Creating A Good Qualitative Research Paper Step By Step

A qualitative research paper is used in the social sciences to present work that has been done in analyzing social processes or examining social structure. The final product is a comprehensive explanation of problem, process, and results. It is typically between 5,000 and 8,000 words. The following are general guidelines for the steps to take in creating your qualitative research paper.

  • Create a title for the paper that will establish its scope and the perspective that you will take in outlining a question and answering it.
  • Draft an abstract to briefly present your subject matter, the purpose of your study, the reason you chose it, and the question you would like answered. Concentrating on this abstract can help you to remain focused throughout the entire process.
  • Write an introduction that will include the background on your topic, your reason for choosing it, an idea of what writing currently exists on this topic, and a basic overview of your methodology (selected approach, identification of participants, and location are important to include).
  • Complete a literature review that goes into more detail regarding the existing literature on your topic. This should also provide a context for your question, including relevant areas of existing scholarship, current events that may affect existing literature, and policy issues that may have arisen because of the current way of doing things.
  • Describe your study design and methodology, to create a complete picture of the investigation that was performed. This section should communicate in detail which specific methods were used, who the respondents were, and how the data was analyzed. This is where ethics should be addressed to make sure that the data sample was obtained appropriately, and that consent for the study was granted. Describe who conducted the study and how results were obtained. Where were studies conducted? Are there limitations to the data, either through researcher bias or other issues?
  • Detail the findings of your study in the next section, which should take up almost half of your paper. You should use up to 4 subheadings to present the data. In this section, your goal is to show the facts that can be determined from your study, not to analyze the data yet. This area should tell the story of your data; it is not time to interpret.
  • The discussion section of your paper is where you will draw conclusions based on the data that you have gathered. It is important to demonstrate that your analysis is based on the data and not your bias. This is where you will draw conclusions between your data and the literature review that you completed earlier. You are attempting to interpret the facts in a way that any researcher would be able to give the same data set.
  • In writing your conclusion, you will refer back to your original question and summarize the answer that you reached in the discussion section. You should outline any implications that your findings may have for future research and in practical areas of your field. You should also include any weaknesses in the study, in results or methodology.
  • Your references should include any existing literature that you referenced or used for your paper.
  • The appendix will include all of your exhibits.

Creating a good qualitative research paper takes a lot of work, but if you follow these steps and keep your study question in focus, you should be able to complete an excellent project.