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OTA 235: How to Find Qualitative and Quantitative studies: Home

What is the difference?

Qualitative research is defined as "research that derives data from observation, interviews, or verbal interactions and focuses on the meanings and interpretations of the participants." (Holloway and Wheeler, 1995)

Qualitative research can be challenging to find as these methodologies are not always well-indexed in bibliographic databases. This help guide will provide some tips and information to guide you in your search for qualitative research articles through databases, such as PubMed and CINAHL.

Quantitative research is the process of collecting and analyzing numerical data. It can be used to find patterns and averages, make predictions, test causal relationships, and generalize results to wider populations.

Qualitative vs. Quantitative

It's Not Always One or the Other!

It's important to keep in mind that research studies and articles are not always 100% qualitative or 100% quantitative. A mixed methods study involves both qualitative and quantitative approaches. If you need to find articles that are purely qualitative or purely quantitative, be sure to look carefully at the methodology sections to make sure the studies did not utilize both methods. 

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