Qualitative Research Paper Instructions

In the Argument Essay, you conducted academic research on your topic.  You likely read about studies, theories, and both current and historical events that influence your topic.  This depth of knowledge, gained from written sources, has been integral in forming your understanding and developing your position on the topic.  However, to really understand your topic, it is also important to discuss the topic with those involved within it.  This is where qualitative research comes in.

Qualitative research adds the human story to the topic. It answers questions about people’s beliefs and actions. It relies on field research that you will conduct yourself, in the form of an interview, to add a human element to the body of research you have already collected and will continue to collect through secondary sources. 

To successfully complete the qualitative research paper, follow this step-by-step process that includes assignments built into the next few weeks of class:

  1. Continue working with the same topic from the argumentative paper, but push the topic into a new direction.  
  2. Consult 5-7 sources that explore the debate or problem from a variety of different perspectives (you’ll complete another annotated bibliography to show your work here).  You will be able to carry over sources from your first paper, as long as they are still useful and relevant.  Note: at this stage, it is expected that all of your sources represent credible voices and information within the topic (academic, scholarly, professional).
  3. Formulate a new research question that:
    • addresses an aspect of the topic of which you have not yet found a conclusive answer
    • is open-ended
    • is about what people think, feel, or do
      *Think about what you still wanted to know at the end of the Argumentative Essay writing process and use those ideas to form your new research question.
  4. Find someone to interview whose experience or expertise will help you answer that question.
  5. Write a qualitative research paper that explains how your interview helped you answer your research question.  Use the “How to Organize a Qualitative Research Paper”Preview the document document for help with organizing this paper.

Assignment Requirements

Review the Qualitative Research Paper Rubric herePreview the document.

*While an interview is required for this paper, you may decide to utilize other forms of qualitative research, such as conducting observations, focus groups, or multiple interviews.

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