|Keywords||Complexity, contextual, inductive logic, discovery, exploration||Experiment, random assignment, independent/dependent variable, causal/correlational, validity, deductive logic|
|Purpose||Understand a phenomenon||Discover causal relationships or describe a phenomenon|
|Sample||Purpose sample, small||Random sample, large|
|Data||Focus groups, interviews, field observation||Tests, surveys, questionnaires|
|Methods/ Design||Phenomenological, grounded theory, ethnographic, case study, historical/narrative research, participatory, research, clinical research||Experimental, quasi-experimental, descriptive, methodical, exploratory, comparative, correlational, developmental (cross-sectional, longitudinal/prospective/cohort, retrospective/ex post facto/case control)|
From Eastern Kentucky University Library: https://libanswers.eku.edu/faq/350240
Qualitative research is defined as "research that derives data from observation, interviews, or verbal interactions and focuses on the meanings and interpretations of the participants." (Holloway and Wheeler, 1995)
Qualitative research can be challenging to find as these methodologies are not always well-indexed in bibliographic databases. This help guide will provide some tips and information to guide you in your search for qualitative research articles through databases, such as PubMed and CINAHL.
Strategy 1: Use Subject Headings
Databases use controlled keywords (known as thesaurus or subject terms) to categorize each record stored. PubMed, for example, uses Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), a highly structured index of terminology. The subject headings vary for each database according to their indexing system. The term "qualitative research" is indexed in PubMed as "Qualitative Research" or "Nursing Methodology Research", while in CINAHL the subject heading "Qualitative Studies" is complemented by more detailed terms, including "Phenomenological Research" and "Grounded Theory".
Strategy 2: Use Text Words
This strategy uses text or keywords that might specifically identify qualitative research and searches the titles, abstracts and keywords of records held in the databases. Some Text Words include: qualitative, ethnograph*, phenomenol*, ethnonurs*, grounded theor*, purposive sample, hermeneutic*, heuristic*, semiotics, lived experience*, narrative*, life experiences, cluster sample, action research, observational method, content analysis, thematic analysis, constant comparative method, field stud*, theoretical sample, discourse analysis, focus group*, ethnological research, ethnomethodolog*, interview*.
Strategy 3: Use Qualitative Research Filters
Qualitative Research Filters are pre-formulated search strategies that have been constructed by librarians to help you retrieve articles in databases that deal with qualitative research. You can use the filter and then combine the results with your subject.
Tips from University of Washington Health Sciences Library: https://guides.lib.uw.edu/hsl/qualres/strategies
See below for database search strategies.
The following are tips that can help you find quantitative research articles. These tips work best when your initial search produces a large amount of results.
Tip: Although CINAHL does not have a checkbox to limit your search to either quantitative or qualitative research, it is sometimes helpful to add vocabulary that describes quantitative research tools, methodology or assessments. In the advanced search screen page, you can add a search box that will include words that describe quantitative research.
For example, your quantitative research search statement may read:
quantitative OR t-test OR “Chi Square” OR covariance OR anova OR instrument* OR mean OR median OR "standard deviation" OR coefficient*
Tip: CINAHL allows you to filter by publication type. If your initial search has returned lots of results, you might try using the Publication Type limiter to select only Clinical Trial and/or Randomized Controlled Trial. These are types of quantitative studies.
Purdue University West Library: https://guides.pnw.edu/NUR390/nur390selecting_research_article
Combine these results with your search subject. The search below will automatically be executed for you (the search may be modified once you are in CINAHL):
(MH “action research”) or (MH "Audiorecording") or (MH "cluster sample+") or (MH "constant comparative method") or (MH "content analysis") or (MH "discourse analysis") or (MH "ethnographic research") or (MH "ethnological research") or (MH "ethnography") or (MH "ethnonursing research") or (MH "field studies") or (MH "focus groups") or (MH "grounded theory") or (MH "Historical Records") or (MH "Interviews+") or (MH "Narratives") or (MH “naturalistic inquiry”) or (MH "observational methods+") or (MH "phenomenological research") or (MH "phenomenology") or (MH "purposive sample") or (MH "qualitative studies") or (MH "qualitative validity+") or (MH "questionnaires") or (MH "thematic analysis") or (MH "theoretical sample") or (MH "Videorecording+") or TX colaizzi* or TX constant comparative or TX constant comparison or TX cooperative inquir* or TX co-operative inquir* or TX co operative inquir* or TX Corbin* TX data saturat* or TX discourse* analysis or TX emic or TX etic or TX ethnon* or TX field research or TX field stud* or TX focus group* or TX Foucault* or TX giorgi* or TX Glaser* or TX grounded analysis or TX grounded research or TX grounded studies or TX grounded study or TX grounded theor* or TX heidegger* or TX hermeneutic* or TX heuristic or TX human science or TX husserl* or TX life experiences or TX life stor* or TX lived experience* or TX merleau ponty* or TX narrative analysis or TX qualitative or TX participant observ* or TX phenomenol* or TX purpos* sampl* or TX questionnaire* or TX semiotics or TX spiegelberg* or TX Strauss* TX van kaam* or TX van manen*
CINAHL has the following Subject Headings that may be of use: Multimethod Studies or Triangulation
You can also search your topic with the following suggested text words:
Tips from University of Washington Health Sciences Library: https://guides.lib.uw.edu/hsl/qualres/cin
NOTE: Inconsistent indexing in PubMed. For example, grounded theory articles are not always indexed for qualitative research. Need to TextWord search for additional terms: “grounded theory”, “action research”, ethnograph* etc.
Additional MeSH terms that may be applicable to your topic include: Attitude of Health Personnel; Attitude to Death; Attitude to Health; or Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice.
(((“semi-structured”[TIAB] OR semistructured[TIAB] OR unstructured[TIAB] OR informal[TIAB] OR “in-depth”[TIAB] OR indepth[TIAB] OR “face-to-face”[TIAB] OR structured[TIAB] OR guide[TIAB] OR guides[TIAB]) AND (interview*[TIAB] OR discussion*[TIAB] OR questionnaire*[TIAB])) OR (“focus group”[TIAB] OR “focus groups”[TIAB] OR qualitative[TIAB] OR ethnograph*[TIAB] OR fieldwork[TIAB] OR “field work”[TIAB] OR “key informant”[TIAB])) OR “interviews as topic”[Mesh] OR “focus groups”[Mesh] OR narration[Mesh] OR qualitative research[Mesh] OR "personal narratives as topic"[Mesh] OR (theme[TIAB] OR thematic[TIAB]) OR "ethnological research"[TIAB] OR phenomenol*[TIAB] OR "grounded theory"[TIAB] OR "grounded study"[TIAB] OR "grounded studies"[TIAB] OR "grounded research"[TIAB] OR "grounded analysis"[TIAB] OR "grounded analyses"[TIAB] OR "life story"[TIAB] OR "life stories"[TIAB] OR emic[TIAB] OR etic[TIAB] OR hermeneutics[TIAB] OR heuristic*[TIAB] OR semiotic[TIAB] OR "data saturation"[TIAB] OR "participant observation"[TIAB] OR "action research"[TIAB] OR "cooperative inquiry"[TIAB] OR "co-operative inquiry"[TIAB] OR "field study"[TIAB] OR "field studies"[TIAB] OR "field research"[TIAB] OR "theoretical sample"[TIAB] OR "theoretical samples"[TIAB] OR "theoretical sampling"[TIAB] OR "purposive sampling"[TIAB] OR "purposive sample"[TIAB] OR "purposive samples"[TIAB] OR "lived experience"[TIAB] OR "lived experiences"[TIAB] OR "purposive sampling"[TIAB] OR "content analysis"[TIAB] OR discourse[TIAB] OR "narrative analysis"[TIAB] OR heidegger*[TIAB] OR colaizzi[TIAB] OR spiegelberg[TIAB] OR "van manen*"[TIAB] OR "van kaam"[TIAB] OR "merleau ponty"[TIAB] OR husserl*[TIAB] OR Foucault[TIAB] or Corbin[TIAB] OR Strauss[TIAB] OR Glaser[TIAB]
PubMed does not have suitable MeSH terms for mixed methods research. Search your topic with the following suggested text words using the quotes and truncation symbol*:
Tips from University of Washington Health Sciences Library: https://guides.lib.uw.edu/hsl/qualres/pubmed