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Table 2 Challenges when searching for qualitative research studies

From: Searching for qualitative research for inclusion in systematic reviews: a structured methodological review

Limitations
Variation of use of the term “qualitative” [8, 17]
Variety of qualitative methodologies (e.g. ethnography, phenomenology and grounded theory) [44]
Non-standardised terminology for qualitative research [44]
Use of descriptive non-explicit titles [8, 14, 30, 34, 37, 40, 45]
Variable content and quality of abstracts [8, 14, 37]
Lack of structured abstracts [8, 14]
Absence of abstracts [8, 34, 40]
Absence of research method from abstracts [14, 37]
Absence of clear descriptions of study samples in the published abstracts [47]
Inadequacy of indexing terminology for qualitative methodology [8, 14, 21, 26, 30, 33, 34, 37, 40, 44]
Inappropriate assignment of index terms by indexers [8, 21, 46]
Inter-database differences in indexing terminology [8, 14, 30, 31, 37]
Potential mismatch between focus of paper and focus of the review [34]
Non-existence of registers of qualitative research [8, 26, 34]
Qualitative research located outside medical databases [43, 45]
Absence of pointers to qualitative research from registers of RCTs [8]
Difficulty in identifying qualitative reports associated with RCTs [6]
Difficulty in retrieving reports of mixed-methods studies [6]
Social science employs more diverse publication media than medical literature [18, 37]
Strategies for qualitative research can be over inclusive, time-consuming and expensive [21, 46]