Qualitative research is a popular research method mostly used by researchers in the social sciences and humanities. In this article, we will discuss 4 tips on writing qualitative research.
What Is Qualitative Research?
Qualitative research is the process of analyzing non-numerical data to improve our understanding of certain events, opinions, experiences, and concepts. It allows us to generate new ideas for research and gather in-depth insights.
In qualitative research, our goal is to study the nature of a phenomenon. We must identify its various manifestations, quality metrics, and relevant context. This type of research includes data in the form of words instead of numbers.
4 Tips on Writing Qualitative Research
Acing qualitative research is difficult, perhaps because it compels us to solely rely on our intellect and comprehension instead of numerical calculations. Here are a few tips that can help you write more effective qualitative research papers.
Highlight Main Takeaways Clearly
Many times, researchers are so focused on subtle nuances of a subject that they fail to highlight the main message of their studies. As a result, readers must toil hard to gather the main takeaways from the research paper.
Researchers must understand that all mainstream journals require qualitative research that conveys a concise, clear, and strong message. Papers that lack a clear message are rejected by reviewers.
Having a separate section for main takeaways is not enough. Researchers should consider conveying the main message through the research title, as well. For instance, a title such as “Nursing during a Global Pandemic: A Qualitative Research on How Meditation Improves Nurse Performance” clearly highlights the main message of the research. Titles like these create little doubt in the reader’s mind.
Pay Attention to What You Are Writing
Writers leverage different styles and genres, from romances, literary works, and poetry to crime stories, science fiction, and mysteries. Just as writers must modify their approach according to each genre, researchers too must change their approach based on what they are writing.
Research papers, journal reviews, grant applications, editorials, textbooks, and dissertations all demand special conventions, structural norms, expectations, and language. As an academic, you must write documents based on the relevant ‘genre’ you are writing for.
Identify to Whom You Write
The best writers have the ability to envision their audience and tailor content accordingly. Some of the best qualitative research focus on their readers, who may be government policy makers, patients, practitioners, or other researchers.
Your research paper needs to be written in a language that your reader understands. For instance, if the research concerns business leaders, it’s best to minimize technical jargon and use business-related terms in your study to improve its readability.
Likewise, if the paper is directed at other experts or academics of the same field, explaining relatively simple processes in detail could be counter intuitive. Researchers must find a balance between delving into too many details and not defining enough. Such discrimination can be difficult since readers of qualitative research often belong to a wide variety of disciplines.
As a researcher, it’s your job to accurately identify the target audience. You must ask yourself what concerns the audience may have with your work, which questions are they most interested in, and which issues are most relevant to them.
Connecting with the audience is not enough if you can’t put forward a persuasive argument. We can effectively engage and influence readers only through persuasion. Effective persuasion is grounded upon three main principles: logos, ethos, and pathos.
- Ethos: appeals to a reader’s emotional sensibilities
- Logos: argues with readers through logic and reason
- Pathos: convinces readers through moral credibility and emotional authenticity.
To write a compelling research paper, you must leverage either or all three of these elements. In qualitative research, writers don’t have the luxury of using numerical data as evidence. Therefore, writers must carefully construct arguments to gain the reader’s attention.
For instance, asking rhetorical questions is a great way to reel readers into an argument. Simply put, a rhetorical question is a question that makes a point rather than extracting an answer. A question like “Wouldn’t it be better if we ensure safety frontline workers?” could be a great starting point on discussing measures to improve Covid-19 awareness.
Writing persuasive qualitative research is challenging, considering that you must form arguments not with numerical evidence but verbal acumen. Consider our professional editing services to ensure your qualitative research is optimized for your audience.