Answered By: Erin Gabrielson
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2017     Views: 12493

You can find qualitative articles by searching in the Library databases using methodology terms as search keywords. Possible keywords include the type of study, data analysis type, or terminology used to describe the results.



Example keywords:

  • Case study
  • Constant comparison
  • Content analysis
  • Discourse analysis



  • Ethnographic

  • Focus group

  • Grounded theory

  • Interview



  • Narrative

  • Phenomenological

  • Qualitative


The following search uses Thoreau, our multi-database search tool, to find examples of qualitative research studies. However, you can use any article or dissertation database for your search.

1.  On the Library homepage, click the blue Articles by Topic button.

Link to Articles by Topic page

2.  Scroll down to the Search multiple databases box and the click the link for: Thoreau Multi-Database Search 

3.  If you have not already logged in to the Library databases, you will be prompted to log in with your myWalden Portal user name and password.

4.  Type the methodology terms in the first search box. Use as many alternative terms as are relevant to your search. Use the remaining search box(es) to narrow your search to a specific topic of interest. For example:

First search box:

qualitative OR ethnograph* OR phenomen*


  • Connecting the alternative terms with OR tells the database to search for any of these terms.
  • Using the asterisk (*) truncates the search. This means that the database will search for the part of the word you typed before the asterisk, along with any possible endings for the word. Using ethnograph* tells the database to search for ethnography, ethnographic, etc.

Second search box:

post-traumatic stress disorder

Note: Some methodologies are rarely used for some research topics. You may need to broaden your search topic to find a study that uses your methodology.

To find more results, change the Select a Field (optional) drop-down menu to TX All Text. This is especially helpful when searching for a very specific type of study design.

First search box:

"grounded theory"

Note: Placing words in quotation marks tells the database to search for the words as a complete phrase, instead of as individual words.

Change the Select a Field (optional) drop-down menu to TX All Text.

5.  Click on the Search button.


Many articles and dissertations will use methodology terms in the abstract or title. To make sure that you have an example of a qualitative study, be sure to look at the methodology section in the full text. This will provide detailed information about the methodology used.


Watch a video showing how to search for a qualitative article in the Library databases:

Video: Find Qualitative Articles

Video player image: Link to video Find Qualitative Articles
(1 min 58 sec) Transcript


More Information:

Do you have other methodology search questions?  Ask a Librarian!

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