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University of Newcastle Library guides

Research Methods: Searching specific databases

A guide to research methods, and search strategies for finding research.

Searching specific databases

CINAHL (The Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature) is hosted by EBSCOhost Research Databases.

Search tips for finding qualitative research in CINAHL :

  • In CINAHL qualitative research can be located via the subject heading Qualitative Studies, which is also complemented by more detailed search terms, including Action Research, Ethnographic Research, Ethnological Research, Ethnonursing Research, Grounded Theory, Naturalistic Inquiry, and Phenomenological Research.
  • Experiment with related CINAHL subject headings such as Focus Groups, Narratives, Interviews, Descriptive Research, Descriptive Statistics, Audiorecording, Videorecording, Diaries, Observational Methods, Vignettes, etc.
  • Limit the search to Clinical Queries by selecting within the drop-down Clinical Queries menu: Qualitative-High Sensitivity; Qualitative-High Specificity; Qualitative-Best Balance. High Sensitivity is a broad search that retrieves ALL relevant material but may also retrieve less relevant materials. High Specificity is a targeted search that retrieves only the most relevant result set but may miss some relevant materials. Best Balance retrieves the best balance between Sensitivity and Specificity.
  • Limit the search by Publication Types that are Qualitative by definition, for example Anecdote, Interview, etc.
  • Include free text keywords to find articles missed by CINAHL headings.

Medline is accessed on the Ovid search platform.

Search tips for finding qualitative research in Medline :

  • Conduct your topic search and limit the results in the Clinical Queries field by selecting within the drop-down Clinical Queries menu: Qualitative-High Sensitivity; Qualitative-High Specificity; Qualitative-Best Balance. High Sensitivity is a broad search that retrieves ALL relevant material but may also retrieve less relevant materials. High Specificity is a targeted search that retrieves only the most relevant result set but may miss some relevant materials. Best Balance retrieves the best balance between Sensitivity and Specificity.
  • Experiment with related Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) including Qualitative Research, Interview as Topic, Focus Groups, Nursing Methodology Research, Personal Narratives as Topic or Observational Study as Topic.
  • Combine your topic search with either the Clinical Queries limit or the Qualitative MeSH headings.

PsycINFO is accessed on the Ovid search platform.

Finding qualitative research search tips :

  • Limit the search by the Methodology drop-down menu to Qualitative Study, Interview, or Focus Groups.
  • Refine the search by the Clinical Queries drop-down menu to Qualitative (maximizes sensitivity), Qualitative (maximizes specificity) or Qualitative (best balance between sensitivity and specificity). High Sensitivity is a broad search that retrieves ALL relevant material but may also retrieve less relevant materials. High Specificity is a targeted search that retrieves only the most relevant result set but may miss some relevant materials. Best Balance retrieves the best balance between Sensitivity and Specificity.
  • Use subject terms including: qualitative research, interviews, grounded theory, observation methods, etc.

Search tips for finding qualitative research in PubMed:

  • Use suitable Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) terms in your search, such as: Qualitative Research, Interviews as Topic, Focus Groups, Nursing Methodology Research, Anecdotes as Topic, Narration, Video Recording, Tape Recording, Personal Narratives as Topic, Observational Study as Topic. ;Additional MeSH terms that may be applicable to your topic include: Attitude of Health Personnel; Attitude to Death; Attitude to Health; or Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Use free text keyword searches for additional terms missed by MeSH only searching, including: grounded theory, action research, ethnograph* etc.
  • Limit your search by Publication Types, including: Interview, Anecdotes, Personal Narratives, Observational Study etc

You can access the following 2 video tutorials -

PubMed - Simple Subject Search at:  https://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/viewlet/search/subject/subject.html

PubMed - Simple Subject Search: How it Works at:  https://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/viewlet/search/subject2/subject2.html