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Qualitative Research--A Guide: Some Databases to Search

Suggested Databases

PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU HAVE PREVIOUSLY CREATED AN EBSCO ACCOUNT (FOR INSTANCE WITH ERIC OR PSYCINFO) YOU MUST UPDATE IT IN ORDER TO BE ABLE SAVE YOUR SEARCH RESULTS. EASY DIRECTIONS ARE AVAILABLE HERE

In addition to looking at the major Education & Psychology databases, 

consider your other options. Remember that you can search multiple databases simultaneously within database "families", i.e., EBSCOHost or ProQuest.

We have the 2008 edition of SAGE Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods and Sage Reference Online available in GALILEO.

Some general databases to consider for a variety of topics include Academic Research Complete, ProQuest Dissertations & ThesesWeb of Science is another good one for multiple subjects. (See below for more information on Web of Science.)

Below are some examples of other searches and how to think about them:

For topics relating to student athletes, consider the following: Medline with Full Text, ProQuest Nursing and Allied HealthSource , CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health)SPORTDiscus, Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Collection. Also, please consider the Kinesiology options.

For research on transgender students, the medically-oriented databases listed above will also apply as well as Family & Society Studies Worldwide,  Family Studies Abstracts, LGBTQ+SourceSociological Abstracts and/or Sociological CollectionViolence & Abuse Abstracts, & Women's Studies International.

You'll find quality sources for student veterans in the Education & Psychology databases mentioned above as well as in PTSD Pubs formerly known as PILOTS. This database focuses largely on the mental & physical health issues some veterans may have and is produced by the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs. As you scroll to this database, please notice all the ProQuest databases. Just as you can search multiple databases in EBSCO, you can do the same in the ProQuest databases

Looking for policy discussions? Consider Policy Map, which has links to full-text policy reports from a variety of think-tanks and non-governmental agencies. Keep the agendas of the agencies in mind when looking here! Also consider Political Science Complete Public Administration Abstracts, & Public Affairs IndexSREB is the Southern Regional Education Board database and may also have some policy recommendations.

Resources relating to adult learners can be found in the Research by Subject Guide (from the Libraries' Homepage) listing for Education--Adult

STEM topics can be found in both the general Education K-16 GALILEO listing as well as in specific science (BiologyChemistryPhysics & AstronomyMath & Engineering listings. Scroll through the drop-down menu of Subjects in the Search by Subject tab from the Libraries Homepage for more ideas and options.

Web of Science only indexes scholarly materials, so you won't have to limit your results to get them. It's heavily tilted toward the "hard" sciences, but is getting increasing coverage for the social sciences as well. One of the cool features of this database is that you can sort your results by "number of times cited". This is great way to discover articles that are heavily used in your field. 

  • Search for author by last name [no comma] first initial [no period] asterisk.  Your search will look like this bergmann c* The asterisk finds variations etc of middle names.
  • As with other databases, use the asterisk to expand your search and
  • combine terms you are willing to interchange by keeping them in the same search box, joining them with OR--stutter* OR fluency
  • On the results page, look to the left and under "Document Types" you may find "Review". A review article is a giant lit review. If it doesn't appear at first, use the "more options" button to see if there are any. This is good way to get a good overview of the lit.

Don't Buy Journal Articles. Ever.

If a GALILEO database doesn't have the full text of your article, these are your options:

  • The button will lead you to the fulltext in another database.
  • If UGA only has the article in print, distance students can request a free pdf copy.
  • If UGA doesn't own an article in print or online, request a free copy through Interlibrary Loan.

Google Scholar

Another good place to look for materials is in Google Scholar. Use the Libraries' Homepage find the link to Google Scholar. Entering Google Scholar through our page will link you to our holdings.

Remember: If we don't own what you need, TALK TO INTERLIBRARY LOAN. They will track down what you need ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD and get you what you need for free. NEVER PAY FOR LIBRARY MATERIALS UNTIL YOU'VE TALKED TO INTERLIBRARY LOAN. EVER.

Here is a list of some helpful Google Scholar search tips:

  • Use Quotations to search for a phrase: “no child left behind”
  • Use Parentheses to group words to show the relationship between concepts:(chemical warfare) (Syria OR Iraq)
  • Use a hyphen to exclude a word: apple –computer
  • Use a tilde to search for synonyms of a word:  ~stop
  • Use author: to limit your search to results by a specific author: qualitative study author: hawkins
  • Use filetype: to find results with a specific file type: flu vaccine filetype: pdf
  • Use intext: to require a word to appear anywhere in your results: doping “major league baseball”  intext: congress
  • Use allintext: to require multiple words to appear anywhere in your results: allintext: autism vaccine controversy
  • Use intitle: to require a word to appear in the titles of your results: alaska intitle: superfund
  • Use allintitle: to require multiple words to appear in the title of your results: allintitle: Alaska superfund cleanup

Searching for Articles by Methodology

Most databases don't have a direct way to search for journal articles by methodology.  However, a keyword search that combines a methodological term with your topic term(s) is usually effective. For example:

If this retrieves no results, try a broader methodological term:

You can search several relevant methodologies simultaneously by connecting the terms with "OR".  Use an asterisk as a truncation symbol, so you can find all versions of a root word (i.e. theor* finds theory, theories, theoretical, etc.)  For example:

Finding an Article by Citation

f you have a citation in hand, the library homepage can take you to the full text. Here's how:

From the Libraries' Homepage type the JOURNAL TITLE in the  E-Journals by Title search box. ALWAYS search for the title of the JOURNAL and not the article.

The resulting page will tell you if  we have that title electronically,

Click the link to see what is available electronically & where & for what years

But what if you need other years, which may be in print? Go back to GIL and do the advanced search:

You've already seen the information for the online version. Here's the second entry FROM THE GIL CATALOG (NOT THE E-JOURNALS TAB)--

Click on the "Available" link to see what years we IN PRINT. It's quaint, but sometimes just what you need: