Databases designed for a specific kind of user will often include unique search options to meet that user group's needs. Often, these options can be found by clicking on the Advanced Search link within the database. Databases that cater to the needs of researchers expect users to look for study types, though anticipation of user needs varies from database to database.
In ERIC EBSCOHost, an education database, the advanced search options allow the user to search for full text, peer reviewed, date published, and whether the searcher wants a document or a journal. In the publication type search box, the choices become very broad indeed. Choices that will help you find research and research studies include:
This option focuses on what is included in the document, not the document format or purpose. Choose this option when you are interested in the inclusion of the data, or a detailed discussion of the data, in the document.
Notice that there are 4 categories of "Reports," and that a descriptive, evaluative, or even general report can also include data or the results of a study. This option will help you locate the write-up of a study, which may or may not include the data collected. This is a good choice when the format and/or purpose of the study relates to your intended use of the document.
This option will pull up documents that included tests, questionnaires, or surveys as one of the research instruments used. Often, the instrument will be included in the document. Use this option when you want to review research projects that used these kinds of assessment measures, or when you would like to see examples of tests, questionnaires, or surveys.
Because ERIC's intended audience is generally education practitioners, the choices in "Publication Type" do not reflect other assessment options that are more of interest to the researcher. To find more granularity for research instrument searches, you could try a keyword search for the type of quantitative research project you are interested in, or it might be necessary to find a database geared toward researchers, like PsychINFO.
In the PsychINFO Advanced Search, also an EBSCO database interface, more options relevant to research are available, such as age groups, classification codes, and population group. PsychINFO also has options for Methodology, with headings and subheadings, that can help me search for exactly the kind of study I am interested in: empirical study, field study, interview, literature review, or mathematical model.
Under mathematical model, I can choose "quantitative study," and then with my search term "educational leadership," I can explore the database's holdings, which at its most general gives me 1,370 documents:
However, I have to bear in mind the kinds of articles I will find in the PsychINFO database. There are quite a few educational journals included in this database, but many of them will focus on research instead of practice.
Different databases have different advantages, and using the advanced search features to determine what kinds of limiters are available will help you determine, very quickly, which databases will be of most use for your particular research project.