Skip to Main Content

Disability Studies

This guide will assist with research information related to Disability Studies

Search Terms/ Keywords

The following search terms are presented for discovery of information for both historical research and current research on persons and culture related to differently abled persons/ communities within Disability Studies: 

Disability and Ableism:

  • Disability
  • Ableism
  • Invisible disability
  • Disability AND stigma
  • Blind*
  • Low Vision
  • Deaf Culture
  • Chronic illness
  • Able-bodiedness OR able bodied
  • Major life activities
  • Learning disability
  • Mental illness
  • Intellectual disability
  • Crip (This word has been or is in the process of being reclaimed.)

Disability Resources:

  • Accessibility AND inclusion
  • Accommodation*
  • ADA accommodations
  • Accessibility parking
  • Disability studies
  • Closed Caption*
  • Wheelchair
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Prosthetics 
  • Adaptive sports
  • Adaptive technology
  • Screen reader*
  • Assistive technology
  • Sign language
  • Universal design
  • Equal opportunity
  • Equal opportunity employer

Key Laws Related to Disabilities:

  • Americans with Disability Act (ADA)
  • Rehabilitation Act Section 504
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Official Resources and Enforcement Agencies

  • U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
  • U.S. Access Board
  • Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) of 1968
  • Arizona Attorney General’s Office Civil Rights Division 
  • Job Accommodation Network (JAN)

People Related to Disability Rights:

  • Judy Heumann -  She is sometimes referred to as the "mother of the disability rights movement." 
  • President George H.W. Bush - Signed the ADA into law.  

Historical Search Terms:

  • Handicapped
  • Deaf-mute
  • Deformed
  • Crippled
  • Impaired
  • Retard*

Boolean Modifiers can further expand, refine, and improve a search. Boolean modifiers include the asterisk, *, (also known as truncation/wildcard searching), (parentheses)"quotation marks"

  • The asterisk, *, attaches to the stem of a word and searches for any word includes that stem, or the letters before the asterisk. Therefore, you will get results with different endings but all the same stem. See the following example:
    • Searching for stat* will return results with the following words:
      • state, states, statute, statutory, statistic, statistics, stats, statistical, and more!

The above explanation is from the University of Illinois (2022) guide to "Advanced Search Strategies". See the full guide here: