What is a Qualitative Research Paper?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2019
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A qualitative research paper is a document that presents information that goes beyond the basic understanding of a topic. To create this type of document, a person will be required to use many of the same skills as she would when composing any type of research paper. There will, however, typically be additional demands, including critical thinking skills and additional time. Successful completion of a qualitative document usually also requires employing a variety of research and investigative methods.

The assigning of research papers can be done with many goals. Perhaps the aim is to educate the writer on a topic, to strengthen her writing skills, or to evaluate her research skills. A qualitative research paper is generally assigned with the aim of requiring broader, more in-depth thought. A successful paper of this type typically cannot stop or be limited to the same approach as other documents on the same topic. The writer is generally required to ask new questions, arrive at a common conclusion using unique methods, or to develop new theories.


Qualitative research papers generally have demands that may not be necessary for another type of research paper. One of them is critical thinking. Much of the information that circulates in society is regurgitated. People often focus more on the source, popularity, and sensationalism of information than they do on the facts on which that information is based. A qualitative research paper prevents this from happening because the writer is generally required to display that she composed the paper from an angle with a degree of skepticism or extraordinary inquisitiveness.

To complete such an assignment, a person is required to dig deeper and generally she must employ several research and investigative tactics for a single assignment. When a person writes a qualitative research paper, she generally needs to investigate information already considered factual. Even if that information can be confirmed, she may have the responsibility of determining why those circumstances exist and which factors can influence them. She may also have to investigate the effects of those circumstances.

A person who has to write this type of research paper should expect to spend more time composing it than she would composing other types of research papers of the same length. A qualitative research paper, when properly composed, can accomplish several things. To begin with, it can provide new insight on a topic that is viewed as thoroughly covered. It can expose errors and provide truths to common misconceptions. Furthermore, such a document can reveal the lack of evidence underlying claims from what appeared to be reputable sources.


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