Journal publication is the traditional means of disseminating research. Few top-ranked general medical and health services and policy research journals publish qualitative research.
This study examined qualitative research publication rates in top-ranked nursing journals with varying characteristics (general vs. specialty focus, number of issues per year) and compared publication rates with those previously reported for journals in related fields.
A bibliometric approach was used to identify and quantify qualitative articles published in 10 top-ranked nursing journals from 2002 to 2011.
The percentage of qualitative empirical studies varied within and across nursing journals with no apparent association with journal characteristics. Although variable, qualitative research appears more common in high-ranking nursing journals than in general medical and health services and policy research journals.
Examining factors that contribute to inconsistent rates may identify strategies to optimize qualitative research reporting and publication.