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Advanced Research & Doctoral Dissertation

Identifying Literature by Methodology

In some cases, you may need to narrow your search to specific types of studies (phenomenology, case study, etc.)  Unfortunately, most databases do not support filtering by methodology.  However, I did find a workaround that gave me pretty good results in my own research.  That was to direct a search term for methodology at the abstract.  The abstract is very short, so authors will almost always include the type of study in that concise description.  The abstract is searchable in most databases as well, which makes it a good target for our purposes. 


  1. Start at the advanced search page in your respective academic database
  2. Next to the search box, you should see a drop-down menu that tells the database where to search for your terms (author, title, subject, etc.). 
  3. Select the abstract
  4. Enter the type of study that you are looking for
  5. In the additional search boxes add a traditional keyword search term or terms

The video below demonstrates sample searches in multiple databases.