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RSCH 6210 Week 1 Discussion: Week 1


For the Week 1 discussion, you are asked to find a quantitative article of interest to you that has social change implications. This guide will teach you how to search for a quantitative research article in a database that has content relevant to your area of interest. Specifically, this guide will discuss how to:

  • pick relevant keywords for your topic and combine them with Boolean operators
  • pick a database that is relevant to your subject area
  • identify and combine search words to find quantitative studies in a Library database
  • evaluate the articles that you find to determine if they actually used the desired research method

Pick keywords

Searching the Library databases is not the same as doing a Google search. Here are some key differences:

  • The databases search for exactly what you enter in the search boxes.
    • If you enter a whole sentence, you'll probably get no results.
    • If you misspell or mistype a word, you'll probably get no results.
  • By default, the databases only search for what you enter in the search boxes in the article's title, citation, abstract, and subject headings.
    • This can help you get more relevant results.
    • If your topic is obscure, or not mentioned in these fields, you may get no results.

To effectively search the Library databases we suggest:

  • Breaking apart your topic into the component parts
    • For example, if your topic is community health promotion the main parts are: Community and Health Promotion.
  • Combining these main parts with the Boolean Operators, AND, OR, and NOT
    • AND tells the database to search for both terms in an article:
      • Community AND Health Promotion
    • OR tells the database to search for either term, which is especially useful for synonyms:
      • Health Promotion OR Health Education
    • NOT tells the database to exclude any results that have that term:
      • Quantitative NOT Qualitative

To learn more about finding articles on your topic in the databases, please see our guide:


To learn more about Boolean Operators, please see our guide:

Pick a database

Which database you search in will determine the results that you get. For example, if you search in a health or nursing database, the results you get will be geared toward the health sciences and nursing. If you search in an education database, you'll get results that are focused on education.

To help you find a database that is relevant to your area of study, we have divided the Library databases into subject areas. Here is how you can access them:

1. On the Library homepage, go to the Subject Resources box.


2. Click on Select a subject, and choose the subject area that matches your program of study from the list.

3. Once you have clicked on a subject, scroll down until you see databases and choose one by clicking on its name.

Note: The databases are organized with the largest collections at the top of the list, so selecting the first database is generally a good place to start.

Quantitative studies

Quantitative studies use numbers and statistics to test their hypotheses.

Some keywords associated with quantitative research studies include:

  • Chi square
  • Correlation
  • Data
  • Distribution
  • Experiment
  • Meta analysis
  • Pretest
  • Posttest
  • Regression
  • Statistics
  • T-test
  • Trial
  • Validity
  • Variable
  • Variance


Since not all quantitative research studies have the word quantitative in the title or abstract, it may help to link together the names of different types of quantitative research studies in your search.

Here is an example of a search for quantitative research studies on community health promotion in the CINAHL Plus with Full Text database. Please see the pick a database instructions above for information on how to access the Health Sciences databases. Depending on your subject area, the database you search may look different than this example. But you can still use a similar search strategy.

1. In the first search box enter:

health promotion OR health education

2. In the second search box, enter:


3. In the third search box, enter:

quantitative OR statistics

Here is what your search boxes should look like:


4. To limit your results to only peer-reviewed articles, go below the search boxes and click in the box under Peer Reviewed Scholarly Journals.

Click here to see this image in context.


5. Then click on the Search button to run your search.

6. As you look through your results, you can refer to the evaluate your results section below to make sure the article you pick is indeed a quantitative research study.

Quiz on quantitative research

Which of the following keywords will not help you find quantitative studies in the Library databases?

a. Meta analysis

b. Data

c. Interview

d. Trial


Quiz answer

Evaluate your results

Unfortunately, just because you entered keywords associated with the research type you are trying to find, that doesn't guarantee that all of your results will be the desired research type. Once you have your list of results, reflect on the keywords associated with your desired research method. With those keywords in mind, here are a few places you can look to check that you've truly found what you wanted:


  • Title: Sometimes the research methodology will be stated in the title of the article. For example:
    • "Considerations for the provision of psychosocial services for families following paediatric burn injury: A quantitative study."
    • "Clown intervention to reduce preoperative anxiety in children and parents: A randomized controlled trial."


  • Abstract: If the title does not specify what type of research methodology was used, the next place to look is the abstract. The abstract gives you a short summary of the article and will generally include the research methodology.

Here is how you can access an article's abstract:

1. From the list of results, click on the title of the article.

2. If you are not automatically taken to the detailed record page, click on Detailed Record in the left column.

3. Scroll down until you see the abstract section.

Note: Not all articles have an abstract. If the one you picked does not, you'll need to look at the full text of the article.

Article abstract with search terms in bold.


  • Article: If neither the title nor the abstract makes it clear what type of research methodology was used, you'll need to go to the full text of the article. The sections where you are most likely to find out what type of research methodology was used are the Introduction, Methodology/Method, and Design.

Note: These sections may have slightly different headings, but will generally be near the beginning of the article.


To learn more about evaluating your results, please see our guide:

SAGE Research Methods: Quantitative Methods Map

More information

Quiz answer

Quantitative Quiz Answer:

c. Interviews


Interviews are a type of qualitative research. Meta analyses, data, and trials are all good keywords for finding quantitative research.