Research Paper Writing Tips: How To Use Qualitative Approach

Qualitative approach is a summation of particular methods that are used to gather information for your research paper. These methods usually include interviews, observations or surveys. Qualitative method is good when you want to find a reason for a particular event or process, but not just answer such questions like what, when, and where. There are many disciplines in which you may apply qualitative approach. Here are some tips on how to use this approach when writing a paper.

  1. Choose the right topic.
  2. To use qualitative approach, you should choose your topic appropriately. Find a question that you cannot answer with “yes” or “no”. You should answer in your work why particular events happen or why people tend to do something.

  3. Review the literature.
  4. You should read many works of other people that are related to your topic. Analyze them and find gaps that you may fill with your own study. Sometimes after reviewing the literature you may want to change your topic a little bit.

  5. Choose the methodology.
  6. There are different methods that can be used in writing a qualitative paper. The most popular are action research, ethnography, phenomenology, grounded theory and case study. Find detailed information about these methods and choose the one that is the best for your type of study.

  7. Collect the data.
  8. When your methodology is chosen, you should collect empirical data for your research. Usually the ways of collecting data are connected to the chosen methodology. For example, case study usually includes interviews. Here are the techniques that you may use when collecting your data: direct observation, participant observation, interview, survey and document analysis.

  9. Analyze the data.
  10. Once your data is collected you should analyze it. This will help you come up with theories and answers for main questions of your study. There are many ways to analyze your data, like coding, descriptive statistics, narrative analysis, hermeneutic analysis and content analysis; however, all these techniques are related to textual analysis.

  11. Write your paper.
  12. Now that you have collected and analyzed your data, you should start writing your paper. Begin with making a proper thesis statement and a good outline. Your thesis statement should be direct and your outline should logically reveal the process and results of your research. Make sure to describe your actions in details, so that your readers could understand everything and even repeat your experiments if necessary.

    These tips will help you apply qualitative approach when writing papers on various topics and for different subjects.