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NUR 39000: Nursing Research: Quantitative Study Searching

Information about library resources for students enrolled in Nursing 39000

Identifying Research Articles

Identify research articles by reviewing the abstract and other bibliographic information. Many citations for research articles include the following headings:

  • Aim
  • Methods
  • Design
  • Participants
  • Sample
  • Data Collection
  • Data Analysis
  • Results

Read the full text of the article to learn more.

Identifying Peer Reviewed Sources

There are several ways that you can determine the peer reviewed status of a journal. Review the selections in the database advanced search page for a peer reviewed check box or menu limiter. You can also look at title lists which include peer reviewed information. Click on the following database to see the title lists for CINAHL Plus with Full TextMEDLINE or Health Source: Nursing.

A basic Google search of "Is Journal Name peer reviewed" will often produce results that link you to a reliable source and answer. The journal’s website will usually mention if it is peer reviewed in the description. 

Tips for Finding Nursing Journals

Tip: You may choose to use a journal-type limiter to narrow your search to nursing journals.

Here are nursing journals limits from CINAHL, MEDLINE (Ebsco), and PubMed:

In CINAHL you can target nursing journals by selecting Nursing from the Journal Subset menu options. This is not usually necessary, since CINAHL stands for Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature.  Nearly all publications in the CINAHL database are nursing journals.

In MEDLINE (Ebsco) you can target nursing journals by selecting Nursing from the Journal & Citation Subset menu options.

In PubMed, you can target nursing journals after you have performed your search.  On the results page, there will be a column on the left with filters including Article types, Text availability, Publication dates. Select Show additional filters, check the box next to Journal categories then the Show button. Click on Nursing journals to see results from nursing journals. 

Starting Your Assignment

This page offers tips on locating research articles from library databases for your NUR 390 assignment to find a primary quantitative research study. Before you start your database search it is important to familiarize yourself with the requirements outlined on the assignment checklist.    

Please note that the help provided on this page is not exhaustive. The tips are intended to help generate potential relevant search results. Librarians will NOT be able to help you distinguish quantitative vs. qualitative research or determine whether or not a chosen article includes appropriate descriptive and inferential statistics.  Ultimately, you must read the full text of an article and use your textbook and other course materials to determine if it meets the assignment's criteria.

Video for Selecting a Quantitative Research Article

This link connects you to a demonstration video on how to locate articles for the assignment to find a primary quantitative research study.

PLEASE NOTE: The example demonstrates searching for research articles using search limiters in the CINAHL database.  However, the date range at the time of the recording will not necessarily match the range for your specific assignment.  

Please be sure to note the correct date range and other criteria from your instructor's checklist.

Tips for Finding Quantitative Research

The following are tips that can help you find quantitative research articles. These tips work best when your initial search produces a large amount of results. I do not recommend these methods if your initial search generates few results or if your required date range is less than one year.

Tip: Although CINAHL does not have a checkbox to limit your search to either quantitative or qualitative research, it is sometimes helpful to add vocabulary that describes quantitative research tools, methodology or assessments. In the advanced search screen page, you can add a search box that will include words that describe quantitative research.

For example, your quantitative research search statement may read:
quantitative OR t-test OR “Chi Square” OR covariance OR anova OR instrument* OR mean OR median OR "standard deviation" OR coefficient*


Tip: CINAHL allows you to filter by publication type.  If your initial search has returned lots of results, you might try using the Publication Type limiter to select only Clinical Trial and/or Randomized Controlled Trial.  These are types of quantitative studies. 

Tips for Finding Nurse as Author

In CINHAL, you can find articles where a nurse is the first author by checking the First Author is Nurse checkbox in the advanced search page.

Although this limiter is useful for searches with a long date range (several years), it is not recommended for searches with a shorter date range, since the detailed index information in each record is not always up to date.  You may miss articles that were authored by a nurse but do not show up in your search results.

You may need to search the databases using other criteria, and then scan the resulting studies to see if the first author's credentials are listed on the page.

Library Liaison for Nursing Students & Faculty

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Marcia Keith
Student Union & Library Building: Rm 203-B
Subjects: Health, Nursing

About the Library

The library offers a wide range of online resources, including databases with various journals from which to choose articles and research studies.

To access your Library resources, please visit the homepage

Please consult your Library Liaison directly for research assistance.

If your Librarian is unavailable, please contact the Library's Reference desk at (219) 989-2676 or click on the CHAT WITH A LIBRARIAN link below to submit a question or see answers to frequently asked questions.

Library Hours

Library staff members are available to assist you during library hours