When doing a search there are different ways you can narrow down your search results by using limiters.
Learning how to use a database's controlled vocabulary (i.e. MeSH or CINAHL subject terms) will help make your search more efficient and effective.
"A systematic review attempts to identify, appraise and synthesize all the empirical evidence that meets pre-specified eligibility criteria to answer a given research question" (The Cochrane Library)
Meta analysis is "a statistical synthesis of the numerical results of several trials which all address the same question" (Greenhalgh, 2010, p.121).
Both types of reviews provide a very high level of evidence.
Quantitative research methods seek empirical support for research hypotheses. This research is based on traditional scientific methods, which generate numerical data and usually seeks to establish relationships between two or more variables, using statistical methods to test the strength and significance of the relationships.
Examples of Quantitative research methods:
· Clinical trials
· Exploratory studies
· Predictive studies
· Randomized Control Trials
Qualitative research methods are used to gather an in-depth understanding of human behavior and the reasons that govern such behavior. This research investigates the why and how of decision making, not just what, where, when. Hence, smaller but focused samples are more often used than large samples.
Examples of Qualitative research methods:
· Case Study
· Grounded Theory
· Historical method
Primary literature reports the research of an individual or group of researchers. These reports are written for an audience of peers. Prior to publication, each scholarly article is reviewed by a group of peers. Primary research articles will be divided into parts, such as Introduction, Methods, Results, and Conclusions. Keep in mind that some scholarly journals also include Literature Review articles. These literature review articles are secondary sources, because they do not report new findings. However, they may be an excellent starting point for your research.
Secondary literature describes, interprets, analyzes, evaluates, and synthesizes the primary literature. It is one or more steps removed from the work it refers to. It tends to be work which repackages primary research.