Social scientists such as sociologists, psychologists and anthropologists use qualitative research studies to draw conclusions about a human or social problem related to their respective fields. As the subject of social scientists fundamentally resists quantification, qualitative research studies are a way to interpret behavior or attitudes. The introduction of a qualitative research study is meant to open up the report in a way that simultaneously provides an overview of the report’s conclusions as well as draws a reader into the details of the report.

Step 1

Open your introduction with a statement related to the human or social problem your qualitative research study investigates. Some reports employ attention-grabbing, rhetorical methods for opening the report, such as a provocative quotation, a startling statistic or an amusing or profound anecdote. Other reports simply address the problem explicitly, opening with a statement along the lines of, “this report investigates” or “this reports seeks to know.”

Step 2

Outline the investigative methods you employed in gathering the data in your report. Distinguish between quantitative methods, such as surveys and physiological testing, and qualitative methods, such as interviews and analyses of surveys.

Step 3

Explain any and all conclusions you anticipated reaching as well as a general overview of the conclusions you were able to reach.

Step 4

Articulate the ways in which your research study advances new conclusions or confirms established conclusions, as well as how it enters into the research dialogue of the field.