Library databases may provide research topics.

Choosing the right topic can make all the difference between a long, arduous research experience and a rewarding one. Use a qualitative approach to explore topics that you wish to subjectively describe in rich detail. A quantitative approach is better when investigating topics that can be objectively measured. In some situations, either approach can work depending on your research interests and purpose. For instance, the topic of gun control may studied qualitatively through in-depth interviews with people on both sides of the debate, or quantitatively by administering a closed-ended survey measuring how people voted on gun control legislation.

Descriptive Research Sample Titles

Examples of descriptive research sample titles are abundant in in the humanities. For instance, you might talk about “What are human rights?” or “What is visual iconography?” Ideas for topics may also be found from endowments, foundations and charitable trusts, such as the National Endowment for the Arts, and from most organizations that fund research. Questions like, “How do local workers interpret and make sense of career paths and obstacles in the cultural economy?” require a qualitative review of documentation, participant observation and interviewing. Questions like, “What is the relationship between the arts, entrepreneurship and innovation in the workplace?” A quantitative concentration on a small, finite number of variables is needed to describe current conditions and investigate relationships such as, “What is the relationship between the arts, entrepreneurship and innovation in the workplace?”

List of Qualitative Research Topics

Topics in the social sciences include, for example, abortion, immigration and marijuana legalization. Federal agencies may list topics as well as suggest approaches to research. The Army, for instance, may announce qualitative research grants to better understand the challenges service members face when returning home and reintegrating into the community. Exploratory verbs and phrases including “discover,” “seek to understand” and “report the stories” indicate that qualitative approaches are needed. Conversely, data driven topics such as divorce rates following deployment suggest quantitative research, often indicated by verbs and phrases like “effect,” “cause” and “correlate.”

List of Quantitative Research Topics

Science topics are common on the list of quantitative research titles that teacher often assign. Examples include such subjects as bioterrorism, environmental concerns, and nuclear energy. Mother Nature may guide topics, approaches to research and data collection. For instance, the National Science Foundation may sponsor a qualitative case study of reactions to a natural disaster that asks, “What happened? What was involved in response to the disaster? What themes emerged during the months that followed?” Exploratory data collection entails qualitative approaches that are inductive, holistic and process orientated. By comparison, explanatory data collection involves quantitative approaches that are deductive, focused and outcome orientated. For example, to determine the effectiveness of a disaster-relief program, a quantitative survey may compare approval ratings across various demographics.

Applied Research in Education

Examples of quantitative research in education can be found in topics related to standardized test scores, placement testing, and achievement gaps between inner city and suburban schools, for instance. Occupational, professional and trade associations may inform the research topics and objectives. The American Educational Research Association, for example, may fund research on effective teachers. To develop specific measures for future study, a qualitative researcher may observe student interactions, review lesson plans and interview teachers, principals and students throughout the year. By contrast, to identify one or more generalizable variables that characterize effective teachers, a quantitative researcher may analyze finite, standardized, numerical data.