Selected Resources for: Death and Dying

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Subject Librarian:

Katherine Chew

the psychological, sociological and physical aspects of death and the dying process.

Article Databases and Indexes

* Premier Resources *

Search MEDLINE databases for journal articles in the health sciences. MEDLINE is the National Library of Medicine's bibliographic database/article index that contains over 17 million references to journal articles. Coverage is from 1949 to the present. Over 5200 journals worldwide in over 37 languages are indexed.

Going back to 1806, this is the most comprehensive database for psychological research. With a little guidance from this tutorial, you'll be able to go from a general idea to a very precise set of results of scholarly materials.

Academic or Scholarly Articles Subject Indexes

CINAHL, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health, has a multidisciplinary scope covering nursing, 17 allied health disciplines, biomedicine, consumer health, health sciences librarianship and selected standards of professional practice.

This is the primary source of journal article for the health sciences. You can search MEDLINE and preMEDLINE databases with full text access to all MEDLINE e-journals subscribed to by the University of Minnesota TC Libraries. MEDLINE is the National Library of Medicine's bibliographic database/article index that contains over 17 million references to journal articles. Coverage is from 1949 to the present. Over 5200 journals worldwide in over 37 languages are accessible.

This core database for the field of sociology contains information on sociology and social policy worldwide. Sociological Abstracts includes citations from the 1952-present.

General Indexes to Magazine, Journal & Newspaper Articles

The world's largest academic multi-disciplinary database. Includes full text access to over 4,000 scholarly (peer-reviewed) publications back to 1975. A great place to start your research on any topic. Find search tips on their help page.

LexisNexis Academic is a full text databases of business, legal, news, magazines, and wire services. It includes sources for accounting, environmental studies, health and medical care, government and politics, people, and consumer information. Legal publications include law journals, federal and state statutes, codes, cases, agency rules & regulations, patents and legal reference materials.

Catalogs and Bibliographies


Death and dying : an annotated bibliography of the thanatological literature

Contents: Adolescents -- Aging and death -- Attitudes toward death -- Bibliographies -- Childhood bereavement -- Communication about death -- Coping and caregivers -- Cross-cultural views on death and dying -- Death education -- The death of a child -- Dying -- Eschatology -- Ethical issues -- Fear of death -- General works -- Grief and mourning -- Historical views of death and dying -- Hospice -- Immortality -- Legal and financial issues -- Mental health issues -- Miscellaneous -- Near-death experiences -- Nursing -- Palliative care -- Parental loss and grief -- Pastoral care -- Philosophical studies -- Practitioner education -- Rituals -- Sibling loss and grief -- Thanatology -- Widowhood.

General Reference Sources


Death Dictionary

Includes over 5,500 clinical, legal, literary, and vernacular terms.


Death and the Afterlife : A Cultural Encyclopedia

This 2000 one-volume encyclopedia provides global coverage of rites and customs.

Addresses traditional death and dying-related topics, focusing on the human experience. Includes the complex cultural beliefs and traditions and the institutionalized social rituals that surround dying and death, as well as the array of emotional responses relating to bereavement, grieving, and mourning.

"The 327 signed entries, written by scholars and expert care providers, range in length from a few paragraphs to several pages. The focus of the entries is on exploring 'the place of death in contemporary life,' although the encyclopedia also aims to provide a historical perspective of death and dying through the ages."

Handbooks and Manuals

v. 1. The presence of death. Pt. 1: Death in cultural context -- pt. 2. Death in social context: variants in morality and meaning -- pt. 3. Death and social controversy -- pt. 4. Passing away: dying as social process -- v. 2. The response to death. pt. 5. Funeralization: the social ceremonies of death -- pt. 6. Body disposition -- pt. 7. Thanatological aftermath -- pt. 8. The legalities of death -- pt. 9. The creative imagination and the response to death -- pt. 9. The future of death.

Euthanasia : a reference handbook

Contents: Background and history -- Problems, controversies, and solutions -- Worldwide perspective -- Chronology -- Biographical sketches -- Data and documents -- Directory of organizations.

Contents: Attachment, loss, and the experience of grief -- Understanding the mourning process -- The mourning process: mediators of mourning -- Grief counseling: facilitating uncomplicated grief -- Abnormal grief reactions: complicated mourning -- Grief therapy: resolving complicated mourning -- Grieving special types of losses -- Grief and family systems -- The counselor's own grief -- Training for grief counseling.

Summary: "If ever there was an area requiring that the research-practice gap be bridged, surely it occurs where thanatologists engage with people dealing with human mortality and loss. The field of thanatology - the study of death and dying - is a complex, multidisciplinary area that encompases the range of human experiences, emotions, expectations, and realities. The Handbook of Thanatology is the most authoritative volume in the field, providing a single source of up-to-date scholarship, research, and practice implications. The handbook is the recommended resource for preparation for the prestigious certificate in thanatology (CT) and fellow in thanatology (FT) credentials, which are administered and granted by ADEC"-- "The Handbook of Thanatology is the most authoritative volume in the field, providing a single source of up-to-date scholarship, research, and practice implications. The handbook is the recommended resource for preparation for the prestigious certificate in thanatology (CT) and fellow in thanatology (FT) credentials, which are administered and granted by ADEC"--

Summary: The Handbook of Bereavement Research provides a broad view of diverse contemporary approaches to bereavement, examining both normal adaptation and complex manifestations of grief. In this volume, leading interdisciplinary scholars focus on 3 important themes in bereavement research: consequences, coping, and care. In exploring the consequences of bereavement, authors examine developmental factors that influence grief both for the individual and the family at different phases of the life cycle. In exploring coping, they describe new empirical studies about how people can and do cope with grief, without professional intervention. Until recently, intervention for the bereaved has not been scientifically guided and has become the subject of challenging differences of opinion and approach. Chapters in the care section of the volume critically examine interventions to date and provide guidance for assessment and more theoretically and empirically guided treatment strategies. The Handbook provides an up-to-date comprehensive review of scientific knowledge about bereavement in an authoritative yet accessible way that will be essential reading for researchers, practitioners, and health care professionals in the 21st century.

Teacher's Handbook of Death

Teachers are increasingly called upon to discuss and explain death and dying to children in the classroom. This book provides them with methods to facilitate open discussions of death and to find suitable ways of talking with children about what happens when someone they know dies. It explores some of the most sensitive questions surrounding death.". "The authors also offer useful strategies for talking about death in the context of different school lessons, in order to prepare pupils of all ages. The various chapters are each clearly labelled with suggested age-ranges for their use, and each has a useful summary of the main points covered. The final chapter on grief and mourning covers the crucial topic of how to give newly bereaved children the support they need. This handbook combines factual information with broader suggestions for teachers to use when discussing death with children. Readable and practical, it will be invaluable for teachers who have to broach this sensitive issue within the school environment

The consumer’s practical guide to funerals, burials & cremation

Funeral homes & services -- Cemeteries & memorial parks -- Cremation & alternative forms of disposition -- Personalization & practical ideas for memorialization -- Financing & payment -- Available benefits -- Dealing with grief & mourning -- A summary of customs & practices -- A brief history (where & why) -- Available resources -- FTC funeral trade rule -- State regulating boards -- Cemetery laws by state -- Glossary -- Notes/bibliography -- Index -- Personal planning guide.

Internet Resources

Electronic Texts

Results from the Presidential Commssion on the question "the ethical and legal implications of the matter of defining death, including the advisability of developing a uniform definition of death."

Web Sites

-- Selected excerpts from the second edtion of Kenneth V. Iserson's classic Death to Dust. Includes: decomposition, death investigation factiods, funeral industry jargon and more.

-- An interactive ThinkQuest site that explores the topic of death: from causes; coping with death to the finality of death & the uncertainty that follows.

This online exhibition by the Australian Museum looks at what happens to us after we die; how different cultures dispose of, mourn and remember their dead and takes a remarkable journey through how death has been dealt with through the ages.

Bereavement topics include: overviews; diagnosis/symptoms; specific conditions; directories; organizations; children; men; seniors; teenagers

Death & dying topics include: general overviews; coping; research; specific conditions/aspects; dictionaries; law and policy; organizations; statistics; children; seniors and women

Bill Moyers goes from the bedsides of the dying to the front lines of a movement to improve end-of-life care in ON OUR OWN TERMS: Moyers on Dying. PBS. Includes transcripts, audio & video clips

"This website is a directory of online death indexes listed by state and county. Included are death records, death certificate indexes, death notices & registers, obituaries, probate indexes, and cemetery & burial records. Also included is information about searching the Social Security Death Index online."

-- This meta-index of death & dying resources includes the following topics: cross-cultural issues; death in the arts and humanities; types of death; life after death; obituaries; memorials; religion; politics; euthanasia and physician assisted suicide; animal rights; grief; funeral customs and planning. It is complied and maintained by Michael C. Kearl, Trinity University.

On Our Own Terms: Moyers on Dying provokes a wide variety of emotions. The series asks us to begin the difficult task of contemplating our own mortality. In response, KQED (San Francisco) presents four half-hour companion shows: honest discussions about caregiving, grief, difficult decisions and what may lie beyond death. Transcripts, viewer guides & resources

Periodical and Newspaper subscriptions

Electronic Journal Collections

PsycARTICLES Database contains the full text of articles from APA (American Psychological Association) journals and selected EPF (Educational Publishing Foundation) journals, most from 1988 to the present. The articles are provided in HTML format for direct viewing and printing with your web browser.
Remote access available for University of Minnesota -- Twin Cities students, staff and faculty

Societies, Agencies, and Organizations

Official Agency & Organization Websites

-- A gathering place on the web for lay personnel and professionals who provide grief counseling, funeral service education, and hospice care. is an Internet community of persons dealing with grief, death, and major loss.

Style Manuals and Writing Guides

Bibliography Software

RefWorks is a web-based citation manager that allows you to create your own databases of citations by importing references from MNCAT and other databases, and then in seconds automatically generate bibliographies in all major styles (MLA, APA, Turabian, Chicago, etc.).

Style Manuals

<i>APA Style Guide to Electronic References</i>

Published in 2007, this guide includes APA's latest rules for how to reference electronic sources.

Writing Guides

Contents Research, researchers, and readers -- Prologue: Becoming a researcher -- Thinking in print: Uses of research, public and private -- Connecting with your reader: (Re-)creating yourself and your audience -- Asking questions, finding answers -- Prologue: Planning your project - an overview -- From topics to questions -- From questions to a problem -- From problems to sources -- Engaging sources -- Making a claim and supporting it -- Prologue: Assembling a research argument -- Making good arguments: Overview -- Making claims -- Assembling reasons and evidence -- Acknowledgments and responses -- Warrants -- Planning, drafting, and revising -- Prologue: Planning again -- Planning -- Drafting your report -- Revising your organization and argument -- Communicating evidence visually -- Introductions and conclusions-- Revising style: Telling your story clearly -- Some last considerations.

How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper.

Pt. I. Some preliminaries. What is scientific writing? -- Historical perspectives -- Approaching a writing project -- What is a scientific paper? -- Ethics in scientific publishing -- Where to submit your manuscript -- Pt. II. Preparing the text. How to prepare the title -- How to list the authors and addresses -- How to prepare the abstract - How to write the introduction -- How to write the materials and methods section --How to write the results -- How to write the discussion -- How to state the acknowledgments -- How to cite the references -- Pt. III. Preparing the tables and figures. How to design effective tables -- How to prepare effective graphs -- How to prepare effective photographys -- Pt. IV. Publishing the paper. Rights and permissions -- How to submit the manuscript -- The review process (how to deal with editors) -- The publishing process (how to deal with proofs) -- Pt. V. Doing other writing for publication. How to write a review paper -- How to write opinion (book reviews, editorials, and letters to the editor) -- How to write a book chapter or a book -- How to write for the public -- Pt. VI. conference communications. How to present a paper orally -- How to prepare a poster -- How to write a conference report -- Pt. VII. Scientific style. Use and misuse of English -- Avoiding jargon -- How and when to use abbreviations -- Writing clearly across cultures and media -- How to write science in English as a foreign language -- Pt. VIII. Other topics in scientific communication. How to write a thesis -- How to prepare a curriculum vitae -- How to prepare grant proposals and progress reports -- How to write a recommendation letter - and how to ask for one -- How to work with the media -- How to provide peer review -- How to seek a scientific-communication career.

Library Information

Bio-Medical Library

Diehl Hall, 505 Essex St. S.E.
East Bank, Minneapolis Campus
Reference: 612-626-3260; Circulation: 612-626-4045

Wilson Library

309 19th Ave. S.
West Bank, Minneapolis Campus
Service Desk: 612-624-3321