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Qualitative Studies

How to identify qualitative studies in health databases

Purpose of this Libguide

This Libguide provides a starting point on identifying qualitative evidence using health-related databases.

Things to Consider

You should consider incorporating the following to aid in identifying the qualitative evidence:

  • research that falls under the broad context of being qualitative (e.g. qualitative, ethnography, grounded theory),
  • research that employs a specific data collection method or instrument (e.g. surveys, interviews, focus groups), or
  • research that incorporates a specific theory, framework, or model (e.g. Attachment Theory (i.e. Bowlby), Self-Efficacy Theory (i.e. Bandura), The Health Belief Model)

 

The nature of your research question may require you to search outside of the health databases (e.g. Sociological Abstracts, Social Sciences Index)

Controlled Vocabulary and Keywords

Ovid Medline

Qualitative Research Designs

(i.e. study design language)

Qualitative Research 

Methods or Instruments

Qualitative Research Frameworks, Models,

or Theories

MeSH 

(i.e. controlled vocabulary)

Qualitative Research/

Empirical Research/

Ethnography/

Single-Case Studies as Topic/

Grounded Theory/

Personal Narrative/

Interview as Topic/

Interviews/

Focus Groups/

Nursing Evaluation Research/

Surveys and Questionnaires/

Self-Report/

 

Social Theory/

Models, Nursing/

Models, Theoretical/
Keywords

Qualitative

Empirical Research

Ethnograph*

Case Study

Case Studies

Grounded Theory

Narrative*

Phenomenolog*

 

Interview*

Focus Group*

Participant Observation*

Non-Participant Observation*

Survey*

Questionnaire*

Social theor*

Sociological theor*

Search for a specific theory or creator:

Self-Efficacy Theory

Attachment Theory

The Health Belief Model

Bowen? adj2 theor*

 

Ovid Embase
 

Qualitative Research Design (i.e. study design language)

Qualitative Research Methods or Instruments

Qualitative Research Frameworks, Models, or Theories

Emtree (i.e. controlled vocabulary)

Qualitative Research/

Empirical Research/

Ethnography/

Ethnographic Research/

Ethnonursing Research/

Case Study/

Interview/

Information Processing/

Questionnaire/

Open Ended Questionnaire/

Structured Questionnaire/

Participant Observation/

Non Participant Observation/

 

 

exp Sociological Theory/

Sociological Theory can be exploded to include narrower subject headings (e.g. Family Systems Theory)

Family Systems Theory/

exp Nursing Theory/

Nursing Theory can be exploded to include narrower subject headings (e.g. Orem Self Care Model, Nightingale's Nursing Theory)

Health Belief Model/

Orem Self Care Model/

Nightingale's Nursing Theory/

 

 

 

 

Keywords

Qualitative

Empirical Research

Ethnograph*

Case Study

Case Studies

Grounded Theory

Narrative*

Phenomenolog*

Interview*

Focus Group*

Participant Observation*

Non-Participant Observation*

Survey*

Questionnaire*

Social theor*

Sociological theor*

Search for a specific theory or creator:

Self-Efficacy Theory

Attachment Theory

The Health Belief Model

Bowen? adj2 theor*

exp indicates the subject heading has been exploded to include the narrower subject headings

CINAHL
 

Qualitative Research Design (i.e. study design language)

 

 

Qualitative

Research Methods or

Instruments

 

 

 

Qualitative Research Frameworks,

Models, or Theories

 

 

 

 

CINAHL Subject Headings

MH "Qualitative Studies"

MH "Action Research"

MH "Ethnographic Research"

MH "Ethnological Research"

MH "Ethnonursing Research"

MH "Grounded Theory"

MH "Naturalistic Inquiry"

MH "Phenomenological Research"

MH "Interviews+"

Interviews can be exploded to include semi-structured interviews, structured interviews, unstructured interviews

MH "Interview Guides+"

Interview Guides can be exploded to include narrower subject headings (e.g. structured interview guides, unstructured interview guides)

MH "Focus Groups"

MH "Narratives"

MH "Observational Methods+"

Observational Methods can be exploded to include narrower subject headings (e.g. participant observation, non-participant observation)

MH "Field Notes"

MH "Theory Construction"

MH "Theory Validation"

 

 

MH "Conceptual Framework"

MH "Theory"

MH "Ethics Theory"

MH "Models, Theoretical"

MH "Nursing Theory"

MH "Nursing Models, Theoretical"

MH "Psychological Theory"

MH "Sociological Theory"

 

Several of the above subject headings can be exploded. Click on the subject heading within CINAHL to see more specific terms of named theories, frameworks, and models, or areas of theory (e.g. education theory).

Keywords

Qualitative

Empirical Research

Ethnograph*

Case Study

Case Studies

Grounded Theory

Narrative*

Phenomenolog*

Interview*

Focus Group*

Participant Observation*

Non-Participant Observation*

Survey*

Questionnaire*

Social theor*

Sociological theor*

Search for a specific theory or creator:

Self-Efficacy Theory

Attachment Theory

The Health Belief Model

Bowen? N2 Theory

+ indicates the subject heading has been exploded to include the narrower subject headings

Web of Science and Scopus
 

Qualitative Research Designs

(i.e. study design language)

Qualitative Research 

Methods or Instruments

Qualitative Research Frameworks,

Models, or Theories

Keywords

Qualitative

Empirical Research

Ethnograph*

Case Study

Case Studies

Anthropology

Grounded Theory

Narrative*

Phenomenolog*

Interview*

Focus Group*

Participant Observation*

Non-Participant Observation*

Survey*

Questionnaire*

Social theor*

Sociological theor*

Search for a specific theory or creator:

Self-Efficacy Theory

Attachment Theory

The Health Belief Model

Bowen$ NEAR/2 Theory (Web of Science)

Bowen? W/2 Theory (Scopus)

 

Search Tips

Language used to describe qualitative study designs and qualitative methods or instruments may be used interchangeably. As a result, you might want to consider searching on both.

When using controlled vocabulary (i.e. Subject Headings, e.g. MeSH, EMTREE) look at the scope note. The scope note will provide searching insight:

  • as it includes a definition, when the subject heading came into use (i.e. Year of Entry), and previous indexing
  • as it provides a list of “used for” terminology which will inform keyword searches, and related controlled vocabulary

Click here to learn more about wildcards and truncations.