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Nursing: Find Qualitative and Quantitative Articles

A guide to online and print resources in nursing & nurse anesthesia.

How to Find Qualitative and Quantitative Articles

Qualitative research: data-gathering techniques that are focused on the significance of observations made in a study, rather than the raw numbers themselves. From: Segen's Medical Dictionary, 2012.

Quantitative research: research involving formal, objective information about the world, with mathematical quantification. It can be used to describe test relationships and to examine cause and effect relationships.  From: Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health. 7th ed. 2003.

There are several ways to locate quantitative and qualitative research articles in CINAHL Complete.

1. Use "MH Exact Subject Heading" field options:  enter the type of study in the first search box, for example, "quantitative studies". From the "Select a Field (optional)" drop down menu, select "MH Exact Subject Heading".  In the subsequent search boxes, enter appropriate keywords; select appropriate limiters from the Search Options, and click SEARCH.

2. From the initial CINAHL search screen, click on CINAHL Headings. Enter quantitative studies (or enter qualitative studies) in the browse box. Select it from the list of suggested search terms and click SEARCH DATABASE.  While viewing those search results, enter your topic/keywords in the second search box, and click SEARCH.

3. Limit your search results to research articles.  Scan the abstracts to determine the study type. 

4.  Limit your search results to Publication Types that are quantitative by definition, for example: meta-analysis, clinical trial, statistics. For qualitative studies, limit your search results to Clinical Queries:Qualitative--best balance.