Answered By: Erin Guldbrandsen
Last Updated: Jan 05, 2018     Views: 36595

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


     Example keywords for qualitative studies

  • 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, type your general term in the main search box:


2.  Sign in with your myWalden username and password when prompted. 

3.  Type more 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. 

4.  Click on the Search button.

Here is an example of the search set up: 

First search box:

qualitative OR ethnograph* OR phenomen*

Second search box:

post-traumatic stress disorder


Here is an example image of the search setup using "select a field optional"


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.


Search Tips:

  • Connecting the alternative terms with OR tells the database to search for any of these terms.
  • Using the asterisk (*) truncates the search. 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.
  • 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.
  • Placing words in quotation marks tells the database to search for the words as a complete phrase, instead of as individual words. For example: 


First search box:

"grounded theory"


Here is an image of the search set up with "grounded theory" searching the field: TX All Text.



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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