once you've searched a database


Research tip: Looking though one scholarly monograph is much faster than reading several journal articles. 

  • Aging and Society: Canadian perspectives [print]
  • Aging as a social process: Canadian perspectives [print]
  • Aging in contemporary Canada [print]    
  • Aging: Concepts and controversies [print]
  • Grandparents : Archetypal and clinical perspectives on grandparent-grandchild relationships [online] Chapter 3  "Images of age in narratives"
  • Designing homes for people with dementia [print]

To find books, search SFU Catalogue
Search tips in SFU Library Catalogue Search Guide

Sample Catalogue subject headings

Specific research topics

Age-friendly cities  see: Aging and the City topic page, including walkability resources

Death and dying see: GERO 406 Term paper resources for end of life issues

For more information see:  Further Gerontology resources 

Term paper writing links and help

How to do an outline

Creating an Outline - Douglas College Learning Commons

Outlining UMKC Writing Studio

If you've already written your paper (!) you can use Reverse Outlining Duke University

Literature review

Literature Review Outline: What You Need to Get Started

Guidelines for writing a literature review
Step-by-step guide to writing a literature review

The Literature Review: A Few Tips On Conducting It
List of questions that will prompt you to create critical literature reviews

Literature Review Template
Template for creating an "objective, critical summary of published research literature"

Literature Reviews
UNC guide that provides instructions and strategies, including ways to organize 


Writing help

 Student learning Commons  -- SFU service that "provides learning and writing support services" such as:

Persona project resources

Start with:

Report on Health and Aging in Canada (2018) Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) 
Covers retirement, social engagement, caregiving, health,  LGBTQ (CLSA uses term "LGB"), and more

Fact book on Aging in B.C. and Canada (7th Edition, 2019)
Statistical overview, published by the Gerontology Research Centre at SFU

Older adults and population aging statistics Statistics Canada
Health, housing and income, and many other topics


BC Housing
Website for provincial organization that "develops, manages and administers a wide range of subsidized housing options across the province"; see page for Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI)

Canadian Housing and Mortgage Authority (CMHC)
"Canada’s authority on housing"; see section Aging in Place 

Guide to Seniors Housing in Canada A Place for Mom
Includes descriptions of housing types and support for aging in place

How to participate online