Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Research Assistance for Disability Studies
Welcome to the Disability Studies research guide at Fordham University Libraries. This guide is designed to provide an overview of resources available at Fordham for Disability Studies research.
If you are having difficulties locating research materials in this area, feel free to ask a librarian for assistance:
- Live chat with a librarian through Ask a Librarian;
- Email one of the librarians assigned to Disability Studies below to ask questions and/or schedule a research consultation.
Finding Language for Your Research Questions in Disability Studies
Selecting keywords for research in Disability Studies can be challenging for a variety of reasons:
- There is no single, agreed-upon definition of disability.
- Language for naming and describing disability changes over time and varies across regions and cultures.
- Terms and/or subject classifications used in academic or clinical literature may vary from language that is used in everyday speech. Some research employs a medical model of disability while other research embraces the social model or rights-based understanding of disability.
- There is debate among people with disabilities about people-first language versus identity-first language.
- Additionally, some people with disabilities may use reclaimed terms to name themselves that were once considered offensive (i.e. "crip").
Taking language issues into account will help with selecting keywords as you search for books, articles, statistics, primary sources, audiovisual materials, data sets, and more. This page offers resources below to help understand current and historical terminology.
Investigating Search Terms
This section contains a range of interdisciplinary resources for researching keywords and historical terms.
Oxford English Dictionary This link opens in a new window
Unabridged, historical dictionary chronicling current and past word meanings with examples from literary sources. Includes access to the Historical Thesaurus of the OED.
NCDJ Disability Language Style Guide
A style guide developed by the National Center on Disability and Journalism (NCDJ) at Arizona State University covering almost 200 words and terms commonly used when referring to disability, most of which are not covered in The Associated Press style guide. Available in English and Spanish.
Database Search Tips
- As you search through library catalogs and databases, look for subjects, subject headings, index terms, categories, or author-supplied keywords. You can use these terms to improve your search based on how the database is structured. If the terms are hyperlinked, you can click on them to generate similar results.
- Use Boolean Operators [AND, OR, NOT] and Modifiers [ "", *, ( ) ] to structure your search terms within a database to maximize your results.
Reference sources provide background information and summaries:
Reference and Digital Humanities Librarian
Head of Access, Information and Collection Services and Operations at the Quinn Library
Reference & Instruction Department
Reference & Instruction Department
Fordham University Libraries
Walsh Library ♦ Rose Hill Campus ♦ 718-817-3586
Quinn Library ♦ Lincoln Center Campus ♦ 212-636-6050
Fordham Westchester Library ♦ Fordham Westchester Campus ♦ 914-367-3061
email@example.com ♦ text 71-TXTX-1284 ♦ Ask a Librarian (Chat)