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Nursing 3700: Intro to Nursing Research: Finding Specific Types of Research Studies

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Find Specific Types of Studies using CINAHL Subject Terms

CINAHL uses subject terms to categorize articles, and often assigns an article a type of study, such as Qualitative, Descriptive, Correlational, etc.

Under "Search Options”, check the "Research Article" box

In the search boxes:

  • In the first search box, type terms describing your topic.
  • In the second search box, type a CINAHL study type in quotation marks:

 “Qualitative Studies” in MW Word in a Subject Heading

Some study types used as CINAHL subject headings:

     Qualitative Studies, Quantitative Studies, Descriptive Research, Correlational Studies,  Experimental Studies, Clinical Trials

All of the results should be of the appropriate type.  In the article, read the abstract and/or the methodology section to confirm the type of study conducted.

To see a list of CINAHL study types, use the CINAHL HEADINGS  button (at the top of the CINAHL screen), search for “Study Design,” and click the “Study Design” link.

Qualitative Studies (Clinical Query option)

In addition to searching for "Qualitative Studies" as a subject term, CINAHL provides a second method to identify these studies.  To retrieve qualitative studies by the "Clinical Queries" method, in the "Search Options"  section of the (main) Advanced Search screen:

  • Scroll down to the "Clinical Queries" limiter box and choose "Qualitative - Best Balance." 
  • Type in your search term or terms in the search boxes at the top of the page.

This limiter will stay in effect for your subsequent searches unless it's removed. There are two ways to remove limiters in CINAHL.

  • The first is to click "Show More" under the heading "Refine your results" on the left hand side of the results screen. This will bring up the "Search Options" screen, and from there, click the "Reset" button in the upper right corner.
  • The second way is to click the "Advanced Search" link directly underneath the search boxes. 

Systematic Reviews

To find systematic reviews in CINAHL, in the Search Options section of the (main) Advanced Search screen:

  Under the Publication Type pulldown menu, select Systematic Review

Clinical Practice Guidelines

To find clinical practice guidelines in CINAHL, in the Search Options section of the (main) Advanced Search screen: this in the first search box:

  • Type "clinical practice guideline*"  (including the quotation marks and the asterisk) in the first search box.
  • Type your topic in the second search box.

Be sure to use the quotation marks, which searches the words as a phrase, and the asterisk, which brings back both singular and plural.

You'll need to look through your results list to see which ones are actual specific clinical practice guidelines and which ones merely refer to clinical practice guidelines in a general way.  In addition, a class textbook listed the following websites that provide clinical practice guidelines:

Subject Guide

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