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Evidence-Based, Quantitative and Qualitative Research

This guide is a basic introduction to finding Nursing and health literature with a qualitative or quantitative focus.

Quantitative research using CINAHL

There are multiple modes of approach when searching for quantitative research articles in CINAHL

1. Use keywords 

2. Use CINAHL Subject Headings (Also known as MeSH) to create complex searches using the controlled vocabulary, or

3. Use Advanced search limiters to isolate articles tagged in specific collections

(These can also be combined).

Basic keyword search

Basic search

“Quantitative research” OR “quantitative study” 

(make sure you use the quotes and put the OR in all caps for best results)

Additional Keywords

Use these additional statistical keywords to augment the search. You can also use them to help you identify quantative research.

  • "Bayesian statistics"
  • Correlation
  • "Effect size"
  • "Error of measurement"
  • "Factor analysis"
  • "Goodness of fit"
  • "Hypothesis testing"
  • "Item analysis"
  • "Least squares"
  • "Monte Carlo Methods"
  • "Maximum likelihood"
  • "Multivariate analysis"
  • Regression (statistics)
  • Robustness (Statistics)
  • "Statistical analysis" OR "Statistical inference" OR "Statistical significance"
  • "Hypothesis testing"
  • "Markov processes"
  • "Experimental design" OR "design of experiments"
  • "Statistical design"
  • "Research design"
Keywords from Syracuse Univerisity Library's Library Research LibGuide

CINAHL Subject Headings

CINAHL has its own version of MeSH called CINAHL Subject Headings; they are very similar but have been focused on nursing topics, whereas PubMed's MeSH is more general biomedical. We can use these subject headings to select the type of studies we want to draw out. 

1. Click CINAHL Subject headings in the blue banner

2. type "Quantitative studies" in the search box and click the browse button

3. Double-click the Quantitative studies term to expand the tree and see the branch terms.

From this point, you have the option to select the narrower terms and check the boxes to add them to the query builder on the right OR, you can "Explode" the Quantitative Studies term by checking the Explode box (as shown below), which will include all subtopics and narrower topics for that term (i.e. all the branches of that tree)

Once you have selected more than one option, you can select to connect them with AND or with OR. (more about CINAHL Subject Headings here (coming soon)

Clicking the SEARCH DATABASE button will load those terms into the advanced search box using the correct syntax. From here, you can add additional keywords (i.e. Asthma) and then click search.

Alternative Subject Headings you could look for

  • Randomized Controlled Trials
  • Clinical trials
  • Cochrane library
  • Experimental studies, etc.

Advanced search limiters

There isn't a dedicated limiter for "quantitative," but there are some other limiters that can help you focus your search. 

Use publication type to limit by quantitative methods such as:

  • Clinical Trial
  • Equations and Formulas
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Randomized Controlled Trials
  • Statistics
  • Tables/charts

(hold the ctrl key to select multiple types)

You can also use a checkbox option to limit by Randomized Controlled Trials.