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Health Disparities

The purpose of this guide is to assist students and faculty in conducting research on the topic of health disparities and health equity issues.



Duquesne students have access to over 300 databases for conducting research. For research on health disparities and health equity, several different disciplines or subjects may have literature on the topic. This could include resources from a medical standpoint (Embase, Medline, PubMed, etc.), a nursing standpoint (CINAHL, Nursing and Allied Health), or a social sciences standpoint (APA PsycInfo, sociology databases, ASSIA, etc.).

Links to these databases are provided below, but this is not a comprehensive list! Be sure to check out Duquesne's list of databases for more options.

Tips for Searching Databases


When looking for research materials, a common issue one may run into is knowing which search terms to use. While there may be field-specific terms relating to health disparities, databases may have their own language for coding articles.




If you're not sure how to go about structuring your search terms and conducting an advanced search, here is a Gumberg library guide that offers search tips and tricks.


General Search Terms


When searching about health disparities, consider these search terms:

  • health status disparities
  • healthcare disparities
  • health equity
  • socioeconomic factors


Population-Specific Search Terms


Depending on the populations you're wanting to observe regarding health disparities, options can vary. Remember that some populations may be referred to by a variety of terms, so widening your search to look for more than one may yield better results. For example, if one wanted to do research on health disparities in African American populations, one could search:

  • African Americans
  • Black Americans
  • Black persons
  • Blacks

To put them all together to get the broadest search including articles featuring any of these titles, you would search:

  • (African Americans OR Black Americans OR Black persons OR Blacks) AND (health status disparities OR healthcare disparities)


Subject-Specific Search Terms


Say you're wanting to look into health disparities as it relates to one of the social determinants of health, but not necessarily just in one population. It may be helpful to consider widening the search to broad subject identifiers. For example, these are search terms one might use for research on health equity in relation to economic class groups:

  • poverty
  • poverty areas
  • income
  • indigency
  • public housing
  • homelessness
  • socioeconomic factors