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Finding qualitative research: Getting started

Welcome to the Qualitative Research LibGuide

In this guide you will be able to learn how to:

  • identify key terms to search for qualitative research
  • use search filters for qualitative research 
  • focus a qualitative question
  • learn more about qualitative systematic reviews

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What is a qualitative research?

IFPRI images by Udita Chatterjee/Landesa

Qualitative research seeks to understand and interpret personal experiences, behaviours, interactions, and social contexts to explain the phenomena of interest, such as the attitudes, beliefs, and perspectives of patients and clinicians; the interpersonal nature of caregiver and patient relationships; the illness experience; or the impact of human suffering (Wong et al, 2004).

Qualitative evidence extracts information useful in clinical decision making when it comes to issues related to whether an activity is feasible, appropriate or meaningful. Meaningfulness relates to the personal experience, opinions, values, thoughts, beliefs and interpretations of clients.

Wong SSL, Wilczynski NL, Haynes RB. Developing optimal search strategies for detecting clinically relevant qualitative studies in Medline. Medinfo 2004;311-314.

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Qualitative research methods

5d2_100_8828-web by Mike Alexander

Source: Hoffmann, T. A. et al (2013). Evidence-based practice across the health professions  (2nd ed): Chatswood, NSW : Elsevier Australia.