Dissertations and research projects
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Developing a theoretical framework
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What is a theoretical framework?
Developing a theoretical framework for your dissertation is one of the key elements of a qualitative research project. Through writing your literature review, you are likely to have identified either a problem that need ‘fixing’ or a gap that your research may begin to fill.
The theoretical framework is your toolbox . In the toolbox are your handy tools: a set of theories, concepts, ideas and hypotheses that you will use to build a solution to the research problem or gap you have identified.
The methodology is the instruction manual: the procedure and steps you have taken, using your chosen tools, to tackle the research problem.
Why do I need a theoretical framework?
Developing a theoretical framework shows that you have thought critically about the different ways to approach your topic, and that you have made a well-reasoned and evidenced decision about which approach will work best. theoretical frameworks are also necessary for solving complex problems or issues from the literature, showing that you have the skills to think creatively and improvise to answer your research questions. they also allow researchers to establish new theories and approaches, that future research may go on to develop., how do i create a theoretical framework for my dissertation.
First, select your tools. You are likely to need a variety of tools in qualitative research – different theories, models or concepts – to help you tackle different parts of your research question.
When deciding what tools would be best for the job of answering your research questions or problem, explore what existing research in your area has used. You may find that there is a ‘standard toolbox’ for qualitative research in your field that you can borrow from or apply to your own research.
You will need to justify why your chosen tools are best for the job of answering your research questions, at what stage they are most relevant, and how they relate to each other. Some theories or models will neatly fit together and appear in the toolboxes of other researchers. However, you may wish to incorporate a model or idea that is not typical for your research area – the ‘odd one out’ in your toolbox. If this is the case, make sure you justify and account for why it is useful to you, and look for ways that it can be used in partnership with the other tools you are using.
You should also be honest about limitations, or where you need to improvise (for example, if the ‘right’ tool or approach doesn’t exist in your area).
This video from the Skills Centre includes an overview and example of how you might create a theoretical framework for your dissertation:
How do I choose the 'right' approach?
When designing your framework and choosing what to include, it can often be difficult to know if you’ve chosen the ‘right’ approach for your research questions. One way to check this is to look for consistency between your objectives, the literature in your framework, and your overall ethos for the research. This means ensuring that the literature you have used not only contributes to answering your research objectives, but that you also use theories and models that are true to your beliefs as a researcher.
Reflecting on your values and your overall ambition for the project can be a helpful step in making these decisions, as it can help you to fully connect your methodology and methods to your research aims.
Should I reflect on my position as a researcher?
If you feel your position as a researcher has influenced your choice of methods or procedure in any way, the methodology is a good place to reflect on this. Positionality acknowledges that no researcher is entirely objective: we are all, to some extent, influenced by prior learning, experiences, knowledge, and personal biases. This is particularly true in qualitative research or practice-based research, where the student is acting as a researcher in their own workplace, where they are otherwise considered a practitioner/professional. It's also important to reflect on your positionality if you belong to the same community as your participants where this is the grounds for their involvement in the research (ie. you are a mature student interviewing other mature learners about their experences in higher education).
The following questions can help you to reflect on your positionality and gauge whether this is an important section to include in your dissertation (for some people, this section isn’t necessary or relevant):
- How might my personal history influence how I approach the topic?
- How am I positioned in relation to this knowledge? Am I being influenced by prior learning or knowledge from outside of this course?
- How does my gender/social class/ ethnicity/ culture influence my positioning in relation to this topic?
- Do I share any attributes with my participants? Are we part of a s hared community? How might this have influenced our relationship and my role in interviews/observations?
- Am I invested in the outcomes on a personal level? Who is this research for and who will feel the benefits?
One option for qualitative projects is to write an extended literature review. This type of project does not require you to collect any new data. Instead, you should focus on synthesising a broad range of literature to offer a new perspective on a research problem or question.
The main difference between an extended literature review and a dissertation where primary data is collected, is in the presentation of the methodology, results and discussion sections. This is because extended literature reviews do not actively involve participants or primary data collection, so there is no need to outline a procedure for data collection (the methodology) or to present and interpret ‘data’ (in the form of interview transcripts, numerical data, observations etc.) You will have much more freedom to decide which sections of the dissertation should be combined, and whether new chapters or sections should be added.
Here is an overview of a common structure for an extended literature review:
- Provide background information and context to set the ‘backdrop’ for your project.
- Explain the value and relevance of your research in this context. Outline what do you hope to contribute with your dissertation.
- Clarify a specific area of focus.
- Introduce your research aims (or problem) and objectives.
You will need to write a short, overview literature review to introduce the main theories, concepts and key research areas that you will explore in your dissertation. This set of texts – which may be theoretical, research-based, practice-based or policies – form your theoretical framework. In other words, by bringing these texts together in the literature review, you are creating a lens that you can then apply to more focused examples or scenarios in your discussion chapters.
As you will not be collecting primary data, your methodology will be quite different from a typical dissertation. You will need to set out the process and procedure you used to find and narrow down your literature. This is also known as a search strategy.
Including your search strategy
A search strategy explains how you have narrowed down your literature to identify key studies and areas of focus. This often takes the form of a search strategy table, included as an appendix at the end of the dissertation. If included, this section takes the place of the traditional 'methodology' section.
If you choose to include a search strategy table, you should also give an overview of your reading process in the main body of the dissertation. Think of this as a chronology of the practical steps you took and your justification for doing so at each stage, such as:
- Your key terms, alternatives and synonyms, and any terms that you chose to exclude.
- Your choice and combination of databases;
- Your inclusion/exclusion criteria, when they were applied and why. This includes filters such as language of publication, date, and country of origin;
- You should also explain which terms you combined to form search phrases and your use of Boolean searching (AND, OR, NOT);
- Your use of citation searching (selecting articles from the bibliography of a chosen journal article to further your search).
- Your use of any search models, such as PICO and SPIDER to help shape your approach.
- Search strategy template A simple template for recording your literature searching. This can be included as an appendix to show your search strategy.
The discussion section of an extended literature review is the most flexible in terms of structure. Think of this section as a series of short case studies or ‘windows’ on your research. In this section you will apply the theoretical framework you formed in the literature review – a combination of theories, models and ideas that explain your approach to the topic – to a series of different examples and scenarios. These are usually presented as separate discussion ‘chapters’ in the dissertation, in an order that you feel best fits your argument.
Think about an order for these discussion sections or chapters that helps to tell the story of your research. One common approach is to structure these sections by common themes or concepts that help to draw your sources together. You might also opt for a chronological structure if your dissertation aims to show change or development over time. Another option is to deliberately show where there is a lack of chronology or narrative across your case studies, by ordering them in a fragmentary order! You will be able to reflect upon the structure of these chapters elsewhere in the dissertation, explaining and defending your decision in the methodology and conclusion.
A summary of your key findings – what you have concluded from your research, and how far you have been able to successfully answer your research questions.
- Recommendations – for improvements to your own study, for future research in the area, and for your field more widely.
- Emphasise your contributions to knowledge and what you have achieved.
Depending on your research aims, and whether you are working with a case-study type approach (where each section of the dissertation considers a different example or concept through the lens established in your literature review), you might opt for one of the following structures:
Splitting the literature review across different chapters:
This structure allows you to pull apart the traditional literature review, introducing it little by little with each of your themed chapters. This approach works well for dissertations that attempt to show change or difference over time, as the relevant literature for that section or period can be introduced gradually to the reader.
Whichever structure you opt for, remember to explain and justify your approach. A marker will be interested in why you decided on your chosen structure, what it allows you to achieve/brings to the project and what alternatives you considered and rejected in the planning process. Here are some example sentence starters:
In qualitative studies, your results are often presented alongside the discussion, as it is difficult to include this data in a meaningful way without explanation and interpretation. In the dsicussion section, aim to structure your work thematically, moving through the key concepts or ideas that have emerged from your qualitative data. Use extracts from your data collection - interviews, focus groups, observations - to illustrate where these themes are most prominent, and refer back to the sources from your literature review to help draw conclusions.
Here's an example of how your data could be presented in paragraph format in this section:
Example from 'Reporting and discussing your findings ', Monash University .
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How To Write The Results/Findings Chapter
For qualitative studies (dissertations & theses).
By: Jenna Crossley (PhD Cand). Expert Reviewed By: Dr. Eunice Rautenbach | August 2021
So, you’ve collected and analysed your qualitative data, and it’s time to write up your results chapter – exciting! But where do you start? In this post, we’ll guide you through the qualitative results chapter (also called the findings chapter), step by step.
Overview: Qualitative Results Chapter
- What (exactly) the qualitative results chapter is
- What to include in your results chapter
- How to write up your results chapter
- A few tips and tricks to help you along the way
What exactly is the results chapter?
The results chapter in a dissertation or thesis (or any formal academic research piece) is where you objectively and neutrally present the findings of your qualitative analysis (or analyses if you used multiple qualitative analysis methods ). This chapter can sometimes be combined with the discussion chapter (where you interpret the data and discuss its meaning), depending on your university’s preference. We’ll treat the two chapters as separate, as that’s the most common approach.
In contrast to a quantitative results chapter that presents numbers and statistics, a qualitative results chapter presents data primarily in the form of words . But this doesn’t mean that a qualitative study can’t have quantitative elements – you could, for example, present the number of times a theme or topic pops up in your data, depending on the analysis method(s) you adopt.
Adding a quantitative element to your study can add some rigour, which strengthens your results by providing more evidence for your claims. This is particularly common when using qualitative content analysis. Keep in mind though that qualitative research aims to achieve depth, richness and identify nuances , so don’t get tunnel vision by focusing on the numbers. They’re just cream on top in a qualitative analysis.
So, to recap, the results chapter is where you objectively present the findings of your analysis, without interpreting them (you’ll save that for the discussion chapter). With that out the way, let’s take a look at what you should include in your results chapter.
What should you include in the results chapter?
As we’ve mentioned, your qualitative results chapter should purely present and describe your results , not interpret them in relation to the existing literature or your research questions . Any speculations or discussion about the implications of your findings should be reserved for your discussion chapter.
In your results chapter, you’ll want to talk about your analysis findings and whether or not they support your hypotheses (if you have any). Naturally, the exact contents of your results chapter will depend on which qualitative analysis method (or methods) you use. For example, if you were to use thematic analysis, you’d detail the themes identified in your analysis, using extracts from the transcripts or text to support your claims.
While you do need to present your analysis findings in some detail, you should avoid dumping large amounts of raw data in this chapter. Instead, focus on presenting the key findings and using a handful of select quotes or text extracts to support each finding . The reams of data and analysis can be relegated to your appendices.
While it’s tempting to include every last detail you found in your qualitative analysis, it is important to make sure that you report only that which is relevant to your research aims, objectives and research questions . Always keep these three components, as well as your hypotheses (if you have any) front of mind when writing the chapter and use them as a filter to decide what’s relevant and what’s not.
Need a helping hand?
How do I write the results chapter?
Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to look at how to structure your chapter. Broadly speaking, the results chapter needs to contain three core components – the introduction, the body and the concluding summary. Let’s take a look at each of these.
Section 1: Introduction
The first step is to craft a brief introduction to the chapter. This intro is vital as it provides some context for your findings. In your introduction, you should begin by reiterating your problem statement and research questions and highlight the purpose of your research . Make sure that you spell this out for the reader so that the rest of your chapter is well contextualised.
The next step is to briefly outline the structure of your results chapter. In other words, explain what’s included in the chapter and what the reader can expect. In the results chapter, you want to tell a story that is coherent, flows logically, and is easy to follow , so make sure that you plan your structure out well and convey that structure (at a high level), so that your reader is well oriented.
The introduction section shouldn’t be lengthy. Two or three short paragraphs should be more than adequate. It is merely an introduction and overview, not a summary of the chapter.
Pro Tip – To help you structure your chapter, it can be useful to set up an initial draft with (sub)section headings so that you’re able to easily (re)arrange parts of your chapter. This will also help your reader to follow your results and give your chapter some coherence. Be sure to use level-based heading styles (e.g. Heading 1, 2, 3 styles) to help the reader differentiate between levels visually. You can find these options in Word (example below).
Section 2: Body
Before we get started on what to include in the body of your chapter, it’s vital to remember that a results section should be completely objective and descriptive, not interpretive . So, be careful not to use words such as, “suggests” or “implies”, as these usually accompany some form of interpretation – that’s reserved for your discussion chapter.
The structure of your body section is very important , so make sure that you plan it out well. When planning out your qualitative results chapter, create sections and subsections so that you can maintain the flow of the story you’re trying to tell. Be sure to systematically and consistently describe each portion of results. Try to adopt a standardised structure for each portion so that you achieve a high level of consistency throughout the chapter.
For qualitative studies, results chapters tend to be structured according to themes , which makes it easier for readers to follow. However, keep in mind that not all results chapters have to be structured in this manner. For example, if you’re conducting a longitudinal study, you may want to structure your chapter chronologically. Similarly, you might structure this chapter based on your theoretical framework . The exact structure of your chapter will depend on the nature of your study , especially your research questions.
As you work through the body of your chapter, make sure that you use quotes to substantiate every one of your claims . You can present these quotes in italics to differentiate them from your own words. A general rule of thumb is to use at least two pieces of evidence per claim, and these should be linked directly to your data. Also, remember that you need to include all relevant results , not just the ones that support your assumptions or initial leanings.
In addition to including quotes, you can also link your claims to the data by using appendices , which you should reference throughout your text. When you reference, make sure that you include both the name/number of the appendix , as well as the line(s) from which you drew your data.
As referencing styles can vary greatly, be sure to look up the appendix referencing conventions of your university’s prescribed style (e.g. APA , Harvard, etc) and keep this consistent throughout your chapter.
Section 3: Concluding summary
The concluding summary is very important because it summarises your key findings and lays the foundation for the discussion chapter . Keep in mind that some readers may skip directly to this section (from the introduction section), so make sure that it can be read and understood well in isolation.
In this section, you need to remind the reader of the key findings. That is, the results that directly relate to your research questions and that you will build upon in your discussion chapter. Remember, your reader has digested a lot of information in this chapter, so you need to use this section to remind them of the most important takeaways.
Importantly, the concluding summary should not present any new information and should only describe what you’ve already presented in your chapter. Keep it concise – you’re not summarising the whole chapter, just the essentials.
Tips and tricks for an A-grade results chapter
Now that you’ve got a clear picture of what the qualitative results chapter is all about, here are some quick tips and reminders to help you craft a high-quality chapter:
- Your results chapter should be written in the past tense . You’ve done the work already, so you want to tell the reader what you found , not what you are currently finding .
- Make sure that you review your work multiple times and check that every claim is adequately backed up by evidence . Aim for at least two examples per claim, and make use of an appendix to reference these.
- When writing up your results, make sure that you stick to only what is relevant . Don’t waste time on data that are not relevant to your research objectives and research questions.
- Use headings and subheadings to create an intuitive, easy to follow piece of writing. Make use of Microsoft Word’s “heading styles” and be sure to use them consistently.
- When referring to numerical data, tables and figures can provide a useful visual aid. When using these, make sure that they can be read and understood independent of your body text (i.e. that they can stand-alone). To this end, use clear, concise labels for each of your tables or figures and make use of colours to code indicate differences or hierarchy.
- Similarly, when you’re writing up your chapter, it can be useful to highlight topics and themes in different colours . This can help you to differentiate between your data if you get a bit overwhelmed and will also help you to ensure that your results flow logically and coherently.
If you have any questions, leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to help. If you’d like 1-on-1 help with your results chapter (or any chapter of your dissertation or thesis), check out our private dissertation coaching service here or book a free initial consultation to discuss how we can help you.
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This post is part of our dissertation mini-course, which covers everything you need to get started with your dissertation, thesis or research project.
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This was extremely helpful. Thanks a lot guys
Hi, thanks for the great research support platform created by the gradcoach team!
I wanted to ask- While “suggests” or “implies” are interpretive terms, what terms could we use for the results chapter? Could you share some examples of descriptive terms?
I found this article very useful. Thank you very much for the outstanding work you are doing.
What if i have 3 different interviewees answering the same interview questions? Should i then present the results in form of the table with the division on the 3 perspectives or rather give a results in form of the text and highlight who said what?
I think this tabular representation of results is a great idea. I am doing it too along with the text. Thanks
That was helpful was struggling to separate the discussion from the findings
this was very useful, Thank you.
Very helpful, I am confident to write my results chapter now.
It is so helpful! It is a good job. Thank you very much!
Very useful, well explained. Many thanks.
Hello, I appreciate the way you provided a supportive comments about qualitative results presenting tips
I loved this! It explains everything needed, and it has helped me better organize my thoughts. What words should I not use while writing my results section, other than subjective ones.
Thanks a lot, it is really helpful
Thank you so much dear, i really appropriate your nice explanations about this.
Thank you so much for this! I was wondering if anyone could help with how to prproperly integrate quotations (Excerpts) from interviews in the finding chapter in a qualitative research. Please GradCoach, address this issue and provide examples.
what if I’m not doing any interviews myself and all the information is coming from case studies that have already done the research.
Very helpful thank you.
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Tips for a qualitative dissertation
17 October 2017
Tips for students
This blog is part of a series for Evidence-Based Health Care MSc students undertaking their dissertations.
Undertaking an MSc dissertation in Evidence-Based Health Care (EBHC) may be your first hands-on experience of doing qualitative research. I chatted to Dr. Veronika Williams, an experienced qualitative researcher, and tutor on the EBHC programme, to find out her top tips for producing a high-quality qualitative EBHC thesis.
1) Make the switch from a quantitative to a qualitative mindset
It’s not just about replacing numbers with words. Doing qualitative research requires you to adopt a different way of seeing and interpreting the world around you. Veronika asks her students to reflect on positivist and interpretivist approaches: If you come from a scientific or medical background, positivism is often the unacknowledged status quo. Be open to considering there are alternative ways to generate and understand knowledge.
2) Reflect on your role
Quantitative research strives to produce “clean” data unbiased by the context in which it was generated. With qualitative methods, this is neither possible nor desirable. Students should reflect on how their background and personal views shape the way they collect and analyse their data. This will not only add to the transparency of your work but will also help you interpret your findings.
3) Don’t forget the theory
Qualitative researchers use theories as a lens through which they understand the world around them. Veronika suggests that students consider the theoretical underpinning to their own research at the earliest stages. You can read an article about why theories are useful in qualitative research here.
4) Think about depth rather than breadth
Qualitative research is all about developing a deep and insightful understanding of the phenomenon/ concept you are studying. Be realistic about what you can achieve given the time constraints of an MSc. Veronika suggests that collecting and analysing a smaller dataset well is preferable to producing a superficial, rushed analysis of a larger dataset.
5) Blur the boundaries between data collection, analysis and writing up
Veronika strongly recommends keeping a research diary or using memos to jot down your ideas as your research progresses. Not only do these add to your audit trail, these entries will help contribute to your first draft and the process of moving towards theoretical thinking. Qualitative researchers move back and forward between their dataset and manuscript as their ideas develop. This enriches their understanding and allows emerging theories to be explored.
6) Move beyond the descriptive
When analysing interviews, for example, it can be tempting to think that having coded your transcripts you are nearly there. This is not the case! You need to move beyond the descriptive codes to conceptual themes and theoretical thinking in order to produce a high-quality thesis. Veronika warns against falling into the pitfall of thinking writing up is, “Two interviews said this whilst three interviewees said that”.
7) It’s not just about the average experience
When analysing your data, consider the outliers or negative cases, for example, those that found the intervention unacceptable. Although in the minority, these respondents will often provide more meaningful insight into the phenomenon or concept you are trying to study.
8) Bounce ideas
Veronika recommends sharing your emerging ideas and findings with someone else, maybe with a different background or perspective. This isn’t about getting to the “right answer” rather it offers you the chance to refine your thinking. Be sure, though, to fully acknowledge their contribution in your thesis.
9) Be selective
In can be a challenge to meet the dissertation word limit. It won’t be possible to present all the themes generated by your dataset so focus! Use quotes from across your dataset that best encapsulate the themes you are presenting. Display additional data in the appendix. For example, Veronika suggests illustrating how you moved from your coding framework to your themes.
10) Don’t panic!
There will be a stage during analysis and write up when it seems undoable. Unlike quantitative researchers who begin analysis with a clear plan, qualitative research is more of a journey. Everything will fall into place by the end. Be sure, though, to allow yourself enough time to make sense of the rich data qualitative research generates.
Qualitative research methods.
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Prize-Winning Thesis and Dissertation Examples
Published on September 9, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on July 18, 2023.
It can be difficult to know where to start when writing your thesis or dissertation . One way to come up with some ideas or maybe even combat writer’s block is to check out previous work done by other students on a similar thesis or dissertation topic to yours.
This article collects a list of undergraduate, master’s, and PhD theses and dissertations that have won prizes for their high-quality research.
Table of contents
Award-winning undergraduate theses, award-winning master’s theses, award-winning ph.d. dissertations, other interesting articles.
University : University of Pennsylvania Faculty : History Author : Suchait Kahlon Award : 2021 Hilary Conroy Prize for Best Honors Thesis in World History Title : “Abolition, Africans, and Abstraction: the Influence of the “Noble Savage” on British and French Antislavery Thought, 1787-1807”
University : Columbia University Faculty : History Author : Julien Saint Reiman Award : 2018 Charles A. Beard Senior Thesis Prize Title : “A Starving Man Helping Another Starving Man”: UNRRA, India, and the Genesis of Global Relief, 1943-1947
University: University College London Faculty: Geography Author: Anna Knowles-Smith Award: 2017 Royal Geographical Society Undergraduate Dissertation Prize Title: Refugees and theatre: an exploration of the basis of self-representation
University: University of Washington Faculty: Computer Science & Engineering Author: Nick J. Martindell Award: 2014 Best Senior Thesis Award Title: DCDN: Distributed content delivery for the modern web
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University: University of Edinburgh Faculty: Informatics Author: Christopher Sipola Award: 2018 Social Responsibility & Sustainability Dissertation Prize Title: Summarizing electricity usage with a neural network
University: University of Ottawa Faculty: Education Author: Matthew Brillinger Award: 2017 Commission on Graduate Studies in the Humanities Prize Title: Educational Park Planning in Berkeley, California, 1965-1968
University: University of Ottawa Faculty: Social Sciences Author: Heather Martin Award: 2015 Joseph De Koninck Prize Title: An Analysis of Sexual Assault Support Services for Women who have a Developmental Disability
University : University of Ottawa Faculty : Physics Author : Guillaume Thekkadath Award : 2017 Commission on Graduate Studies in the Sciences Prize Title : Joint measurements of complementary properties of quantum systems
University: London School of Economics Faculty: International Development Author: Lajos Kossuth Award: 2016 Winner of the Prize for Best Overall Performance Title: Shiny Happy People: A study of the effects income relative to a reference group exerts on life satisfaction
University : Stanford University Faculty : English Author : Nathan Wainstein Award : 2021 Alden Prize Title : “Unformed Art: Bad Writing in the Modernist Novel”
University : University of Massachusetts at Amherst Faculty : Molecular and Cellular Biology Author : Nils Pilotte Award : 2021 Byron Prize for Best Ph.D. Dissertation Title : “Improved Molecular Diagnostics for Soil-Transmitted Molecular Diagnostics for Soil-Transmitted Helminths”
University: Utrecht University Faculty: Linguistics Author: Hans Rutger Bosker Award: 2014 AVT/Anéla Dissertation Prize Title: The processing and evaluation of fluency in native and non-native speech
University: California Institute of Technology Faculty: Physics Author: Michael P. Mendenhall Award: 2015 Dissertation Award in Nuclear Physics Title: Measurement of the neutron beta decay asymmetry using ultracold neutrons
University: Stanford University Faculty: Management Science and Engineering Author: Shayan O. Gharan Award: Doctoral Dissertation Award 2013 Title: New Rounding Techniques for the Design and Analysis of Approximation Algorithms
University: University of Minnesota Faculty: Chemical Engineering Author: Eric A. Vandre Award: 2014 Andreas Acrivos Dissertation Award in Fluid Dynamics Title: Onset of Dynamics Wetting Failure: The Mechanics of High-speed Fluid Displacement
University: Erasmus University Rotterdam Faculty: Marketing Author: Ezgi Akpinar Award: McKinsey Marketing Dissertation Award 2014 Title: Consumer Information Sharing: Understanding Psychological Drivers of Social Transmission
University: University of Washington Faculty: Computer Science & Engineering Author: Keith N. Snavely Award: 2009 Doctoral Dissertation Award Title: Scene Reconstruction and Visualization from Internet Photo Collections
University: University of Ottawa Faculty: Social Work Author: Susannah Taylor Award: 2018 Joseph De Koninck Prize Title: Effacing and Obscuring Autonomy: the Effects of Structural Violence on the Transition to Adulthood of Street Involved Youth
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18 Qualitative Research Examples
Qualitative research is an approach to scientific research that involves using observation to gather and analyze non-numerical, in-depth, and well-contextualized datasets.
It serves as an integral part of academic, professional, and even daily decision-making processes (Baxter & Jack, 2008).
Methods of qualitative research encompass a wide range of techniques, from in-depth personal encounters, like ethnographies (studying cultures in-depth) and autoethnographies (examining one’s own cultural experiences), to collection of diverse perspectives on topics through methods like interviewing focus groups (gatherings of individuals to discuss specific topics).
Qualitative Research Examples
Definition: Ethnography is a qualitative research design aimed at exploring cultural phenomena. Rooted in the discipline of anthropology , this research approach investigates the social interactions, behaviors, and perceptions within groups, communities, or organizations.
Ethnographic research is characterized by extended observation of the group, often through direct participation, in the participants’ environment. An ethnographer typically lives with the study group for extended periods, intricately observing their everyday lives (Khan, 2014).
It aims to present a complete, detailed and accurate picture of the observed social life, rituals, symbols, and values from the perspective of the study group.
Example of Ethnographic Research
Title: “ The Everyday Lives of Men: An Ethnographic Investigation of Young Adult Male Identity “
Citation: Evans, J. (2010). The Everyday Lives of Men: An Ethnographic Investigation of Young Adult Male Identity. Peter Lang.
Overview: This study by Evans (2010) provides a rich narrative of young adult male identity as experienced in everyday life. The author immersed himself among a group of young men, participating in their activities and cultivating a deep understanding of their lifestyle, values, and motivations. This research exemplified the ethnographic approach, revealing complexities of the subjects’ identities and societal roles, which could hardly be accessed through other qualitative research designs.
Read my Full Guide on Ethnography Here
Definition: Autoethnography is an approach to qualitative research where the researcher uses their own personal experiences to extend the understanding of a certain group, culture, or setting. Essentially, it allows for the exploration of self within the context of social phenomena.
Unlike traditional ethnography, which focuses on the study of others, autoethnography turns the ethnographic gaze inward, allowing the researcher to use their personal experiences within a culture as rich qualitative data (Durham, 2019).
The objective is to critically appraise one’s personal experiences as they navigate and negotiate cultural, political, and social meanings. The researcher becomes both the observer and the participant, intertwining personal and cultural experiences in the research.
Example of Autoethnographic Research
Title: “ A Day In The Life Of An NHS Nurse “
Citation: Osben, J. (2019). A day in the life of a NHS nurse in 21st Century Britain: An auto-ethnography. The Journal of Autoethnography for Health & Social Care. 1(1).
Overview: This study presents an autoethnography of a day in the life of an NHS nurse (who, of course, is also the researcher). The author uses the research to achieve reflexivity, with the researcher concluding: “Scrutinising my practice and situating it within a wider contextual backdrop has compelled me to significantly increase my level of scrutiny into the driving forces that influence my practice.”
Read my Full Guide on Autoethnography Here
3. Semi-Structured Interviews
Definition: Semi-structured interviews stand as one of the most frequently used methods in qualitative research. These interviews are planned and utilize a set of pre-established questions, but also allow for the interviewer to steer the conversation in other directions based on the responses given by the interviewee.
In semi-structured interviews, the interviewer prepares a guide that outlines the focal points of the discussion. However, the interview is flexible, allowing for more in-depth probing if the interviewer deems it necessary (Qu, & Dumay, 2011). This style of interviewing strikes a balance between structured ones which might limit the discussion, and unstructured ones, which could lack focus.
Example of Semi-Structured Interview Research
Title: “ Factors influencing adherence to cancer treatment in older adults with cancer: a systematic review “
Citation: Puts, M., et al. (2014). Factors influencing adherence to cancer treatment in older adults with cancer: a systematic review. Annals of oncology, 25 (3), 564-577.
Overview: Puts et al. (2014) executed an extensive systematic review in which they conducted semi-structured interviews with older adults suffering from cancer to examine the factors influencing their adherence to cancer treatment. The findings suggested that various factors, including side effects, faith in healthcare professionals, and social support have substantial impacts on treatment adherence. This research demonstrates how semi-structured interviews can provide rich and profound insights into the subjective experiences of patients.
4. Focus Groups
Definition: Focus groups are a qualitative research method that involves organized discussion with a selected group of individuals to gain their perspectives on a specific concept, product, or phenomenon. Typically, these discussions are guided by a moderator.
During a focus group session, the moderator has a list of questions or topics to discuss, and participants are encouraged to interact with each other (Morgan, 2010). This interactivity can stimulate more information and provide a broader understanding of the issue under scrutiny. The open format allows participants to ask questions and respond freely, offering invaluable insights into attitudes, experiences, and group norms.
Example of Focus Group Research
Title: “ Perspectives of Older Adults on Aging Well: A Focus Group Study “
Citation: Halaweh, H., Dahlin-Ivanoff, S., Svantesson, U., & Willén, C. (2018). Perspectives of older adults on aging well: a focus group study. Journal of aging research .
Overview: This study aimed to explore what older adults (aged 60 years and older) perceived to be ‘aging well’. The researchers identified three major themes from their focus group interviews: a sense of well-being, having good physical health, and preserving good mental health. The findings highlight the importance of factors such as positive emotions, social engagement, physical activity, healthy eating habits, and maintaining independence in promoting aging well among older adults.
Definition: Phenomenology, a qualitative research method, involves the examination of lived experiences to gain an in-depth understanding of the essence or underlying meanings of a phenomenon.
The focus of phenomenology lies in meticulously describing participants’ conscious experiences related to the chosen phenomenon (Padilla-Díaz, 2015).
In a phenomenological study, the researcher collects detailed, first-hand perspectives of the participants, typically via in-depth interviews, and then uses various strategies to interpret and structure these experiences, ultimately revealing essential themes (Creswell, 2013). This approach focuses on the perspective of individuals experiencing the phenomenon, seeking to explore, clarify, and understand the meanings they attach to those experiences.
Example of Phenomenology Research
Title: “ A phenomenological approach to experiences with technology: current state, promise, and future directions for research ”
Citation: Cilesiz, S. (2011). A phenomenological approach to experiences with technology: Current state, promise, and future directions for research. Educational Technology Research and Development, 59 , 487-510.
Overview: A phenomenological approach to experiences with technology by Sebnem Cilesiz represents a good starting point for formulating a phenomenological study. With its focus on the ‘essence of experience’, this piece presents methodological, reliability, validity, and data analysis techniques that phenomenologists use to explain how people experience technology in their everyday lives.
6. Grounded Theory
Definition: Grounded theory is a systematic methodology in qualitative research that typically applies inductive reasoning . The primary aim is to develop a theoretical explanation or framework for a process, action, or interaction grounded in, and arising from, empirical data (Birks & Mills, 2015).
In grounded theory, data collection and analysis work together in a recursive process. The researcher collects data, analyses it, and then collects more data based on the evolving understanding of the research context. This ongoing process continues until a comprehensive theory that represents the data and the associated phenomenon emerges – a point known as theoretical saturation (Charmaz, 2014).
Example of Grounded Theory Research
Title: “ Student Engagement in High School Classrooms from the Perspective of Flow Theory “
Citation: Shernoff, D. J., Csikszentmihalyi, M., Shneider, B., & Shernoff, E. S. (2003). Student engagement in high school classrooms from the perspective of flow theory. School Psychology Quarterly, 18 (2), 158–176.
Overview: Shernoff and colleagues (2003) used grounded theory to explore student engagement in high school classrooms. The researchers collected data through student self-reports, interviews, and observations. Key findings revealed that academic challenge, student autonomy, and teacher support emerged as the most significant factors influencing students’ engagement, demonstrating how grounded theory can illuminate complex dynamics within real-world contexts.
7. Narrative Research
Definition: Narrative research is a qualitative research method dedicated to storytelling and understanding how individuals experience the world. It focuses on studying an individual’s life and experiences as narrated by that individual (Polkinghorne, 2013).
In narrative research, the researcher collects data through methods such as interviews, observations , and document analysis. The emphasis is on the stories told by participants – narratives that reflect their experiences, thoughts, and feelings.
These stories are then interpreted by the researcher, who attempts to understand the meaning the participant attributes to these experiences (Josselson, 2011).
Example of Narrative Research
Title: “Narrative Structures and the Language of the Self”
Citation: McAdams, D. P., Josselson, R., & Lieblich, A. (2006). Identity and story: Creating self in narrative . American Psychological Association.
Overview: In this innovative study, McAdams et al. (2006) employed narrative research to explore how individuals construct their identities through the stories they tell about themselves. By examining personal narratives, the researchers discerned patterns associated with characters, motivations, conflicts, and resolutions, contributing valuable insights about the relationship between narrative and individual identity.
8. Case Study Research
Definition: Case study research is a qualitative research method that involves an in-depth investigation of a single instance or event: a case. These ‘cases’ can range from individuals, groups, or entities to specific projects, programs, or strategies (Creswell, 2013).
The case study method typically uses multiple sources of information for comprehensive contextual analysis. It aims to explore and understand the complexity and uniqueness of a particular case in a real-world context (Merriam & Tisdell, 2015). This investigation could result in a detailed description of the case, a process for its development, or an exploration of a related issue or problem.
Example of Case Study Research
Title: “ Teacher’s Role in Fostering Preschoolers’ Computational Thinking: An Exploratory Case Study “
Citation: Wang, X. C., Choi, Y., Benson, K., Eggleston, C., & Weber, D. (2021). Teacher’s role in fostering preschoolers’ computational thinking: An exploratory case study. Early Education and Development , 32 (1), 26-48.
Overview: This study investigates the role of teachers in promoting computational thinking skills in preschoolers. The study utilized a qualitative case study methodology to examine the computational thinking scaffolding strategies employed by a teacher interacting with three preschoolers in a small group setting. The findings highlight the importance of teachers’ guidance in fostering computational thinking practices such as problem reformulation/decomposition, systematic testing, and debugging.
Read about some Famous Case Studies in Psychology Here
9. Participant Observation
Definition: Participant observation has the researcher immerse themselves in a group or community setting to observe the behavior of its members. It is similar to ethnography, but generally, the researcher isn’t embedded for a long period of time.
The researcher, being a participant, engages in daily activities, interactions, and events as a way of conducting a detailed study of a particular social phenomenon (Kawulich, 2005).
The method involves long-term engagement in the field, maintaining detailed records of observed events, informal interviews, direct participation, and reflexivity. This approach allows for a holistic view of the participants’ lived experiences, behaviours, and interactions within their everyday environment (Dewalt, 2011).
Example of Participant Observation Research
Title: Conflict in the boardroom: a participant observation study of supervisory board dynamics
Citation: Heemskerk, E. M., Heemskerk, K., & Wats, M. M. (2017). Conflict in the boardroom: a participant observation study of supervisory board dynamics. Journal of Management & Governance , 21 , 233-263.
Overview: This study examined how conflicts within corporate boards affect their performance. The researchers used a participant observation method, where they actively engaged with 11 supervisory boards and observed their dynamics. They found that having a shared understanding of the board’s role called a common framework, improved performance by reducing relationship conflicts, encouraging task conflicts, and minimizing conflicts between the board and CEO.
10. Non-Participant Observation
Definition: Non-participant observation is a qualitative research method in which the researcher observes the phenomena of interest without actively participating in the situation, setting, or community being studied.
This method allows the researcher to maintain a position of distance, as they are solely an observer and not a participant in the activities being observed (Kawulich, 2005).
During non-participant observation, the researcher typically records field notes on the actions, interactions, and behaviors observed , focusing on specific aspects of the situation deemed relevant to the research question.
This could include verbal and nonverbal communication , activities, interactions, and environmental contexts (Angrosino, 2007). They could also use video or audio recordings or other methods to collect data.
Example of Non-Participant Observation Research
Title: Mental Health Nurses’ attitudes towards mental illness and recovery-oriented practice in acute inpatient psychiatric units: A non-participant observation study
Citation: Sreeram, A., Cross, W. M., & Townsin, L. (2023). Mental Health Nurses’ attitudes towards mental illness and recovery‐oriented practice in acute inpatient psychiatric units: A non‐participant observation study. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing .
Overview: This study investigated the attitudes of mental health nurses towards mental illness and recovery-oriented practice in acute inpatient psychiatric units. The researchers used a non-participant observation method, meaning they observed the nurses without directly participating in their activities. The findings shed light on the nurses’ perspectives and behaviors, providing valuable insights into their attitudes toward mental health and recovery-focused care in these settings.
11. Content Analysis
Definition: Content Analysis involves scrutinizing textual, visual, or spoken content to categorize and quantify information. The goal is to identify patterns, themes, biases, or other characteristics (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005).
Content Analysis is widely used in various disciplines for a multitude of purposes. Researchers typically use this method to distill large amounts of unstructured data, like interview transcripts, newspaper articles, or social media posts, into manageable and meaningful chunks.
When wielded appropriately, Content Analysis can illuminate the density and frequency of certain themes within a dataset, provide insights into how specific terms or concepts are applied contextually, and offer inferences about the meanings of their content and use (Duriau, Reger, & Pfarrer, 2007).
Example of Content Analysis
Title: Framing European politics: A content analysis of press and television news .
Citation: Semetko, H. A., & Valkenburg, P. M. (2000). Framing European politics: A content analysis of press and television news. Journal of Communication, 50 (2), 93-109.
Overview: This study analyzed press and television news articles about European politics using a method called content analysis. The researchers examined the prevalence of different “frames” in the news, which are ways of presenting information to shape audience perceptions. They found that the most common frames were attribution of responsibility, conflict, economic consequences, human interest, and morality.
Read my Full Guide on Content Analysis Here
12. Discourse Analysis
Definition: Discourse Analysis, a qualitative research method, interprets the meanings, functions, and coherence of certain languages in context.
Discourse analysis is typically understood through social constructionism, critical theory , and poststructuralism and used for understanding how language constructs social concepts (Cheek, 2004).
Discourse Analysis offers great breadth, providing tools to examine spoken or written language, often beyond the level of the sentence. It enables researchers to scrutinize how text and talk articulate social and political interactions and hierarchies.
Insight can be garnered from different conversations, institutional text, and media coverage to understand how topics are addressed or framed within a specific social context (Jorgensen & Phillips, 2002).
Example of Discourse Analysis
Title: The construction of teacher identities in educational policy documents: A critical discourse analysis
Citation: Thomas, S. (2005). The construction of teacher identities in educational policy documents: A critical discourse analysis. Critical Studies in Education, 46 (2), 25-44.
Overview: The author examines how an education policy in one state of Australia positions teacher professionalism and teacher identities. While there are competing discourses about professional identity, the policy framework privileges a narrative that frames the ‘good’ teacher as one that accepts ever-tightening control and regulation over their professional practice.
Read my Full Guide on Discourse Analysis Here
13. Action Research
Definition: Action Research is a qualitative research technique that is employed to bring about change while simultaneously studying the process and results of that change.
This method involves a cyclical process of fact-finding, action, evaluation, and reflection (Greenwood & Levin, 2016).
Typically, Action Research is used in the fields of education, social sciences , and community development. The process isn’t just about resolving an issue but also developing knowledge that can be used in the future to address similar or related problems.
The researcher plays an active role in the research process, which is normally broken down into four steps:
- developing a plan to improve what is currently being done
- implementing the plan
- observing the effects of the plan, and
- reflecting upon these effects (Smith, 2010).
Example of Action Research
Title: Using Digital Sandbox Gaming to Improve Creativity Within Boys’ Writing
Citation: Ellison, M., & Drew, C. (2020). Using digital sandbox gaming to improve creativity within boys’ writing. Journal of Research in Childhood Education , 34 (2), 277-287.
Overview: This was a research study one of my research students completed in his own classroom under my supervision. He implemented a digital game-based approach to literacy teaching with boys and interviewed his students to see if the use of games as stimuli for storytelling helped draw them into the learning experience.
Read my Full Guide on Action Research Here
14. Semiotic Analysis
Definition: Semiotic Analysis is a qualitative method of research that interprets signs and symbols in communication to understand sociocultural phenomena. It stems from semiotics, the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation (Chandler, 2017).
In a Semiotic Analysis, signs (anything that represents something else) are interpreted based on their significance and the role they play in representing ideas.
This type of research often involves the examination of images, sounds, and word choice to uncover the embedded sociocultural meanings. For example, an advertisement for a car might be studied to learn more about societal views on masculinity or success (Berger, 2010).
Example of Semiotic Research
Title: Shielding the learned body: a semiotic analysis of school badges in New South Wales, Australia
Citation: Symes, C. (2023). Shielding the learned body: a semiotic analysis of school badges in New South Wales, Australia. Semiotica , 2023 (250), 167-190.
Overview: This study examines school badges in New South Wales, Australia, and explores their significance through a semiotic analysis. The badges, which are part of the school’s visual identity, are seen as symbolic representations that convey meanings. The analysis reveals that these badges often draw on heraldic models, incorporating elements like colors, names, motifs, and mottoes that reflect local culture and history, thus connecting students to their national identity. Additionally, the study highlights how some schools have shifted from traditional badges to modern logos and slogans, reflecting a more business-oriented approach.
15. Qualitative Longitudinal Studies
Definition: Qualitative Longitudinal Studies are a research method that involves repeated observation of the same items over an extended period of time.
Unlike a snapshot perspective, this method aims to piece together individual histories and examine the influences and impacts of change (Neale, 2019).
Qualitative Longitudinal Studies provide an in-depth understanding of change as it happens, including changes in people’s lives, their perceptions, and their behaviors.
For instance, this method could be used to follow a group of students through their schooling years to understand the evolution of their learning behaviors and attitudes towards education (Saldaña, 2003).
Example of Qualitative Longitudinal Research
Title: Patient and caregiver perspectives on managing pain in advanced cancer: a qualitative longitudinal study
Citation: Hackett, J., Godfrey, M., & Bennett, M. I. (2016). Patient and caregiver perspectives on managing pain in advanced cancer: a qualitative longitudinal study. Palliative medicine , 30 (8), 711-719.
Overview: This article examines how patients and their caregivers manage pain in advanced cancer through a qualitative longitudinal study. The researchers interviewed patients and caregivers at two different time points and collected audio diaries to gain insights into their experiences, making this study longitudinal.
Read my Full Guide on Longitudinal Research Here
16. Open-Ended Surveys
Definition: Open-Ended Surveys are a type of qualitative research method where respondents provide answers in their own words. Unlike closed-ended surveys, which limit responses to predefined options, open-ended surveys allow for expansive and unsolicited explanations (Fink, 2013).
Open-ended surveys are commonly used in a range of fields, from market research to social studies. As they don’t force respondents into predefined response categories, these surveys help to draw out rich, detailed data that might uncover new variables or ideas.
For example, an open-ended survey might be used to understand customer opinions about a new product or service (Lavrakas, 2008).
Contrast this to a quantitative closed-ended survey, like a Likert scale, which could theoretically help us to come up with generalizable data but is restricted by the questions on the questionnaire, meaning new and surprising data and insights can’t emerge from the survey results in the same way.
Example of Open-Ended Survey Research
Title: Advantages and disadvantages of technology in relationships: Findings from an open-ended survey
Citation: Hertlein, K. M., & Ancheta, K. (2014). Advantages and disadvantages of technology in relationships: Findings from an open-ended survey. The Qualitative Report , 19 (11), 1-11.
Overview: This article examines the advantages and disadvantages of technology in couple relationships through an open-ended survey method. Researchers analyzed responses from 410 undergraduate students to understand how technology affects relationships. They found that technology can contribute to relationship development, management, and enhancement, but it can also create challenges such as distancing, lack of clarity, and impaired trust.
17. Naturalistic Observation
Definition: Naturalistic Observation is a type of qualitative research method that involves observing individuals in their natural environments without interference or manipulation by the researcher.
Naturalistic observation is often used when conducting research on behaviors that cannot be controlled or manipulated in a laboratory setting (Kawulich, 2005).
It is frequently used in the fields of psychology, sociology, and anthropology. For instance, to understand the social dynamics in a schoolyard, a researcher could spend time observing the children interact during their recess, noting their behaviors, interactions, and conflicts without imposing their presence on the children’s activities (Forsyth, 2010).
Example of Naturalistic Observation Research
Title: Dispositional mindfulness in daily life: A naturalistic observation study
Citation: Kaplan, D. M., Raison, C. L., Milek, A., Tackman, A. M., Pace, T. W., & Mehl, M. R. (2018). Dispositional mindfulness in daily life: A naturalistic observation study. PloS one , 13 (11), e0206029.
Overview: In this study, researchers conducted two studies: one exploring assumptions about mindfulness and behavior, and the other using naturalistic observation to examine actual behavioral manifestations of mindfulness. They found that trait mindfulness is associated with a heightened perceptual focus in conversations, suggesting that being mindful is expressed primarily through sharpened attention rather than observable behavioral or social differences.
Read my Full Guide on Naturalistic Observation Here
Definition: Photo-elicitation utilizes photographs as a means to trigger discussions and evoke responses during interviews. This strategy aids in bringing out topics of discussion that may not emerge through verbal prompting alone (Harper, 2002).
Traditionally, Photo-Elicitation has been useful in various fields such as education, psychology, and sociology. The method involves the researcher or participants taking photographs, which are then used as prompts for discussion.
For instance, a researcher studying urban environmental issues might invite participants to photograph areas in their neighborhood that they perceive as environmentally detrimental, and then discuss each photo in depth (Clark-Ibáñez, 2004).
Example of Photo-Elicitation Research
Title: Early adolescent food routines: A photo-elicitation study
Citation: Green, E. M., Spivak, C., & Dollahite, J. S. (2021). Early adolescent food routines: A photo-elicitation study. Appetite, 158 .
Overview: This study focused on early adolescents (ages 10-14) and their food routines. Researchers conducted in-depth interviews using a photo-elicitation approach, where participants took photos related to their food choices and experiences. Through analysis, the study identified various routines and three main themes: family, settings, and meals/foods consumed, revealing how early adolescents view and are influenced by their eating routines.
Features of Qualitative Research
Qualitative research is a research method focused on understanding the meaning individuals or groups attribute to a social or human problem (Creswell, 2013).
Some key features of this method include:
- Naturalistic Inquiry: Qualitative research happens in the natural setting of the phenomena, aiming to understand “real world” situations (Patton, 2015). This immersion in the field or subject allows the researcher to gather a deep understanding of the subject matter.
- Emphasis on Process: It aims to understand how events unfold over time rather than focusing solely on outcomes (Merriam & Tisdell, 2015). The process-oriented nature of qualitative research allows researchers to investigate sequences, timing, and changes.
- Interpretive: It involves interpreting and making sense of phenomena in terms of the meanings people assign to them (Denzin & Lincoln, 2011). This interpretive element allows for rich, nuanced insights into human behavior and experiences.
- Holistic Perspective: Qualitative research seeks to understand the whole phenomenon rather than focusing on individual components (Creswell, 2013). It emphasizes the complex interplay of factors, providing a richer, more nuanced view of the research subject.
- Prioritizes Depth over Breadth: Qualitative research favors depth of understanding over breadth, typically involving a smaller but more focused sample size (Hennink, Hutter, & Bailey, 2020). This enables detailed exploration of the phenomena of interest, often leading to rich and complex data.
Qualitative vs Quantitative Research
Qualitative research centers on exploring and understanding the meaning individuals or groups attribute to a social or human problem (Creswell, 2013).
It involves an in-depth approach to the subject matter, aiming to capture the richness and complexity of human experience.
Examples include conducting interviews, observing behaviors, or analyzing text and images.
There are strengths inherent in this approach. In its focus on understanding subjective experiences and interpretations, qualitative research can yield rich and detailed data that quantitative research may overlook (Denzin & Lincoln, 2011).
Additionally, qualitative research is adaptive, allowing the researcher to respond to new directions and insights as they emerge during the research process.
However, there are also limitations. Because of the interpretive nature of this research, findings may not be generalizable to a broader population (Marshall & Rossman, 2014). Well-designed quantitative research, on the other hand, can be generalizable.
Moreover, the reliability and validity of qualitative data can be challenging to establish due to its subjective nature, unlike quantitative research, which is ideally more objective.
Compare Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methodologies in This Guide Here
In conclusion, qualitative research methods provide distinctive ways to explore social phenomena and understand nuances that quantitative approaches might overlook. Each method, from Ethnography to Photo-Elicitation, presents its strengths and weaknesses but they all offer valuable means of investigating complex, real-world situations. The goal for the researcher is not to find a definitive tool, but to employ the method best suited for their research questions and the context at hand (Almalki, 2016). Above all, these methods underscore the richness of human experience and deepen our understanding of the world around us.
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131 Interesting Qualitative Research Topics For High Scoring Thesis
Qualitative research topics are undoubtedly not easy. While statistics enthralls some students, others don’t like the subject. That’s because qualitative assignments entail cognitive analysis, which complicates them. But apart from the hardships of completing the projects, selecting topics for qualitative research papers is also a challenge. This article presents a list of 130-plus qualitative research topic ideas to help learners that struggle to get titles for their papers. It is helpful because many learners have difficulties picking titles that will make their essays impressive to educators. But before presenting the topics, this article defines qualitative research.
What Is Qualitative Research?
Qualitative research is an investigative and innovative abstract data analysis. When writing a qualitative research paper , a learner analyzes intangible data. Qualitative researchers code the data after or during collection. Therefore, having top-notch research topics is necessary for a first-class essay.
Knowing how to write a qualitative research paper is vital because it helps the student deliver a copy that provides a clear picture of an event or situation. A researcher can achieve this via practical experience, reliable reporting, and conversations. Gathering raw data is the initial step in qualitative research. A researcher can gather raw data by conducting reviews, observations, and surveys. Also, researchers can use creative methods to collect data.
Best Examples Of Qualitative Research Topics
Qualitative research covers many things. Here are examples of topics that learners can explore in their qualitative study.
- What causes stigma around some health challenges?
- Stigma facing the people living with disabilities- What is the cause?
- Can Pro Bono legal assistance improve the criminal justice system?
- How the less privileged can benefit from Pro Bono services
- The educational challenges facing rural children- Are there ways to help them?
- Child labor causes- How to mitigate the practice
- Substance and drugs- What are young people abusing more?
- How alcohol affects college students
- Can food insecurity interfere with children’s performance in school?
- Food banks intricacies- Understanding the challenge in low-income areas
- Free education- Does it have socioeconomic benefits?
- Culture and female harm- What’s the connection?
- The impact of social media on physical and social engagement among teens in urban areas
- Using medication to treat depression- What are the health benefits?
- Investigating peer educators’ efficiency in creating awareness of health and social issues
- Gender-based violence- What causes it in rural areas, and how does it affect victims?
- Sexual reproductive health challenges of child brides- Are there ways to control it?
- Investigating the causes of school dropout among teenagers
- How to address school dropout among young adults
- Investigating the deteriorating academic pursuit in Third-World countries
- Social activities- Do they have benefits for depressed people?
- Investigating cerebral palsy and the stigma that people associate with it.
- Living with disabilities- Are there social implications?
- The impact of ableism on disabled people
- Exploring the promotion and benefits of feminist values
- Why should society promote free education in all learning environments?
- What causes food insecurities among low-income earners?
- Food and housing insecurity- What are the root causes?
- What are the effects of displacement- Investigating the homeless people’s mental health
These are good examples of qualitative research topics. However, a student that picks a title in this category should research it extensively to impress the educator with their work.
Qualitative Nursing Research Topics
Professors ask students to write about qualitative topics when pursuing nursing studies. Here are issues to consider in this category.
- How does the nurse-patient relationship affect health outcomes?
- How can nurses deal with complex patients?
- How can nurses provide culturally competent care?
- How do personal beliefs affect nursing practice?
- What is the impact of spirituality on nursing care?
- How does the nurse’s role change when working with terminally ill patients?
- What challenges do nurses face when providing end-of-life care?
- How can nurses best support families whose members have serious illnesses?
- What are the unique challenges of caring for elderly patients?
- How does the nurse’s role change when working in a hospice setting?
- Health outreach programs- What are the most effective ways to execute them?
- Effective methods of curbing drug abuse
- Effective ways to help rape survivors
- How can nurses administer care to female genital mutilation victims?
- How to care for special needs individuals
- Anxiety and depression symptoms
- Methods of administering care to Dyslexia patients
- How to help individuals dealing with mental disorders
- Signs of Alzheimer’s disease in older people
- How to provide primary patient care
These are good qualitative research topics for students pursuing nursing studies. Nevertheless, learners must research any of these titles before writing their papers.
Qualitative Research Topics In Education
Most topics spring up from the education niche despite fitting other specifications. Here are examples of qualitative research topics that include the education niche.
- Are guidance and counseling essential in schools?
- How computer literacy affects education
- Why governments in developing schools should encourage adult education
- Autistic children’s education- Which learning style suits them?
- Is mental health education relevant in the modern school curriculum?
- Exploring the learning conditions for kids in third world countries
- Child education and food insecurity- What is the connection?
- The impact of virtual learning on high school students
- How does alcoholism affect a student and their education?
- Homeschooling- What are its advantages and disadvantages?
- How do teachers’ beliefs about intelligence affect their teaching?
- What is the teacher’s role in developing a student’s self-concept?
- Does race or ethnicity play a role in how teachers treat their students?
- What are the teachers’ experiences with teaching students with special needs?
- What methods do effective teachers use to motivate their students?
- What are the most effective ways to teach reading and writing?
- How does technology use affect how teachers teach, and students learn?
- What are the challenges faced by teachers in rural areas?
- What are the challenges faced by teachers in urban areas?
- How do charter schools differ from traditional public schools?
Many topics and issues in the education system allow learners to find subjects to investigate and cover in their papers quickly. And this is not an exhaustive qualitative research topic list in this field. Nevertheless, it covers the most exciting ideas to explore.
Qualitative Research Topics In Public Health
Educators ask students to write academic papers while studying the public health sector. And this provides insights into crucial and relevant aspects of this sector. Here are qualitative research topics examples in this category.
- How does the public health sector manage epidemics?
- The role of public health in disaster management
- Evaluating the effectiveness of public health campaigns
- An analysis of the factors that hinder effective public health delivery
- Access to healthcare: A study of rural and urban populations
- Health needs assessment of refugees
- Mental health support within the public health sector
- The role of technology in public health
- Understanding and addressing health disparities
- Sexual and reproductive health rights in the public health discourse
- How immunization benefits people in rural areas
- What causes water-borne diseases, and how can society mitigate them?
- Symptoms of high blood pressure among young people
- How antenatal care helps pregnant women
- How to boost breast cancer awareness
These are excellent qualitative research paper topics in the public health sector. Nevertheless, learners need sufficient time and resources to investigate their preferred titles in this category to write winning papers.
Qualitative Research Topics In Project Management
Project management writing focuses on ways to achieve results and goals while basing the achievement on the process. This subject covers planning, structuring, proffering, and controlling ways to execute plans to accomplish desired goals. Here are research topics for qualitative research in project management.
- How effective communication strategies can impact the outcome of a project
- How different leadership styles affect team productivity during a project
- The role of conflict management in ensuring successful project outcomes
- Gender differences in the perception and understanding of project risk
- The impact of organizational culture on a project’s likelihood of success
- How different project management methodologies affect its outcome
- The effect of stakeholder involvement on project success
- How to manage virtual teams effectively to ensure successful project outcomes
- What motivates project managers to achieve successful results?
- How can project managers create a positive work environment that leads to successful outcomes?
- What challenges do project managers face when trying to achieve successful outcomes?
- How can project management be used to achieve social change?
- What are the ethical implications of project management?
- What are the global impacts of project management?
- Ways to achieve sustainable development through project management
These are topics to explore in project management. Nevertheless, learners need adequate time to investigate their chosen titles and write winning essays.
Qualitative Research Topics In Political Science
Qualitative research can also cover political science. Investigating this field enables people to understand it better and can be broad. Here are sample titles to consider in for your scientific thesis .
- How do social media affect the way people engage with politics?
- What motivates people to vote?
- How does voting behavior change over time?
- What are the consequences of gerrymandering?
- How does campaign finance influence elections?
- Interest groups- What is their role in politics?
- How do the media cover politics?
- What are the effects of political scandals?
- How does public opinion influence policymakers?
- How feminism enhanced the American politics
- The adverse effects of misrepresentation
- The American democracy- A look into its dimensions
- Colorism, racism, and classism- How the American ideologies differ
- What causes an election crisis?
- Two-party system- What challenges does it face in America?
- Black women’s inclusion in the American politics
- Should America have a multi-party system?
- Why mass media matters in politics’ scrutiny and promotion
While political science is a broad field, these narrow topics help learners handle their research effectively. Pick any of these ideas to write a winning essay.
Topics For Ethnography Qualitative Research
Ethnographic research entails studying and paying attention to society and describing it. Here are topics to consider for a research paper in this field.
- Studying a subculture: Reasons people join and stay in gangs
- How does social media use vary by culture?
- An ethnographic study of a homeless shelter or soup kitchen
- Understanding the lives of sex workers through ethnography
- The impact of religion on family life
- How does parenting vary between cultures?
- How do children learn and socialize in different cultures?
- What is the effect of migration on family life?
- What are the experiences of refugees?- An explorative case study
- What is the impact of poverty on family life?
- How do people in different cultures understand and experience mental illness?
- What is the role of the family in other cultures?
- What are the end-of-life experiences and beliefs around death in different cultures?
This article has presented easy qualitative research topics. However, some need time and resources to investigate and write quality papers. Therefore, pick your paper title carefully to write an essay that will earn you an excellent grade.
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202 Best Choice Qualitative Research Topics for Students 2023
As a college student, you’ll always encounter a series of essays to write while in school. These essays will always be of different types, and they’ll include research essays. There are two important things to know when embarking on research paper writing. First, you have to understand if your research work is to be quantitative or qualitative.
For qualitative research writing, you’ll be required to go through a fundamental research process which entails gathering raw and primary information through field research which can either be done through interviews, surveys, observations, or through any other way of harnessing raw data.
There are so many research topics to look into when preparing for your essay writing. Among these are some of the qualitative research topics ideas to look out for.
Examples of Qualitative Research Topics
There is a wide variety of what qualitative research can cover. Below you’ll find a qualitative research topics list with some initial ideas that can get you started.
- How Social media is affecting the physical social engagement of Teenagers in Urban areas
- Health benefits of treating depression with medication and some of them realize results
- The efficiency of Peer educators in creating social awareness on social and health issues
- Understanding the effects of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in rural areas and how this negatively impacts women in such areas
- Challenges of the sexual reproductive health of child brides and how this can be controlled
- Social investigation into the cause of dropping out of the school of teenagers and young adults and some of the ways through which it can be addressed
- Academic pursuit: is it deteriorating in Third World countries
- Benefits of engaging in social activities to depressed people and those struggling with certain mental health challenges
- Understanding the learning challenges of dyslexic children and progressive ways to administer help to them
- A questioning of the stigma associated with cerebral palsy
- The social implications of living with disabilities
- How ableism affects disabled people in our society
- Understanding the benefits and promotion of feminist values in rural areas
- The need to promote free education across every learning environment
- Investigating the root causes of food insecurities in low-income neighborhoods
- Understanding the challenges of housing insecurity and food insecurity
- Displacement and its accompanying effects: a look into the mental health of homeless people
- How culture contributes to female harm in the society
- Socioeconomic benefits of free education in our society
- Understanding the intricacies of food banks in low-income neighborhoods
- How food insecurity causes children to perform poorly in school
- The effects of alcohol on college students
- Drugs & Substance: which do young adults abuse more
- The causes of child labor and how to mitigate against such practices
- Educational challenges on children in rural areas and ways to proffer help
- Benefits of Pro Bono services to the less privileged
- How Pro Bono legal aids improve the justice system
- Understanding the stigma of living with disabilities
- Causes of the stigma that surrounds certain health challenges
Qualitative Nursing Research Topics
Even while your area of specialization in college is in medicine or health care, you’ll still be required to carry out research writing. If your specialization is in nursing, there is still research to embark on. Because nursing itself as a field of study touches across a lot of medical and health care issues which requires research to be paid attention to and brought relevance to. Here are some qualitative research topics examples on nursing to look into.
- How to administer care to patients with Dyslexia
- How to help patients with mental disorders
- Signs and Symptoms of autism and how to extend help to these patients
- How to identify Alzheimer’s in older patients
- Understanding how to deal with pregnant women and emergencies
- Administering antenatal care to pregnant women
- Patient care in psychiatric units and a look into that
- Identifying and treating Alzheimer’s
- Basics of patient care
- Difference between workloads of ICU nurses and OR nurses
- Care for hypertensive patients with diabetes
- First aid treatments for gun victims
- Pros & cons of nurses’ drug prescription
- The role of nurses in rural healthcare services
- Understanding care in nursing homes
- Intensive care for visually and verbally impaired patients
- Benefits of immunization in rural areas
- Outlining and handling the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine
- Why compassion and sensitivity is important for nurses
- The role of nurses and healthcare corporations
- How nurses can handle cardiovascular challenges
- Signs of Depression and anxiety in patients
- How to take care of people with special needs
- How to take care of elderly
- How to administer care to survivors of female genital mutilation
- How to assist rape survivors
- Bipolar symptoms in young adults
- How to curb drug abuse
- Effective ways to carry out health outreach programs
Qualitative Research Topics in Education
While there are other topics specific to different other specifications, they all mostly spring up from education. There are so many issues and topics that pertain to the education system which allows for more research to be embarked on this aspect of learning. The one realistic and easy way to evaluate and improve the quality of education is through the carrying out of the research. Here are some good qualitative research topics in education.
- Which learning style is efficient for autistic children
- Importance of mental health education in the school curriculum
- The importance of computer literacy
- Learning condition of children in third world countries
- Food insecurity and child education
- How virtual learning affects high school students
- Can students manipulate lockdown browsers?
- Effects of alcoholism on education
- Understanding adult learning
- The need to encourage adult education
- Impacts of computer literacy on education
- Disadvantages of homeschooling
- Importance of guidance and counseling in schools
- Significance of school uniform to learning
- How to improve oral learning in classrooms
- The negative impacts of student loans
- How to teach and improve the learning abilities of ADHD students
- The importance of sign language learning
- Impacts of the poor educational system
- The need to include technology into the education system
- How smartphones affect students academic performance in the academic system
- Psychological impacts of student bullying
- Developing connecting through virtual learning
- Importance of research writing in schools
- The need to improve educational learning for children in low-income neighborhoods
- The importance of reading to preschoolers
- Importance of social activities in schools
- Ways to help children with learning disabilities to improve their learning
- Easy ways to master foreign languages for students in high school.
Qualitative Research Topics in Political Science
Writing qualitative research also extends to the field of political sciences. Qualitative research is very important in the political field because it allows people to have a clearer understanding of the field as in most cases, it can easily become broad. Narrowing your research to specific topics will help you handle the research effectively. Here are some qualitative research topics lists in political science.
- How COVID-19 impacts low-income neighborhoods
- The need for the cancellation of student loans and not the suspension of student loans
- Racism as a dividing factor in America
- Segregation and racist laws
- Effects of capitalism on America’s health system
- Why healthcare in America should be free
- The abortion regulation bill and its effects
- What the return to office move says about American capitalism
- The distinction between Liberalism and Conservatism and places where they merge
- Understanding neoliberalism and how it impacts our activities in the society
- COVID-19: Vaccines and treatments
- The importance of independent judiciary and legislation to improve the American legal system
- Understanding the effects of American incarceration
- Carceral system in America and how it targets mostly people in minority groups
- Understanding American foreign policy
- The negative impacts of peace war in affected countries
- A look into the dimensions of the American democracy
- Classism, racism, colorism: understanding the different American ideologies
- The need for the cancellation of the American carceral system
- Dissecting the causes of the election crisis
- The need for a free polling system to encourage free and fair voting practices
- The challenges of Americans two-party system
- The role of mass media in promoting and scrutinizing politics
- Why America needs a multi-party system
- The inclusion of black women in American politics
- The need for representation in American politics
- The negative impacts of misrepresentation
- Addressing Police brutality in America
- The role of feminism in enhancing American politics
Topics for Ethnography Qualitative Research
Carrying out Ethnographic research requires paying attention and studying society from a descriptive perspective. This form of research writing is usually useful in cultural anthropology. Practically, when you are writing ethnographic research, you’ll be required to carry out a series of research writings. One of the most important researches you’ll be embarking on which in turn becomes primarily beneficial to the essay is qualitative research. With qualitative research writing in ethnography, every single collected raw data is useful information to you that will enable you to pull through with your essay. Listed below are some qualitative research paper topics.
- How does Sexual violence in rural areas affect the psychological well-being of the women and girls in such locality
- Evaluating the role of parental care and the lack of it thereof in the lives of some foster kids
- An insight into the primary causes of the swift migration happening from African to Europe
- Examining the distinction between the Sharia laws applicable to Muslims abroad and those in African countries
- Explain how political instability in certain countries is often the remote cause of the general instability that arises in any country.
- The relationship between political and instability and migration
- Exploring the link between violence against women and sex trafficking
- Analyzing the socioeconomic impacts of instability on a nation
- An overview of the rise of oral literature study in literature
- The social implications of American confinement systems on individuals
- What are the ways through which sororities impacts the lives of those within it
- A study into the ways through which government enables homelessness
- A study of the American society and how to reach it is in culture and history
- Outlining some of the challenges of Muslims in Africa
- Discussing the leniency of the practice of Islam in foreign spaces
- A study into the importance of fraternities and sororities
- How is the popular culture impacting the psyche of Americans
- The impacts of westernization in human perception
- How does literature contribute to change the world
- Discussing the challenges transgender people undergo within and outside the LGBTQ+ community
- How social media distorts the perception of reality
- The role of the smartphone in our deteriorating attention span
- Understanding culture and how it applies to different American groups
- The importance of books in the lives of children in rural areas
- How violence breeds housing and food insecurity
- The role of capitalism in generating food insecurity
- Understanding the effects of female genitalia mutilation in girls
- How popular culture serves as an agent of social change
- How male dominance breeds male violence
Qualitative Research Topics in Public Health
Even while within the public health sector, you’ll still be required to write qualitative research on your field of study. What this allows is that it gives you the much-needed insight into looking into relevant and crucial aspects of your field of specialty that might need the extra attention. Knowing this while writing research will enable you to broaden your understanding of the intricacies of your course of study as it allows you to gather information firsthand. Here are some research topics for qualitative research on public health.
- The benefits of immunization in rural areas
- Causes of water-borne diseases in such our society and how this can be mitigated against
- The simple signs and symptoms on how to indicate high blood pressure in young people
- The importance of antenatal care to every pregnant woman
- Ways to create awareness for breast cancer
- Barriers to clean hygiene in health centers
- Understanding the health challenges of lack of drinkable water in a community
- Prevalence of COVID and how to control its spread
- Importance of nose masks in the times of Covid-19
- Health insurance and how it benefits people
- Importance of safe menstrual care for girls
- How to control the widespread of Flu
- Benefits of exercise to obese people
- How to properly manage to live with Diabetes type II
- Causes of malnutrition in young children
- Control of the prevalence of drug and substance abuse
- Prevention methods for COVID-19
- The importance of contraceptives for sexually active teenagers
- Why do teenagers need sex education and not complete abstinence
- Poorly maintained public hospitals and their effects
- The need to properly manage the source of our waste products disposal
- Factors generating health issues in pregnant women
- The importance of post-natal to nursing mothers
- The need for the creation of health awareness in rural areas
- The growing impacts of COVID-19 on the healthcare system
- The health benefits of constant sanitation
- Role of social distancing in limiting the cases of COVID-19 in the society
- The difference between epidemic and pandemic
- The role of finance in propagating an inclusive and efficient healthcare system.
Qualitative Research Topics in Project Management
Project management entails making plans, structuring, controlling, and proffering reliable ways for the carrying out of such plans to achieve desirable results or goals. The main focus of every form of project management writing is that it focuses on ways through which goals or results can be achieved while basing it on a given process. There are so many topics that are in line with project management. Here is a look into some of the easy qualitative research topics within this particular field of study.
- The leading causes of underdevelopment in most sectors in the society and possible ways to mitigate against this.
- The assessment of the contributing factors that lead to failed healthcare systems in rural areas
- Understanding the challenges that often generate food insecurity and scarcity within a given locality
- Plausible ways through which food insecurity can be handled within a given society
- An investigation into the causes of increased child mortality cases in rural areas
- Impacts of financial management in a country and how it benefits citizens
- How to set up an operation pest control activity in a society
- Investigation into the current cost of living in the society and how this is propagated by capitalism
- The need to create a more inclusive healthcare system
- The root causes of lack of medical insurance and possible ways to curb it.
- The importance of health management in organizations and possible ways to ensure it
- Procedure to encourage the building of health centers in underdeveloped areas
- Promoting the growth and enhancement of management systems that ensure positive impacts on underserved areas
- Analysis of the cost-effectiveness of manufacturing learning centers in urban areas
- Evaluation of accommodation spaces in public nursing homes
- Enhancing the living situation of charity homes and ways to ensure it
- What is the benefit of building communication masts in rural areas
- Efficient ways of regulating revenue distribution
- Design system for building online regulated parking system
- Design process and management of geolocators
- How to ensure effective budget planning
- The importance of budgeting systems and revenue regulatory systems in government sectors
- Overview of budgeting and budget padding as a financial regulatory system.
- The problem with healthcare construction projects in Louisiana
- The role of strategy in enhancing business management
- Student loan challenges faced by academic students in America
- The importance of developing healthy customer-client relationships
- Foreign policy and its impact on developing industrial complexes
Are you writing your college research essay and wondering about how to go about it and, at the same time, if it will require expert writing help? Look no further, for you can rest assured that there are professional research writing experts here that will provide you with quality but cheap essays that will get you high grades! Don’t hesitate to try it out if you are struggling.
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What is a thesis statement.
Your thesis statement is one of the most important parts of your paper. It expresses your main argument succinctly and explains why your argument is historically significant. Think of your thesis as a promise you make to your reader about what your paper will argue. Then, spend the rest of your paper–each body paragraph–fulfilling that promise.
Your thesis should be between one and three sentences long and is placed at the end of your introduction. Just because the thesis comes towards the beginning of your paper does not mean you can write it first and then forget about it. View your thesis as a work in progress while you write your paper. Once you are satisfied with the overall argument your paper makes, go back to your thesis and see if it captures what you have argued. If it does not, then revise it. Crafting a good thesis is one of the most challenging parts of the writing process, so do not expect to perfect it on the first few tries. Successful writers revise their thesis statements again and again.
A successful thesis statement:
- makes an historical argument
- takes a position that requires defending
- is historically specific
- is focused and precise
- answers the question, “so what?”
How to write a thesis statement:
Suppose you are taking an early American history class and your professor has distributed the following essay prompt:
“Historians have debated the American Revolution’s effect on women. Some argue that the Revolution had a positive effect because it increased women’s authority in the family. Others argue that it had a negative effect because it excluded women from politics. Still others argue that the Revolution changed very little for women, as they remained ensconced in the home. Write a paper in which you pose your own answer to the question of whether the American Revolution had a positive, negative, or limited effect on women.”
Using this prompt, we will look at both weak and strong thesis statements to see how successful thesis statements work.
While this thesis does take a position, it is problematic because it simply restates the prompt. It needs to be more specific about how the Revolution had a limited effect on women and why it mattered that women remained in the home.
Revised Thesis: The Revolution wrought little political change in the lives of women because they did not gain the right to vote or run for office. Instead, women remained firmly in the home, just as they had before the war, making their day-to-day lives look much the same.
This revision is an improvement over the first attempt because it states what standards the writer is using to measure change (the right to vote and run for office) and it shows why women remaining in the home serves as evidence of limited change (because their day-to-day lives looked the same before and after the war). However, it still relies too heavily on the information given in the prompt, simply saying that women remained in the home. It needs to make an argument about some element of the war’s limited effect on women. This thesis requires further revision.
Strong Thesis: While the Revolution presented women unprecedented opportunities to participate in protest movements and manage their family’s farms and businesses, it ultimately did not offer lasting political change, excluding women from the right to vote and serve in office.
Few would argue with the idea that war brings upheaval. Your thesis needs to be debatable: it needs to make a claim against which someone could argue. Your job throughout the paper is to provide evidence in support of your own case. Here is a revised version:
Strong Thesis: The Revolution caused particular upheaval in the lives of women. With men away at war, women took on full responsibility for running households, farms, and businesses. As a result of their increased involvement during the war, many women were reluctant to give up their new-found responsibilities after the fighting ended.
Sexism is a vague word that can mean different things in different times and places. In order to answer the question and make a compelling argument, this thesis needs to explain exactly what attitudes toward women were in early America, and how those attitudes negatively affected women in the Revolutionary period.
Strong Thesis: The Revolution had a negative impact on women because of the belief that women lacked the rational faculties of men. In a nation that was to be guided by reasonable republican citizens, women were imagined to have no place in politics and were thus firmly relegated to the home.
This thesis addresses too large of a topic for an undergraduate paper. The terms “social,” “political,” and “economic” are too broad and vague for the writer to analyze them thoroughly in a limited number of pages. The thesis might focus on one of those concepts, or it might narrow the emphasis to some specific features of social, political, and economic change.
Strong Thesis: The Revolution paved the way for important political changes for women. As “Republican Mothers,” women contributed to the polity by raising future citizens and nurturing virtuous husbands. Consequently, women played a far more important role in the new nation’s politics than they had under British rule.
This thesis is off to a strong start, but it needs to go one step further by telling the reader why changes in these three areas mattered. How did the lives of women improve because of developments in education, law, and economics? What were women able to do with these advantages? Obviously the rest of the paper will answer these questions, but the thesis statement needs to give some indication of why these particular changes mattered.
Strong Thesis: The Revolution had a positive impact on women because it ushered in improvements in female education, legal standing, and economic opportunity. Progress in these three areas gave women the tools they needed to carve out lives beyond the home, laying the foundation for the cohesive feminist movement that would emerge in the mid-nineteenth century.
When revising your thesis, check it against the following guidelines:
- Does my thesis make an historical argument?
- Does my thesis take a position that requires defending?
- Is my thesis historically specific?
- Is my thesis focused and precise?
- Does my thesis answer the question, “so what?”
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