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Qualitative Research Paper: A Helpful Guide & Trending Topics

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Suppose you’ve been tasked to investigate why young children of a particular low-income locality refuse to go to school. What’s the first step you would take?

You’d visit the locality, interview a few children, their parents, educators and local people, visit a few schools, and note down your observations. Now, the conclusion you’ll eventually reach to is based entirely on these interviews and observations and NOT on numbers.

For example, it doesn’t matter if 40 students haven’t gone to school or if 12 schools have shut down. What matters is that most of the interviewees cited poor transportation and accessibility as the primary reasons they couldn’t attend school.

That is the aim of a qualitative research paper.

In definitive terms, a qualitative research paper focuses on the holistic comprehension of a particular social phenomenon. This research method is used widely to gain valuable insights into certain meaningful patterns.

Here are some qualitative research project examples for students for better understanding:

  • Should schools do away with uniforms?
  • Does computer literacy improve students’ education experience?
  • The impact of student loans on Hispanic students

In conclusion, qualitative research answers why people feel or believe something which compels them to act a certain way.

Qualitative Research vs Quantitative Research vs Mixed Research

Unlike qualitative research, quantitative research primarily deals with numbers and is used to reach an objective conclusion to confirm a particular theory.

Meanwhile, mixed research combines components of qualitative and quantitative research to provide a complete picture.

Example of a title in qualitative research: What are cyclists’ perceptions of road safety in Australia?

Qualitative ResearchQuantitative Research
Focuses on understanding human behaviour from the informant’s perspectiveFocuses on discovering facts about a particular social phenomena
Data collected through observation, interviews, etc.Data collected through measurable variables
Assumes a dynamic realityAssumes a fixed reality

Example of a title in quantitative research: Analysis of the frequent road accidents in Australia

Example of a title in mixed research: Do the frequent road accidents in Australia (quantitative) play a role in cyclists’ perception of road safety (qualitative)?

A List of Various Qualitative Research Methods

  • Ethnography
  • Narrative
  • Phenomenology
  • Grounded Theory
  • Case Study

There are five primary methodologies commonly followed by researchers working on a qualitative research dissertation:

  1. Ethnography
  • It is considered one of the most popular qualitative research methods.
  • The researcher experiences the daily lives of the test subjects themselves.
  • The research period can extend up to several years.

For example, urban ethnography is a research method that involves the researcher studying how urban residents navigate their daily lives and communities.

  1. Narrative
  • Researchers dig into the individual stories and experiences of individuals.
  • Data collection methods include interviews, letters, journals, observations, etc.
  • Researchers rearrange events to fit a theme and make observations.

For example, if a business notices a product underperforming in the market, it can use the narrative research method to find out the shortcomings. Based on the observations, it can improve the product.

  1. Phenomenology
  • This perception or experience-based research method studies an event or activity from various angles.
  • It focuses on howhuman beings perceive their surroundings.
  • Researchers gather different insights from the research participants.
  • Data collection methods include on-site visits, interviews, etc.

For example, educational institutions use the phenomenology qualitative research method to figure out why particular students are attracted to certain professions.

  1. Grounded Theory
  • The data collection method involves face-to-face interviews, focus groups, etc.
  • It begins with systematic data collection and analysis.
  • The analysed data is categorised by repetitive ideas or common elements.
  • It encourages the formation of new theories based on recurring patterns.

For example, companies can use this method to check how customers use certain features of their products.

  1. Case Study
  • It is used to conduct in-depth research on a particular subject.
  • The subject can be an organisation, a company, a group of people, etc.
  • The research is usually explanatory or exploratory.

For example, businesses use case studies to figure out their strengths and weaknesses and come up with new strategies.

Elevate Your Game with Qualitative Research Examples

Here are a bunch of qualitative research examples for you to refer to. You will get it all here—from real-life case studies to in-depth ethnographies. Read them, comprehend them, and implement the takeaways in your own paper if you want to elevate your game in the world of qualitative research!

Elevate Your Game with Qualitative Research Examples

Here are a bunch of qualitative research examples for you to refer to. You will get it all here—from real-life case studies to in-depth ethnographies. Read them, comprehend them, and implement the takeaways in your own paper if you want to elevate your game in the world of qualitative research!

Qualitative Research Example

Check This Qualitative Research Example

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The Different Parts of a Qualitative Research Paper

Now that you’ve covered the various research methods, you know how to conduct research, collect your data and analyse it. So, let’s move on to the crucial stage – writing the paper.

First, let’s start off with the qualitative research proposal.

The research proposal allows you to communicate your knowledge in the chosen field and provide a detailed qualitative design of your research.  

 Moving on to the main paper, you can divide a qualitative research dissertation into ten crucial sections:

1. Abstract

An abstract is the summarised version of the paper highlighting its aims, background, research methods, data collection and analysis and findings.

2. Introduction

The introductory paragraph provides context and background information to the readers regarding the study.

3. Aims of the Research

This section states the research problem. Sometimes, it is clubbed with the introduction.

4. Literature Review

This section explores the related information and published papers on the topic.

5. Sample Description

The sample description defines the characteristics of the chosen sample, for example, their age, gender, educational details, financial situation, etc.

6. Data Collection Method

This method involves a detailed explanation of the methods you’ve adopted to collect data, such as interviews, focus groups, surveys, etc.

7. Data Analysis Method

The most popular data analysis methods include discourse analysis, narrative analysis, ethnography, etc.

8. Findings

This section includes the data you’ve collected without any inclusion of personal interpretation.

9. Discussions

The discussions are based on the gathered data and do not indulge in speculation or interpretation.

10. Conclusion

The concluding section of the research paper summarises the main points in the study and suggests possible applications of the findings.

Qualitative Research Paper Sample

As mentioned before, a qualitative research paper begins with an abstract and then moves on to the introduction, aims, literature review, etc. Here’s an example of how you can frame the beginning of your research paper:


This research study examines individual’s experiences of unemployment from a psychological perspective. It presents the different psychological and financial effects of unemployment and presents the different theories developed on the effects of job loss on the individual. It will also examine the central role which work contributes to an individual’s life. Finally, it will investigate how a person deals with unemployment and copes with the transition. A qualitative approach was selected as the research method for this study, through the use of six semi-structured interviews

Chapter One


The aim of this research is to establish and assess an individual’s experience of unemployment. The main focus will be on the psychological effects and the impact which it has on an individual’s well-being and will briefly present the financial effects. This chapter will demonstrate the rationale for choosing this research topic; it will also provide an overview of the following chapters by briefly outlining the content of each one.

Chapter Two

Literature Review

2.1 Introduction

The aim of this chapter is to review the literature available on this research study of unemployment. It will examine the central role which work contributes to an individual’s life. In addition, it will examine the psychological and financial effects of unemployment and present different theories developed on the effects of joblessness. Finally, it will explore how a person deals with unemployment and copes with the transition.

If you’d like to explore more qualitative research papers, here is an example of ethnographic research in nursing for you to peruse.

100+ Qualitative Research Paper Topics

The secret to writing an A-grade qualitative research paper is to choose a topic you know you can ace. Here are a few factors that can help you determine whether a topic is a perfect fit for you:

  • You’re personally interested in the subject
  • You know you can complete it within the deadline
  • You’re already familiar with the subject
  • You have a good sample collection in mind
  • You have enough time to dedicate to data collection
  • You won’t encounter trouble writing unique qualitative research questions on the topic

So, if you’re on the fence about a particular reflective nursing topic but can’t figure out which types of qualitative research questions would be best to explore, you should probably choose something else.

Since research papers are usually complex and extensive pieces of academic writing, you can’t afford to spend time on a topic that you’re going to lose interest in within a few weeks.

Can’t find inspiration for an innovative qualitative research topic? Save your time and energy by browsing through 100+ options hand-picked, especially for you!

Qualitative Research Topics in Education

  1. The challenges of pursuing higher education past the 40s
  2. The need to promote free education in socially backward communities
  3. Analyse the effects of financial burden on school performance.
  4. How does racism affect students’ feelings of belonging in a school?
  5. The effects of virtual classrooms on improving academic performance
  6. Should modern education focus on emotional intelligence as well as intellectual pursuits?
  7. Effective ways to make students with special needs feel a part of the class
  8. Basic methods to deal with abrasive behaviour in classrooms
  9. The long-lasting psychological effects of failing to achieve academic goals
  10. How has the pressure of education loans affected students studying in colleges and universities?
  11. Should students be taught how to write research papers from a young age?
  12. Activities to enhance critical thinking and innovative ideas in the classroom

Qualitative Project Management Research Topics

  1. The role of managers in ensuring timely project completion
  2. Exploration of methods adopted by global companies to reduce manufacturing costs in urban areas
  3. A review of project management practices across the world
  4. What is the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship with customers?
  5. Vital soft skills required to pull off a successful global project
  6. The importance of understanding the intricate nature of a project to manage it effectively
  7. Why should managers possess a high emotional intelligence to push a company towards success?
  8. The importance of time management in meeting impossible project goals
  9. Explore the pros and cons of project management methods followed by the Australian healthcare
  10. Leadership qualities required to pull off successful projects as a small business owner
  11. The attitude of project managers towards risks – an investigation into the financial sector
  12. Effective measures to manage pressure due to projects with tight deadlines

Qualitative Sex Trafficking Research Topics

  1. Would you consider human trafficking as modern-day slavery? Explain.
  2. The ethical breach in the practice of human trafficking
  3. Taking advantage of the innocent mind – Explore how human traffickers influence young adults to become part of the racket.
  4. A comparative analysis of the laws to protect victims of sex trafficking in the USA vs the UK
  5. Can sex trafficking be considered a global crime?
  6. The relation between poverty and sex trafficking in third-world countries
  7. Explore how sex trafficking affects millions of people worldwide regardless of age or gender.
  8. Analyse the role of nurses in rehabilitating victims of sex trafficking.
  9. Why is the illegal practice of sex trafficking thriving in the USA?
  10. Sex trafficking sets back human advancement by decades – Explain.
  11. Are the women running sex trafficking rackets considered victims or perpetrators?
  12. The role of NGOs and social workers in removing the horrors of sex trafficking from society

Qualitative Domestic Violence Research Topics

  1. The psychological effects of children growing up in an abusive household
  2. Analysis of treatment options for victims of domestic violence
  3. A comparative study of laws protecting victims of domestic violence in the USA and the Middle East
  4. The role of social media in spreading awareness about domestic violence
  5. Public opinion shaping the outcome of celebrity domestic violence cases: Analyse with respect to the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial.
  6. The challenges faced by domestic violence victims in returning to normal life
  7. Removing the abuser does not improve the abused person’s condition – Explain.
  8. A comparison of domestic violence cases in Asia vs America
  9. Do children growing up in a domestically abusive household also exhibit such behaviour when they grow up?
  10. Explore the connection between domestic violence and cultural practices.
  11. “Domestic violence isn’t limited to physical bruises” – Explain.
  12. Why does the shame and fear of victim blaming keep people away from coming forward with their domestic abuse stories?

Qualitative Study Topics in Nursing

  1. Explore how the death of patients affects nurses’ mental health over the decades.
  2. Analyse the role of nurses in providing critical care during a global pandemic.
  3. Is there an increased chance of nurses suffering from mood swings and depressive episodes while treating patients suffering from clinical depression?
  4. Discrimination against nurses who have completed their degrees online in the healthcare industry post-COVID-19
  5. What steps do nurses take to treat patients suffering from life-threatening diseases?
  6. Analyse the ways nurses approach treating older patients.
  7. Nursing care systems followed in Australia to tackle high-risk pregnancies
  8. Do nurses recommend home-based birthing in a post-pandemic world?
  9. The role of nurses in providing psychological treatment to drug addicts
  10. A comparative analysis of the nursing healthcare system in the USA and Australia
  11. Pros and cons of embracing technology in the nursing field
  12. Relevance of evidence-based nursing practices in the 21stcentury

Qualitative Childhood Obesity Research Paper Topics

  1. Environmental factors leading to increased childhood obesity in the USA
  2. The role of the government in tackling rising cases of childhood obesity in third-world countries
  3. What role does advertisement play in increasing obesity in children?
  4. Childhood obesity: A global health problem and ways to tackle it
  5. Does early intervention reduce instances of childhood obesity?
  6. Health problems due to childhood obesity past the 40s
  7. Abused children tend to overeat – Analyse.
  8. The promotion of home-based exercises to counter childhood obesity
  9. The role of fast food chains in promoting unhealthy food
  10. Can parental negligence be considered a reason for increased childhood obesity cases?
  11. How does obesity in children affect their daily lives?
  12. Introduction of nutritional school lunches to counter childhood obesity

Qualitative Research Topics in Psychology

  1. Explore how group mentality affects individual decision-making.
  2. Analyse the psychology of young children encountering gun violence in the USA.
  3. Do children growing up in an abusive environment have trouble communicating with their peers?
  4. The psychological effect of miscarriages in young women
  5. Is the theory of Piaget still relevant after the developments in cognitive neuroscience?
  6. Explore the connection between social phobia and childhood trauma.
  7. Laughter is the best medicine– What is the relation between laughter and emotional health?
  8. Analyse why the number of cases of depression among women is more than that in men.
  9. The role of social media in provoking aggression among young adults
  10. Analyse the aftereffects of undergoing psychological abuse.
  11. What role does upbringing play in preventing disruptive behaviour in adults?
  12. Difference in ADHD symptoms in adults and young children

Qualitative Research Topics in Social Work

  1. The struggles of minority Asian groups in foreign countries post COVID-19
  2. The psychological damages of experiencing racial discrimination in universities
  3. The role of social workers in preventing substance abuse in adults
  4. Will the introduction of the death penalty prevent the rising number of crimes?
  5. Analyse the methods used to provide a nurturing atmosphere in foster care in the USA.
  6. A study into workplace violence in global corporations
  7. Explore the role of social workers in uplifting the standard of living in low-income communities.
  8. The role of social workers in caring for victims of domestic abuse
  9. The importance of introducing support groups for the LGBTQIA+ community
  10. Analyse the connection between single parenting and emotional neglect in children.
  11. How does dependency on alcohol affect the family structure in third-world countries?
  12. Common behaviours exhibited by students from dysfunctional families

Qualitative Research Topics in Public Health

  1. Analysis of the prevalence and treatment of AIDS in Kenya
  2. Explore the public health awareness programs adopted in Canada.
  3. Review the struggles that adults with eating disorders face in the USA.
  4. Is cognitive behaviour therapy the best option to deal with anxiety disorders?
  5. Analyse the quality of life experienced by immigrants in Mexico.
  6. The dangers of sharing food amidst the COVID-19 pandemic
  7. Explore the ethical issues involved with surrogacy.
  8. Review the mental health conditions in various communities after the COVID-19 pandemic.
  9. The role of influencers in endangering public health for social media engagement
  10. Analyse the emerging trends in the healthcare industry in Australia and their effects on public health.
  11. The role of the government in preventing water-borne diseases in the rural areas of India
  12. The consequences of a shortage of nurses in promoting better public health

Qualitative Research Topics on Bullying

  1. How does the anonymity provided by social media give rise to cyberbullying?
  2. Is suspending the accounts of those who partake in cyberbullying enough to reduce the growing cases of online bullying?
  3. Analyse the cases of workplace bullying in the USA.
  4. Is bullying related to racism? Analyse in relation to the bullying faced by minority communities in the UK
  5. Compare and contrast anti-bullying laws in educational institutes in Australia and the USA.
  6. Analyse the PTSD symptoms in victims of bullying.
  7. Does management not want to take responsibility for bullying cases on school grounds? Discuss in relation to various school responses to bullying
  8. Explore the culture of bullying in south-east Asian countries.
  9. What role do parents play in curbing bullying instances?
  10. The role of bullying in the prevention of emotional growth in victims
  11. Bullying of the Other: Analyse how people who don’t “fit into the norm” are bullied for their uniqueness
  12. Explore the long-term psychological effects of bullying on young adults.

Found some interesting qualitative research topics to explore? Well, don’t be hasty and pick whatever catches your eyes. Review the tips for choosing the best topic beforehand, and you’d be good to go.

Most Frequently Asked Questions By Students

What is qualitative research?

Answer: Qualitative research focuses on analysing descriptive data in order to interpret an individual’s interactions, beliefs, behaviour, feelings, and attitude. This type of research provides a subjective interpretation of sociological phenomena by exploring people’s varying perspectives on a particular topic.

What are some common topics for qualitative research?

Answer: Researchers generally use the qualitative approach to investigate topics where collecting numerical data won’t be beneficial. Therefore, some of the common topics where people conduct qualitative research include the following:

  • Nursing
  • Education
  • Psychology
  • Political science
  • Project management
  • Public health

How do you choose a qualitative research topic?

Answer: Choosing the right qualitative research topic is the key to composing a top-notch assignment. So, here are a few tips to choose the best option for you:

  • Ensure that you’re personally interested in the topic.
  • Check whether you have prior knowledge in the field.
  • Make sure the topic isn’t too broad or too narrow.
  • Double-check whether you have enough samples.

What are some methods for collecting qualitative data?

Answer: Most of the data collection for qualitative research papers is on-field, where you have to approach your sample to gather information. The common methods of collecting data include the following:

  • Interviews
  • Surveys
  • Focus groups
  • Case studies
  • Observational studies
  • Textual analysis
  • Open-ended questionnaires
  • Expert opinions

How do you analyse qualitative data?

Answer: The process of analysing qualitative data involves organising and interpreting the gathered information to identify recurring patterns or themes which can help you answer the research question. The five common data analysis methods include the following:

  • Narrative analysis
  • Discourse analysis
  • Content analysis
  • Grounded theory analysis
  • Thematic analysis

What are the advantages of qualitative research?

Answer: The advantages of qualitative research include the following:

  • Qualitative research is not bound by the restrictions of cold numbers. If a particular response doesn’t fit into the general consensus, you can include additional context to justify the response.
  • This research method captures changing consumer patterns and behaviour.
  • Since qualitative analysis requires a small sample size, you can save on research costs.
  • This method takes human experience into account.

What are the limitations of qualitative research?

Answer: The limitations of qualitative research include the following:

  • The results obtained cannot be used to form generalised opinions since the sample size is limited.
  • There is a higher chance of the presence of sample bias.
  • The quality of data collected depends on the researcher’s experience.
  • The results obtained can be misleading due to the lack of diversity in the research sample.

What are some ethical considerations in qualitative research?

Answer: The ethical considerations to keep in mind when conducting qualitative research are:

  • Ensure that the respondents participate voluntarily.
  • Maintain the confidentiality of participants who wish for anonymity.
  • Avoid involving participants in research that might lead to harm.
  • Ensure that your research does not plagiarise from other sources.
  • The research participants should be made aware of the purpose, benefits and risks of the study before they can agree.

What is the role of the researcher in qualitative research?

Answer: The researcher plays a crucial role in qualitative research. They are the instrument for data collection. In other words, their primary role involves conducting interviews, surveys, and observations to understand the participants’ thoughts and feelings regarding a particular issue. After collecting the data, the researcher finds patterns and themes to answer the research question.

How can qualitative research be used to inform policy and practice?

Answer: Policymakers prefer using qualitative research to gather more information about the policy contexts and gain valuable insights regarding programme implementation processes.

Meanwhile, in nursing practices, qualitative research helps nurses determine patient preferences and maintain their autonomy without resorting to protocols at every turn.

Harrison Walker

Hi, I am Harrison Walker. I am an avid traveller, a fiction blogger, and passionate writer. I hold a PhD degree in English literature and work as a full-time English essay expert for Over a span of 10 years, I have helped students from various universities with their essay writing requirements irrespective of the academic level and topics. I have written guest blogs for prominent academic writing sites that guide students on English essay and assignment writing. When I am not busy imparting knowledge, I am probably reading an impeccable piece of some classic literature or partying with my gang. 

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