Skip to Main Content

Social Determinants of Health: Start your SDOH Research

Before you begin

Get started with these tips and suggestions for locating and accessing SDOH research. Scroll down or see the menu at left for specific advice.

Need a refresher on how to search within a database?  

Video: Keyword and Subject Searching

(3 min 23 sec) Recorded Jan 2016

Get started

Start searching from the Library homepage to explore and discover articles on a variety of topics across disciplines.

This research starter provides background information, an overview of the topic, important concepts, and a bibliography of relevant literature:

Anciaes, P. R. Ms. (2021). Social determinants of health. Salem Press Encyclopedia.

Suggested subject terms

A subject term is a standardized word or phrase that describes a main idea in the article. When an article is added to a database, the database will assign subject terms to the article from the database's list of subjects. Most articles will have from 3 to 12 subject terms. 

Each database has its own set list of subject terms. Subject terms may use technical jargon and odd punctuation. This means you won't be able to easily guess or intuit subject terms on your own. You will have to identify the subject terms in the database, and then use them in a search. 

If you want to see all the subject terms used in a particular database, you can search the Subject Index to discover subject terms.

Example searches

The following searches were conducted in the multi-database Library Search. You will need a Walden ID and password to access the results.

All results use subject terms when appropriate and are available in full text in the Walden Library.

Consider these as starter searches. You can add additional search terms to the results to get articles on your topic.

Apply Limits. For instance, you can limit to peer-reviewed articles only and by date. 

Click any of the links below to view the search results. Searches will open in a new window.

SDOH and Economy

social determinants of health AND econom*

SDOH and Education

social determinants of health AND education or school or learning or teaching or classroom or education system

SDOH and Healthcare

social determinants of health AND healthcare or health care or hospital or health services or health facilities

SDOH and Neighborhoods

social determinants of health AND neighborhood or community or "built environment"

SDOH and Social and Community Context

social determinants of health AND relationships or social interaction or interpersonal

Build on example searches

You can adapt any of the preset example searches by adding your own search terms.  

If you wish to focus on the economic context of SDOH, specifically in rural areas, you would add search terms for rural areas in a separate search box, while leaving the example SDOH terms in place. Here is an example:

  1. Click on a preset example search from the list. In this case, you might choose the SDOH and economy preset search:

    social determinants of health  AND econom*
  2. On the results page, the first search box will contain your SDOH and economy terms. Leave these here. 
  3. In the second search box, add your terms for rural.

    rural or remote or isolated or small town

    image of pre-set search with additional terms highlighted

  4. Once you've added your search term(s), click the Search button and review the new results.
  5. You can continue to add other search terms, or apply limiters in the Refine Results column typically on the side of the page. There you can limit to date, peer review, and subject area.