Skip to Main Content Skip to main content


Finding Qualitative Research Articles


  • Explode the Qualitative Studies subject heading, and see what you get. Explode will include the following CINAHL Headings: Action Research, Ethnographic Research, Ethnological Research, Ethnonursing Research, Grounded Theory, Naturalistic Inquiry, Phenomenological Research.
  • Experiment with related CINAHL subject headings such as Focus Groups, Narratives, Interviews (explode Interviews to include Semi-Structured Interview, Structured Interview, Unstructured Interview), Descriptive Research, Descriptive Statistics, Audiorecording, Videorecording, Diaries, Observational Methods (explode to include Non-Participant Observation, Participant Observation, Structured Categories, Unstructured Categories), Projective Techniques (explodes to include Pictorial Methods, Verbal Projective Techniques), Vignettes, etc.
  • Refine/Limit the set to Clinical Queries. Select within the drop-down Clinical Queries menu: Qualitative-High Sensitivity; Qualitative-High Specificity; Qualitative-Best Balance. High Sensitivity is the broadest search, to include ALL relevant material, but may also include less relevant materials. High Specificity is the most targeted search to include only the most relevant result set, but may miss some relevant materials. Best Balance retrieves the best balance between Sensitivity and Specificity.
  • Refine/Limit the set to Publication Types that are qualitative by definition, for example Anecdote, Interview, Metasynthesis, etc.
  • Use Text Words to find articles missed by CINAHL headings (see General Strategies #2)
  • Use a Qualitative Research Filter for CINAHL. 
For an evidence-based filter search for Qualitative Research, click here. Combine these results with your search subject. The search below will automatically be executed for you (the search may be modified once you are in CINAHL):

(MH “action research”) or (MH "Audiorecording") or (MH "cluster sample+") or (MH "constant comparative method") or (MH "content analysis") or (MH "discourse analysis") or (MH "ethnographic research") or (MH "ethnological research") or (MH "ethnography") or (MH "ethnonursing research") or (MH "field studies") or (MH "focus groups") or (MH "grounded theory") or (MH "Historical Records") or (MH "Interviews+") or (MH "Narratives") or (MH “naturalistic inquiry”) or (MH "observational methods+") or (MH "phenomenological research") or (MH "phenomenology") or (MH "purposive sample") or (MH "qualitative studies") or (MH "qualitative validity+") or (MH "questionnaires") or (MH "thematic analysis") or (MH "theoretical sample") or (MH "Videorecording+") or TX colaizzi* or TX constant comparative or TX constant comparison or TX cooperative inquir* or TX co-operative inquir* or TX co operative inquir* or TX Corbin* TX data saturat* or TX discourse* analysis or  TX emic or TX etic or TX ethnon* or TX field research or TX field stud* or TX focus group* or TX Foucault* or TX giorgi* or TX Glaser* or TX grounded analysis or TX grounded research or TX grounded studies or TX grounded study or TX grounded theor* or TX heidegger* or TX hermeneutic* or TX heuristic or TX human science or TX husserlor TX life experiences or TX life stor* or TX lived experience* or TX merleau ponty* or TX narrative analysis or TX qualitative or TX participant observ* or TX phenomenol* or TX purpossampl* or TX questionnaire* or TX semiotics or TX spiegelberg* or TX Strauss* TX van kaam* or TX van manen*

Mixed Methods Research Design

CINAHL has the following Subject Headings that may be of use: Multimethod Studies or Triangulation

You can also search your topic with the following suggested text words:

    mixed model* or mixed design* or multiple method* or multimethod* or triangulat*