How to Write a Qualitative Purpose Statement

Writing a qualitative purpose statement requires strong analytical skills.

A qualitative purpose statement in a research plan is an important step when you completing your master’s degree thesis or doctoral degree dissertation. The purpose statement allows you to clearly and concisely describe the intent of your qualitative study so that your reader can anticipate the information he will receive in your research report. Qualitative research involves capturing the complexity of behavior that occurs in natural settings, while the opposite goal of quantitative research is to collect data in the form of numbers. Write a qualitative purpose statement in about 100 words or less.

Describe the type of testing or method of inquiry you will use to do your qualitative research. State if you plan to perform an experiment or do a correlational analysis, the process of using statistical data to evaluate the extent of relations between variables. Explain if you will perform ethnographic research, a social science research method that depends on personal experience and participation rather than just observation.

Explain the purpose of the qualitative study you will perform. For instance, identify the variables you are testing and analyzing or the observable occurrences or phenomena you are striving to discover. Use words such as “discover,” “explore,” “develop” or “describe” regarding your research objective and indicate what is likely necessary to conduct the study. Foreshadow the hypotheses you will test or the questions your research will raise. Describe the significance of your study and how it will contribute to past research and existing knowledge on your research topic.

Name the setting and population of your qualitative study. For example, state that your research concerns employees working in a national restaurant chain or people with disabilities and their families. Describe how the researcher and participants will interact with one another in your study - if will they be observed, interviewed or asked to fill out a questionnaire, for example.

Expand on your primary qualitative study purpose by explaining additional purposes of your research. Describe extra variables related to these additional purposes as well as additional qualitative phenomena you want to discover. Reiterate the central concepts and ideas being studied.

  • Read over your qualitative purpose statement, making sure the statement is written in future tense so that you indicate what the purpose and variables "will be." Check for errors in spelling, grammar, usage and punctuation.

YaShekia King, of Indianapolis, began writing professionally in 2003. Her work has appeared in several publications including the "South Bend Tribune" and "Clouds Across the Stars," an international book. She also is a licensed Realtor and clinical certified dental assistant. King holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ball State University.