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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 PubMed

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

1. Use keywords

2. Use Advanced search building and MeSH (medical subject headings) to create complex searches using the controlled vocabulary, or

3. Use customized filters to isolate articles with specific features

(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

Advanced search & MeSH (Medical Subject Headings)

The most effective search in PubMed uses the MeSH terms - the controlled vocabulary. 

1. Click Advanced Search

​​2. In the first box, select "MeSH Term," and start typing "Quantitative..." you will see a number of predictive options pop up; there are a number of alternative topics such as Randomized controlled trials, clinical trials and others that you can also search for. 


3. click the ADD button on the right to add the term to the query box using the correct syntax or field code

4. add other terms, i.e. Asthma. These can be MeSH, subjects, or All Fields. When the search is complete, Click the SEARCH button to search the results.

Specialized limiters

There are a few pre-defined filters or limiters for qualitative research.

Show more filter options

You can add more options by customizing which filters are displayed. 

1. Click the Additional Filters button at the bottom of the filters lit

2. Under Article Type, check which filter options you want to display on your results screen. 

3. Click the Show button to add them to your filter options.

NOTE: this does not activate the filters; you still have to select them on the results screen to put them into use. PubMed does remember your last selection if you use the same computer (even if you don't have an account) by using embedded cookies. 

Create customized filters

Finally, you can create customized filters through your NCIB Account

To do so, you must first create a free NCBI account (click Log In in the top right corner) More about creating NCBI Accounts here.

You can use the Filter Manager to create customized filters. More about creating custom filters here.

These are customized filters created in the My NCBI account to isolate qualitative content.