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How to Find Health Research Articles on a Particular Topic

journal issues


Search a database that indexes scholarly journals

Databases often have search features to focus quickly on scholarly research articles instead of popular magazines and news articles. (Google, Google Scholar and other Internet searches will NOT focus on research studies and will yield too many other hits to consider)

Health, Nursing, and Medicine databases:

Health Adminstration databases:

Drill down quickly to research studies: Use limits features in the database, such as Limit to peer-reviewed, refereed, or scholarly articles. BUT, every peer-reviewed article is not a report of research. Search terms can be included in a search to sift out research studies.

More databases can be acessed with a FGCU ID # from:



Example search: Use these terms on the Advanced search page
Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 (MW) AND Glucose Monitoring (MW) AND (Experimental (kw) OR quantitative (kw))
and check Limit to: Peer-reviewed
(Note: not every document coded by "research article" is a primary source; some may be discussions of research in general)

Or, to locate qualitative or naturalistic studies
Search these terms:
Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2  (MW) AND Glucose Monitoring (MW) AND (qualitative  OR naturalistic OR phenomenological)
and check Limit to: Peer-reviewed and  Research article

Health & Wellness Resource Center

Example search: Use the Advanced search page ANDing the keyword "study":

Example: Gastric bypass AND study(kw) and check the box next to "Refereed publications."

PubMed - an important scholarly database of medical literature.

Example search: Search in the top search box for your terms ANDed together and then click the Limit tab to select limits to Human, etc.

Also under the Limit tab go to "Type of Article" and choose various research types such as clinical trial, randomized control trial, controlled clinical trial, mulitcenter study, etc.

Example: gastric bypass AND weight loss with the limits above. (for experimental studies)

PubMed image
PubMed image

Or, to locate qualitative or naturalistic studies:
Example: gastric bypass AND (weight loss OR outcome*) AND qualitative

ABI/Inform for health administration topics

Example search: Search on the Advanced Search and include "study" in the citation or abstract. Also, click on More Options and include the classfication code 8320 (the health care industry) in your search.

NOTE: These strategies may not be 100% reliable. For example, if the abstract contains a general statement such as "experimental studies have shown that...."  the article retrieved may not actually be an experimental study. Searchers also need to scan the abstracts for key components indicating research, such as: Methods or Methodology, Results, and Conclusions or Discussion. Also key phrases in the abstract such as "this study" or "the sample included" are indicators of a research study.