Nursing Research 434 Library Guide
Searching for Quantitative & Qualitative Articles in Medicine
- For a more precise search, using the special search features in the native interface of a database will give you better results.
- On the main library website, click on the “Databases by subject” link
- If you are off campus, at this point you will be taken to the login screen to access the campus network. Log in using your campus user name and password, the same one you use for your campus e-mail account.
Please review the troubleshooting tips on this screen if you have problems logging in. Once you have logged in, you will see a page of broad topics to search in. Click on “Nursing & Medicine”
Notice that you can ask a question of our staff right on this page, or go to the databases A-Z list if you already know the name of the database you want to search.
***To get to the native interface of your chosen database, simply double-click on the name of the database. DO NOT use the search box on the page because it does not include all of the searching options you will need.. The databases most applicable to nursing research topics are CINAHL, Medline, and Academic Search Complete, so start with these before moving on to the other databases listed. Your database will generally open in a new tab or window.
- If you have chose an EBSCO database you can click on “choose databases” to search multiple related databases at the same time. Otherwise, click on the “Advanced Search” tab to get at the options for making your search results more relevant.
Using the CINAHL Database
On the advanced search screen, make sure Boolean/Phrase is selected. Also click on the down arrow to see the full drop down menu for the search boxes. This allows you to limit your search by author, name of journal, article title, major subject headings, or other useful limits.
Some, but not all of the possible limits are:
TX All Text TI Title AU Author AB Abstract
MW Word in Subject Heading MH Exact Subject Heading
MJ Word in Major Subject Heading MM Exact Major Subject Heading
SO Publication Name JN Publication [exact]
AG Age Group CA Corporate Author CH Cochrane AN
CR Commentary CT Gender DT Publication Date
IS ISSN JT Journal Title Abbreviation LA Language
NM Name NP Named Person OS Original Study PB Publisher
PM Medline PMID PT Publication Type PY Year of Publication
RF Number of References RP Report Number RW Review
SE Series Title SU Subject TC Table of Contents VI Volume
- Further down the screen are many additional types of limits.
- Some of the most obvious that you will want to select include checking the peer-reviewed, human, and English Language boxes.
- Although it may be tempting to check the full-text box, keep in mind that if you do so, you may be eliminating articles we have online in other databases, unnecessarily limiting your pool of available articles. You can always go back and add in this limiter if you get too many results.
- Also take note of the options available under Clinical Queries, Journal subset, Publication Type, age groups, and Special Interest—there may be a predesigned subset that perfectly matches your research interest.
- When developing your search query, consult the headings/thesaurus that explains how a particular term is used in the database, as well as alternative terms as well as narrower or broader concepts.
- Truncating your terms (using an asterisk* after the main stem of the word) will save you having to type in all of the variations of the term when searching as in the example below:
This will search arthritis, arthritic, and also diagnosis, diagnostic, diagnostics, diagnosed, etc.
- Adding terms such as clinical trial, research, empirical study, comparative study, randomized trial, etc. will help to get to evaluative studies.
- Review the subjects assigned to the article for additional search terms, and read the abstract to determine how well the article fits your topic.
- If the text of the article is NOT in the database, click on the “Findit!” to check options for accessing the full-text.
Clicking on “Times cited in this database” will take you to a list of more current articles that considered this article important enough to cite in their own research.
Clicking on the FindIt! button opens a new screen that gives you a link to the full-text in a different database, a link to the catalog record describing our print holdings, or the opportunity to request a free copy via our interlibrary loan service.
Underneath these options you will usually find a list of related articles used by other researchers who found this article helpful. Click on the button to see if we have an article in this list, or to order a copy.
Using the Medline Database
The Medline database from the National Library of Medicine is the most extensive collection of current medical research available, and contains many of the citations found in CINAHL. The search interface is identical to that of CINAHL , although the “publication type” category has many more options for customizing your search, such as twin studies, randomized controlled trials, etc.
Note: Medline combines both qualitative and quantitative studies together under the official subject heading of: "Evaluation Studies as Topic"
Qualitative versus Quantitative Research: What’s the difference?
The following may begin to help you differentiate—it’s not always obvious, and an article may contain both types of research.
Terms to consider combining with your topic
Depending on the database and type or research you are looking for, consider using the following words or phrases to get at the type of research you need. These are often official subject headings used in scientific databases.
quantitative studies use in CINAHL
Qualitative studies use in CINAHL; use "qualitative research" in Medline
Using the phrase "grounded theory" as a keyword search may also yield useful results
Evaluation Studies as Topic use in Medline for both qualitative and quantitative studies
NOTE: Indexers may not be consistent in assigning these terms to an article, so you could very well be looking at something that is a quantitative study or qualitative study, and this subject heading might not have been included in the record.
For further assistance with your research either contact the Reference Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 920-465-2303 or toll-free 1-888-729-4611. Feel free to also contact the the Library Distance Education Services Librarian, Anne Kasuboski at email@example.com or via phone at 920-465-2543.
rev. 8 Sep 2010