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Qualitative and Quantitative Research Studies

Definitions and examples of, and strategies for finding, articles with these methods.

Librarian Search Tip

This page explains three different search strategies for finding articles of particular methodologies. In reality, you're going to combine these strategies to be as efficient and effective as possible.

Tutorial: Is it probably qualitative or quantitative?

Tutorial: Narrow results by article type

Strategy One: Keywords

Keywords are words or phrases that you use to describe your research topic - both the content (eg diabetes) and the research methodology (eg quantitative). You can use as many or as few keywords as you like, and you don't have to include a method, although it may help narrow down your search resullts. 

CINAHL search showing use of keyword for content

CINAHL search box showing use of keyword for research methodology


Strategy Two: Filters & Limits

Databases are here to help, and their tools are designed to do a lot of the work: narrowing down your results list to the most relevant articles.  Save yourself time by using limiting options like these:

Limit results to Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals


Limit results to Research Articles


Limit results to articles published between 2005 and 2011

Limit results to articles with an author who is a nurse

You can go to Show More underneath the Publication Date slider in order to see all the options. Choices like Language or Journal Subset can limit the results to nursing journals, which can save you some time as you start to go through your search results.

Strategy Three: Subject Terms

While keywords are search terms that you develop, subject terms are search terms that have already been developed - each article is already tagged with subjects terms that describe it. You can copy these terms into your search to use them as keywords, or you can go to CINAHL Headings and do a structured subject term search.

Please note: If you're stuck, or just curious, consider contacting your librarian! 

CINAHL Headings search box


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