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Dahlgren Memorial Library

Research in the Health Sciences

Working through the research process involves many integrated steps: creating a research question, performing a literature review, submitting IRB forms, gaining funding, analyzing results, and publishing. We have resources and services to help!

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Common Qualitative Methods / Frameworks


Searching the Literature

Search strategies for qualitative literature can differ slightly than quantitative literature. Below are suggested search terms (subject headings and keywords) for our three major health sciences databases. Please Ask a DML Librarian with any research and/or searching questions.

 

 

MeSH (Medical Subject Headings):

  • Empirical Research [2003- ]
    • Grounded Theory [2015- ]
    • Qualitative Research [2003- ]
      • Hermeneutics [2015- ]
  • Observation [1997- ]
  • Focus Groups [1993- ]
  • Interviews as Topic [2008- ]
  • "Surveys and Questionnaires"
  • Narration [2003- ]
  • Anecdotes as Topic [2008- ]
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Anthropology, Cultural [1968- ]

Publication Type Limits

  • Interview
  • Observational Study
  • Personal Narratives

Clinical Queries: Qualitative
These are preset, specific search strategies or "hedges" for limiting your search. Also available in CINAHL.

  • High Sensitivity: the broadest search to include ALL relevant material; it may include less relevant materials.
  • High Specificity: the most targeted search to include only the most relevant set; may miss some relevant materials.
  • Best Balance: retrieves the best balance between Sensitivity and Specificity.

Developing optimal search strategies for detecting clinically relevant qualitative studies in MEDLINE..
Wong SS, Wilczynski NL, Haynes RB; Hedges Team.
Stud Health Technol Inform. 2004;107(Pt 1):311-6.

 

CINAHL Headings

  • Qualitative Studies
    • Action Research
    • Ethnographic Research
    • Ethnological Research
    • Ethnonursing Research
    • Grounded Theory
    • Naturalistic Inquiry
    • Phenomenological Research
  • Focus Groups
  • Phenomenology
  • Narratives
  • Interviews
    • Semi-Structured Interview
    • Structured Interview
    • Unstructured Interview
  • Life Experiences
  • Descriptive Research
  • Diaries
  • Surveys
  • Observational Methods
    • Nonparticipant Observation
    • Participant Observation
    • Structured Categories
    • Unstructured Categories

Publication Type Limits

  • Anecdote
  • Interview
  • Meta Synthesis
  • Questionnaire/Scale

Clinical Queries: Qualitative
These are preset, specific search strategies or "hedges" for limiting your search. The below options are found in the "Edit" screen or the Advanced Search screen. Also available in PubMed or Ovid MEDLINE.

  • High Sensitivity: the broadest search to include ALL relevant material; it may include less relevant materials.
  • High Specificity: the most targeted search to include only the most relevant set; may miss some relevant materials.
  • Best Balance: retrieves the best balance between Sensitivity and Specificity.

Search strategies for identifying qualitative studies in CINAHL.
Wilczynski NL, Marks S, Haynes RB.
Qual Health Res. 2007 May;17(5):705-10.

 

Emtree (Subject Headings)

  • Qualitative Research
    • Hermeneutics
  • Qualitative Analysis
  • Ethnographic Research
  • Ethnography
  • Grounded Theory
  • Information Processing (this term is used for focus groups)
  • Interview
    • Semi Structured Interview
    • Structured Interview
    • Unstructured Interview
  • Naturalistic Inquiry
  • Observational Study
  • Personal Experience
  • Phenomenology
  • Questionnaire
  • Thematic Analysis

Study Types filters

  • Questionnaire
  • Interview
  • Qualitative Research

Developing optimal search strategies for retrieving clinically relevant qualitative studies in EMBASE.
Walters LA, Wilczynski NL, Haynes RB; Hedges Team.
Qual Health Res. 2006 Jan;16(1):162-8.

Helpful to combine Subject Headings with Keywords:

  • action research
  • autoethnography OR autoethnographic
  • cluster sample
  • constant comparative method
  • content analysis
  • discourse analysis
  • ethnography
  • ethnological research
  • ethnomethodology
  • ethnonursing
  • field study
  • focus group
  • grounded theory
  • hermeneutics
  • heuristics
  • interviews
  • life experiences
  • lived experience
  • narrative
  • participatory action research
  • patient experience(s)
  • phenomenology OR phenomenological
  • purposive sample
  • observational method
  • qualitative
  • semiotics
  • semi-structured
  • situational analysis
  • thematic analysis
  • theoretical sample

Evaluating Qualitative Literature