Find Qualitative Articles

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Narration: This short video shows how to locate research articles that use qualitative methodology.

Narration: You can use terms related to the methodology when you do your search. For qualitative articles, that typically means the type of qualitative method used or the means of gathering evidence. For example, a qualitative article may use the term phenomenological to refer to the methodology or focus groups to refer to the way information is gathered for the study.

Narration: You can search for several alternative qualitative keywords at once by putting or between each keyword. Here, I'm searching for qualitative or phenom asterisk or ethnog asterisk or focus group. The asterisks tell the database to find alternative endings on the root word like phenomenology or phenomenological.

Narration: You'll also want to add a topic area keyword to your search, which will help exclude any how-to articles on methodology. For this search, I'm using post-traumatic stress disorder as my topic area. Be aware that not all research topics lend themselves to qualitative research methods. You may have to adjust your topic slightly if most of the research done in your area uses quantitative methods.

Narration: You can also choose to search for the methodology and the abstract since that section of the article normally refers to the methods used.

Narration: To be sure that your article is actually using a methodology you want, you'll need to open the full text and look at the methods section. There you'll find a detailed description of the methods used. It's important to remember that qualitative studies may not use that specific term. Instead, you'll be able to tell that a study is qualitative based on the number of participants, the methods used to gather information, and the nature of that information.

Narration: This qualitative study, for example, has only 15 participants who are asked open ended interview questions. This is a good indication that the study is qualitative.