Keep track of your searches!
The best first step is to break the topic you're searching into individual concepts (keywords). For example, if you're interested in research on the impact of urban farming on poverty, you may break it into two concepts:
You know that you're interested in articles that include information on both of these concepts. You're not really interested in articles that talk about poverty outside the context of urban farming, and vice versa. So, when you search a database, you want to be sure that you're including all of the concepts:
urban farming AND poverty
The Boolean operator "AND" commands the database to return only records that include all of your terms.
For each of these concepts, there is more than one word that would bring up relevant articles. For example, articles on urban farming might be found by searching urban farms or urban agriculture -- likewise with poverty. There may be related terms that will return some good results.
You might want to search all of these words to bring back as many relevant articles as you can. You could broaden your search like this:
"urban farming" OR "urban farms" OR "urban agriculture" ...
poverty OR "food insecurity" OR "low income" OR poor...
To put these together, we can add parentheses () around each concept.
("urban farming" OR "urban farms" OR "urban agriculture") AND (poverty OR "food insecurity" OR "low income" OR poor)
You can use these techniques when searching most databases, including Google. Or you can use the fields provided by databases to structure your search.
The easiest way to find qualitative research on your topic is to take your existing search and expand upon it.
For example, if you wanted to find qualitative research about student motivation in Title I schools, a broad search you could try is:
"student motivation" AND "Title I" AND qualitative
You can always expand upon qualitative by using those OR Boolean Operators.
"student motivation" AND "Title I" AND (qualitative OR interview OR "field study" OR narrative)
Another way you can search for qualitative research is taking advantage of the Advanced Search and database subjects using DE "Quantitative research" in a SU Subject Terms box.