Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
SSU ship logo and 'Salem State University' text

Finding Quantitative or Qualitative Nursing Research Articles: Search Strategies


Database Tools:

Databases are here to help, and their tools are designed to do a lot of the work: narrowing down your results list to the most relevant articles.  Save yourself time by using limiting options like these:

You can go to Show More underneath the Publication Date slider in order to see all the options. Choices like Language or Journal Subset can limit the results to nursing journals, which can save you some time as you start to go through your search results.


Connecting concepts...

  • Join similar ideas or alternate term with "OR."
  • Link different parts of your topic with "AND."
  • Exclude concepts with "NOT."

Keywords are...

  • A good way to start a search.
  • The important concepts in your own words.
  • Found anywhere in the article (title, author, subject terms, etc.).
  • Very flexible.

Subject terms...

  • Every article or book is tagged with them.
  • They are specific, technical terms that describe what the article is about.
  • A good way to find everything on a topic.


  • Use a * at the end of a base word to find all variant endings
  • E.g. nurs* would include nurse, nurses, nursing, etc.

 Quotation Marks...

  • Use quotation marks around a phrase when you want to make sure the words to be next to each other in each of your results.
  • E.g. "health sciences"




Keywords are words or phrases that you use to describe your research topic - both the content (e.g. diabetes) and the research methodology (e.g. quantitative). You can use as many or as few keywords as you like, and you don't have to include a method, although it may help narrow down your search results. 



Subject Terms:

While keywords are search terms that you develop, subject terms are search terms that have already been developed - each article is already tagged with subjects terms that describe it. You can copy these terms into your search to use them as keywords, or you can go to CINAHL Headings and do a structured subject term search.

Please note: while searching by subject is awesome, most of the time keywords will get you what you need. If you're stuck, or just curious, consider contacting your librarian! 



Did you know?

Screenshot of Cited By link in Google Scholar

When you find a relevant article, you can use resources like Google Scholar to see other articles that have cited the original one.