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How do I find qualitative or quantitative research articles?


You’ll sometimes be asked to find articles reporting on research conducted with specific research methods. Most methods and analyses fall into the category of either qualitative or quantitative (or both!). You increase the likelihood of finding quantitative or qualitative articles by including typical quantitative or qualitative methodology terms as keywords, connecting them in a search box or inside parentheses with the word OR between terms. Connecting the terms with OR tells the database to search for any of the terms.

Like primary or secondary sources, the abstracts of quantitative or qualitative research articles may or may not use either term. You can include the word quantitative or qualitative as search terms, but it’s not going to be a totally effective search.

**Many articles include methods-related terms in the abstract or title. But be sure to look at the methodology section in the full text of any article. This will provide detailed information about the methodology used. For example, you may find a research protocol, which is a plan to do proposed research. They may plan to do a quantitative study, but their protocol is not the study! Another common example is a systematic review, which may synthesize qualitative or quantitative research articles, but is itself not a primary research article.

Check the examples on the right side of the Get Help Finding and Using Information page of the library website.

Also, considering that quantitative research is often clinical research, try the PubMed Clinical Queries search. If you are looking for primary research articles, focus on the left and right columns of results. 




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