The purpose of this qualitative research topic list is to give students as well as professionals some guidance on how to formulate a good and valid topic for a qualitative research project.
Many students have no idea what qualitative research and it differs from quantitative. The main difference between the two is the nature of the data you might be getting after the data collection.
As a researcher, it is very important to understand the nature of your inquiry from the beginning. A seasoned researcher understands automatically the nature of data and the data analyses that will be conducted.
But if you are new in research endeavors, you may be stuck in the middle of dilemmas. You are not so sure what qualitative research really is and how you will construct the paper from the beginning to the end.
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Generally, qualitative and quantitative research have no significant difference in terms of the structure in the introduction section. As mentioned above, the difference is largely found in method sections as well as the result and discussion.
What is qualitative research?
It is important to note that quantitative and qualitative terms pertain to the nature of data, not the whole research. This is the technical aspect of research that every researcher has to know.
In qualitative research, the data is drawn from an interview or a series of interview sessions. The data, therefore, is in the form of a story. And from the participants’ story, you as a researcher will extract the theme.
In qualitative research, your main concern is not the story itself but the meaning of the story. This is what makes qualitative research difficult and complicated.
The common misconception is that most students settle with qualitative research because it does not require any statistical analysis. This is because most students don’t like numbers.
But qualitative research is more difficult and complicated than what most students think. It requires more time and even sleepless nights to extract the theme from the data. The problem is that, in most cases, the data analysis in this type of study is generally subjective. A story may mean anything. Thus, a researcher should spend a tremendous amount of time extracting the meaning of the story to make sure that the analysis is correct.
In contrast, quantitative research is straighter. The variables in quantitative studies are quantified and must be quantifiable. And the analysis is objectively done through statistical analysis procedures. The numbers will tell the meaning and the connection between variables under investigation.
This is a general contrast between these two research types. Always remember that when you hear qualitative or quantitative, what it really means is the nature of the data obtained. If your research aims to know a story through an interview (or other data gathering procedure), you are probably conducting qualitative research. But if you are planning to conduct research through survey questionnaires, you are probably doing quantitative research.
But how can you construct valid and correct qualitative research titles?
Here’s a thing. Whatever research endeavor you are in, you need one thing – a curious mind. Before you can find a good research topic, you have to have a question. By questioning, you’ll find the potential topic.
This sounds simple but it is not especially when you are a beginner. This is because not all of the topics you came up with your mind are valid qualitative research topics. So how will you come up with the correct ones?
Qualitative Research Topics List
In finding out whether or not the topic is indeed a qualitative research topic, you need to ask yourself this question: Will this topic give me the participants’ stories and experiences? If you are sure that it does, then your topic may be qualitative.
But how will you know that your topic is really a qualitative and not a quantitative? There’s a quick sign you need to know. The general indicator of qualitative research can be seen in the title. Most qualitative research starts with “how” and “why”.
If you see these words in the title, you have a pretty good chance that you are reading, or in your case, doing qualitative research. Why? Because most topics that start with how and why cannot be analyzed through statistics. The data is mostly drawn from interview sessions.
Take the following qualitative research topics list:
- Why some people attempt suicide?
- How people survive a traumatic experience?
- Why some people commit suicide? (this is different from the first)
- How persons with disabilities live their lives?
- How to develop a long-lasting relationship?
These questions are good qualitative research topics. However, if you pick one from this list, you need to narrow down the topic. The topics are pretty much general. Remember that in research, your goal is to explain a certain phenomenon. And no research which could answer all the questions you’ve come across. What you need is a tiny area to focus on.
Developing a good specific topic from the Qualitative Research Topics List
Try to pick one question from the list above and narrow it down. If you consider “why some people attempt suicide”, you can focus that question on a certain social group. For instance, if you are a student, you can focus on the suicide attempt incidence among students. So your title can be “why college students attempt suicide?”
Notice that the focus of the topic is more specific than the previous one. However, you can make this topic even more specific. When you say students, they can be classified according to their socio-economic status including sex, social status, college course, year level, etc.
Related: How to Write A Research Paper Fast
But you should remember that in choosing the topic, it is necessary to have a piece of scientific evidence that supports your choice. What I mean by this is that you always check previous studies on the area you want to study. The reason why you need to do this is to make sure that your topic is worth studying.
For instance, if you want to investigate why students commit suicide, you need to establish facts that such incident actually happens among students. Because if it does not happen, then why take such a topic? What is the importance of your study then? Always consider the importance of your topic. A good research paper is the one that answers a specific question that no one has done yet.
Most students find it difficult to construct a sound research topic. But it is not really hard. What you can do to speed up your project is to read a lot. Read journals online or in your school library. Then look at each published paper’s recommendation.
The common practice is that all published research papers have their authors’ recommendations at the end of the paper. Scan through the conclusion section. This is where the recommendations are listed.
Previous recommendations are a very important source of the topic. You’ll easily see the area that needs further research. It could be methodological issues or additional variables which were not tackled in the previous study. Recommendations are actually the authors’ suggestions for future research on the topic.
Considering the recommendations of previous studies do two things for you. First, it will help you construct a valid topic fast. Second, it makes sure that your topic is relevant and significant.
But there’s one thing you need to remember when you do this. See to it that you are reading recent studies. In practice, it is better to read journals published in the last 3-5 years. This makes sure that the topic is not outdated. If you base your topic on paper recommendations published ten years ago, it is likely that the topic had already been taken. In research, repetition is not good unless you have a profound reason to do so.
Here you go. You have our quick qualitative research topics list. This is a general guideline on how to construct your topic. In future articles, we will discuss the other processes you need to undergo to finish a research paper.
We will also be talking about the nature of quantitative research, the data analyses of both research types, the result and discussion sections, conclusion, and the recommendation.
See you next time. We hope that this qualitative research topic list will help you in your journey as a researcher.
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