Qualitative Research Resources
About this Page
Why is this information important?
- Electronic databases for health science literature, such as PubMed or CINAHL, often do not index qualitative health studies very clearly.
- Authors also do not always identify their methods using the word "qualitative" in their titles or abstracts; in some cases they may use terminology for a specific qualitative method instead.
- Often, that means that it is hard to find qualitative studies in common health science databases like PubMed
On this page you'll find:
- articles that describe and evaluate search strategies for finding qualitative research
- articles that provide search strategies for specific databases
- web resources on search filters and finding qualitative articles in databases
- links to sets of search terms to use when searching for qualitative research
Ready-Built Sets of Search Terms
Database-specific Search Strategies
A Few Articles on Search Strategies for Specific Databases
Wilczynski NL, Marks S, Haynes RB.2007. Search strategies for identifying qualitative studies in CINAHL. Qualitative Health Research 17(5):705-10.
Walters LA, Wilczynski NL, Haynes RB; Hedges Team. 2006. Developing optimal search strategies for retrieving clinically relevant qualitative studies in EMBASE. Qualitative Health Research 16(1):162-8.
Wong SS, Wilczynski NL, Haynes RB, Hedges Team. 2004. Developing optimal search strategies for detecting clinically relevant qualitative studies in MEDLINE. Medinfo 11: 311-316.
McKibbon KA, Wilczynski NL, Haynes RB. 2006. Developing optimal search strategies for retrieving qualitative studies in PsycINFO. Evaluation and the Health Professions 29: 440-454.
CINAHL & PsycINFO:
Rosumeck S, Wagner M, Wallraf S, Euler U. A validation study revealed differences in design and performance of search filters for qualitative research in PsycINFO and CINAHL. J Clin Epidemiol. 2020 Dec;128:101-108. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2020.09.031. Epub 2020 Sep 26. PMID: 32987157.
MEDLINE, CINAHL, Social Science Citation Index (SSCI):
DeJean D, Giacomini M, Simeonov D, Smith A. Finding Qualitative Research Evidence for Health Technology Assessment. Qual Health Res. 2016 Aug;26(10):1307-17. doi: 10.1177/1049732316644429. Epub 2016 Apr 26. PMID: 27117960.
MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO:
General Qual Search Strategies
A Few Articles on General Search Strategies for Qualitative Literature
Booth, A. (2016). Searching for qualitative research for inclusion in systematic reviews: A structured methodological review. Systematic Reviews, 5 doi:http://dx.doi.org.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/10.1186/s13643-016-0249-x
Cook, A., D. Smith, and A. Booth. 2012. Beyond PICO: the SPIDER tool for qualitative evidence synthesis. Qualitative Health Research 10: 1435-1443.
Evans, D. 2002. Database searches for qualitative research. Journal of the Medical Libraries Association, 90(3): 290-293.
Flemming K, Briggs M. 2007. Electronic searching to locate qualitative research: evaluation of three strategies. J Adv Nurs. 57(1):95-100
Gorecki CA, Brown JM, Briggs M, Nixon J. 2010. Evaluation of five search strategies in retrieving qualitative patient-reported electronic data on the impact of pressure ulcers on quality of life. J Adv Nurs. 66(3):645-52
Grant MJ. 2004 How does your searching grow? A survey of search preferences and the use of optimal search strategies in the identification of qualitative research. Health Info Libr J. 21(1):21-32
Littleton, D, S Marsalis, D Z Bliss. 2004. Searching the literature by design. Western Journal of Nursing Research 26(8): 891-908.
Methley, A.M., S. Campbell, C. Chew-Graham, R. McNally, and S. Cheraghi-Sohi. 2014. PICO, PICOS, and SPIDER: a comparison study of specificity and sensitivity in three search tools for qualitative systematic reviews. BMC Health Serv Res 14: 579.
Pearson, M., Moxham, T., & Ashton, K. 2011. Effectiveness of Search Strategies for Qualitative Research About Barriers and Facilitators of Program Delivery. Evaluation & the Health Professions, 34(3), 297–308. https://doi.org/10.1177/0163278710388029
Petticrew, Mark and Helen Roberts. 2008. Systematic Reviews in the Social Sciences: A Practical Guide. Chapter 4: How to Find the Studies: The Literature Search. Blackwell Publishing: Oxford, UK.
Shaw RL, Booth A, Sutton AJ, Miller T, Smith JA, Young B, et al. 2004. Finding qualitative research: an evaluation of search strategies. BMC Med Res Methodol 4:5
- Last Updated: Jul 29, 2021 11:37 AM
- URL: https://guides.lib.unc.edu/qual
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