At NYU, PsycINFO can be searched via Ovid, or via APA PsycNET. (APA PscyNET also includes records from other APA databases, including PsycArticles, PsycTests, PscyExtra and more).
PsycINFO uses the APA Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms to describe the subjects of articles whose records are included in the database. Some Index Terms in PsycINFO related to qualitative research would be:
For help using Index Terms in PsycNET, see this tutorial from APA Training
In Ovid, the APA Index Terms are found in the Subject field of the records. As such, they can be searched using the "Map Term to Subject Heading" feature of the advanced search, or by adding the field tag .sh. or /. For example, "Grounded Theory".sh. or "Grounded Theory"/
The records in PsycINFO contain information about Study Methodology which makes it possible to limit to studies with qualitative study designs. Try looking for methodology tags like:
Run the search you wish to filter
Clinical Queries are pre-formulated search strings that can be applied to a search to act as a filter.
In PsycINFO via Ovid, there is a pre-built Clinical Query for Qualitative Research.
The queries are listed below, including the exact queries that are associated with each limit (see HIRU PsycINFO Search Strategies)
experience:.mp. OR interview:.tw. OR qualitative:.tw.
qualitative:.tw. OR themes.tw.
experiences.tw. OR interview:.tw. OR qualitative.tw.
*Sensitivity vs. Specificity: A highly 'sensitive' query will attempt to retrieve all relevant documents, resulting in a broader search, with a greater likelihood of generating false hits. A highly 'specific' query tries to retrieve only relevant documents in a smaller, more precise search. "Best balance" is a search that balances specificity and sensitivity. Note that for a comprehensive literature search, it is important to err on the side of higher sensitivity.
Silent 20 second video clip showing the steps for applying a Clinical Query filter in Ovid PsycINFO.
For a full tutorial (with sound and transcript) about applying filters in the Ovid platform, see this guide.
When searching using only subject headings (and the field tags that look only in the subject field of records - e.g., Index Terms), it is possible to miss records that are not well described using the subject terms.
As such, it is a good idea to also try using text words, or keyword searching, to look in the other fields of the records (e.g., the title and abstract). The following search terms can be used across many different databases to try to locate records describing qualitative research:
(qualitative OR ethnograph* OR phenomenol* OR ethnonurs* OR grounded theor* OR purposive sample OR hermeneutic* OR heuristic* OR semiotics OR lived experience* OR narrative* OR life experiences OR cluster sample OR action research OR observational method OR content analysis OR thematic analysis OR constant comparative method OR field stud* OR theoretical sample OR discourse analysis OR focus group* OR ethnological research OR ethnomethodolog* OR interview*)
The APA thesaurus has an Index Term that is tagged to records describing mixed-methods studies: "Mixed Methods Research"
You can also search your topic with the following suggested text words:
mixed model* OR mixed design* OR multiple method* OR multimethod* OR triangulat*