I would suggest in answer to Trisha's third question that most of the
large bibliographic databases (MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE,
PSYCLIT,CANCERLIT,ERIC, Science Citation index, Socioligcal Astracts) are
good sources of both qualitative and quantitative studies - it's just
that the quantitative studies are sometimes easier to find (depends on
the study design and the database features) and sometimes easier to
build filters for (more standardised descriptive terminology).
I would agree with Sandy Oliver's comment about not searching for terms to
indicate qualitative studies. In non-RCT based reviews that we have
undertaken we often omit search terms relating to the type of study - the
choice of descriptive terms is often so large that the search strategy
becomes huge (and one is still not confident that one has retrieved
everything). Like Sandy, we
usually concentrate on a really good subject search and a wade through the
However, I realise that for people who don't have weeks to spend wading
through abstracts in the production of a systematic review that some
filters that encapsulate the best (highest?) yielding search terms for
qualitative studies would be very helpful.
Whether such a filter would then find the best quality qualitative studies
is another question.
Information Service Manager
NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination
On Fri, 16 Apr 1999, Trisha Greenhalgh wrote:
> Dear list members
> 1. PubMed (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/) has some fantastic built-in search filters for identifying most high-quality trials in therapy, prevention, harm, etiology etc, put together by Bryan Haynes. These have saved me hours of time in searching for quantitative studies.
> I am looking for similar filters to identify qualitative and/or ethnographic studies. Does anyone know if this probelm is being worked on systematically by any group?
> 2. Might Bryan and his colleagues at NLM consider adding a qualitative research filter to the PubMed site if it can be shown to be useful?
> 3. Is there an up-to-date summary of the recommended databases in addition to Medline which one would need to search in order to capture all or most qualitative health and health services research on a particular topic?
> 4. Has anyone got a good summary article on how to do qualitative overviews? There is a SAGE book published 10 years ago but I suspect someone has an updated and shorter set of recommendations by now.
> (I've tried to access the Cochrane Qualitative Methods Group by email but heve not received a reply and I may be mailing an old address, though it's still on the web!)
> Thanks in anticipation.
> Dr Trish Greenhalgh
> Senior lecturer in primary health care
> Unit for Evidence-Based Practice and Policy
> Royal Free & University College Medical School
> Department of Primary Care & Population Sciences
> Archway Resource Centre
> 2nd Floor, Holborn Union Building
> Highgate Hill, London N19 5NF
> Personal Assistant and Unit Administrator (Marcia Rigby): + 44 (0) 171 288 3246
> Fax: + 44 (0) 171 281 8004
> email [log in to unmask]
> Unit for Evidence Based Practice:
> MSc in primary care: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/primcare-popsci/msc/index.html