Writing a Good Question for Qualitative Research

Topic Endorsement’s Peer Review

For this discussion, complete the following:

  1. Choose a research topic that is appropriate for qualitative research.
  2. Present the need for this research in relation to the field.
  3. Support your conclusions with relevant sources from the academic literature.
  4. Develop a research question.
  5. Define the terms of the question citing the academic literature.
  6. Once you have received feedback from other learners, complete the unit’s assignment based on your revised discussion post.

Topic Selection and Development of a Qualitative Research Question

INTRODUCTION

Choosing a research topic is not as easy as it might seem. It is unacceptable for the researcher to study something simply because it is personally interesting or because it is something he or she has witnessed in the workplace.   A research topic, especially a dissertation research topic, must be firmly situated within the existent body of knowledge in a particular discipline, or it must contain interrelated knowledge from several disciplines. Therefore, the researcher must have a thorough grounding in the relevant literature.

Because of how intimately a topic is tied to current literature in the field, some excellent places to look for potential topics are in recent dissertations (within the past 5 years) and recently published journal articles. All dissertations must have a

section delineating suggestions for future research. In addition, many journal articles address the next logical steps for future researchers. If you are in need of a topic, these are two places to start looking.

Qualitative studies are guided by one open-ended question. This open-ended question provides an initial framework that directs the qualitative study and maintains its focus on the topic under inquiry. The question that leads the qualitative study must match the research methodology that will be used to conduct the qualitative investigation. When designing a qualitative study, the research question is focused on before selecting a methodology.

Once the researcher has selected a research topic, question, and methodology, the next step is to identify the need for the study supported by the psychological literature. These initial steps will assist the researcher in developing an appropriate research design.

Writing a Good Question for Qualitative Research

You should keep the following in mind while writing a good question for qualitative research:

The research question must be a question. Qualitative studies are guided by one open-ended question.

The question that leads the qualitative study must match the research methodology to be used to conduct the qualitative investigation.

The question should name the phenomena that you want to investigate.

The question should be written in such a way that it can be turned into a title using same or similar words, which makes it useful as keywords for someone else’s search.

The following table offers examples of the type of questions that can be used for each of the five methodologies.

Types of Questions for Each Methodology

Type of Question            Methodology

Descriptive questions about values, beliefs, and practices of members of a cultural group under inquiry.

What are the behavioral patterns of . . .?

What is the culture of . . .?

Example questions: Ethnography.

What is the culture of an all-girl public school?

What is the culture of street corner life?

***SEE ATTACHED INSTRUCTION OUTLINE FOR REST OF TABLE INFORMATION***

OBJECTIVES

To successfully complete this learning unit, you will be expected to:

1. Distinguish among a research problem, the purpose of the research, and research questions.

2. Describe a topic suitable for qualitative methodology.

3. Draft a research project statement that fully describes the problem or need being addressed.

 

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