A Front-to-Back Guide to Writing a Qualitative Research Article

How to Do Qualitative Research

research question? Do the ndings actually incorporate all the types of data you

have noted in the methods? Are the research motivations in the introduction

actually realized as theoretical contributions or practical implications in the


Editing: Format your article, including the tables, gures and references, to the

journal’s style sheet. This may take several days the rst time you do it. If you can

afford it, hire a professional to edit your manuscript. Professional editors offer a

range of services from relatively major “developmental” or “substantive” editing

to relatively minor “copy editing” and “proofreading”. All of these services are

much faster and more affordable than you might imagine. Search online for

“editing services”.

Friendly reviews: Send your manuscript to at least three to ve friendly reviewers

for feedback, not all at once, but in stages, as you keep rening your manuscript.

Contrary to popular belief, friendly reviewers need not be senior scholars in your

eld. In fact, PhD classmates, junior scholars in your eld and non-academic

friends can all be excellent friendly reviewers. Wherever you turn, seek diverse,

tough and nit-picky readers as reviewers. You can certainly disregard

idiosyncratic feedback that does not ring true for you, but if two or more friendly

reviewers indicate a similar concern, then do take their concern seriously.

You are ready to submit your manuscript. Good luck!


Belk, R., Fischer, E. and Kozinets, R.V. (2013), Qualitative Consumer and Marketing Research,

Sage, London.

Denzin, N.K. and Lincoln, Y.S. (2011), The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research, Sage,

Thousand Oaks, CA.

Golden-Biddle, K. and Locke, K. (1993), “Appealing work: an investigation of how ethnographic

texts convince”, Organization Science, Vol. 4 No. 4, pp. 595-616.

Golden-Biddle, K. and Locke, K. (2007), Composing Qualitative Research, Sage, Thousand Oaks,


Locke, K. and Golden-Biddle, K. (1997), “Constructing opportunities for contribution: structuring

intertextual coherence and ‘problematizing’ in organizational studies”, Academy of

Management Journal, Vol. 40 No. 5, pp. 1023-1062.

Spiggle, S. (1994), “Analysis and interpretation of qualitative data in consumer research”, Journal

of Consumer Research, Vol. 21 No. 3, pp. 491-503.

Whetten, D.A. (1989), “What constitutes a theoretical contribution?”, Academy of Management

Review, Vol. 14 No. 4, pp. 490-495.

Yin, R.K. (2010), Qualitative Research from Start to Finish, Guilford Press, New York, NY.

Corresponding author

Ahir Gopaldas can be contacted at: agopaldas@fordham.edu

For instructions on how to order reprints of this article, please visit our website:


Or contact us for further details: permissions@emeraldinsight.com


Writing a




Downloaded by Mr Ahir Gopaldas At 14:31 10 January 2016 (PT)

  • NV

    «This article provides me valuable information regarding qualitative research approach and gives me a clear picture

    in conducting qualitative research.»…» more

  • «Thanks for sharing! I loved reading this.»

  • PE

    Patricia Eruemu

    Apr 13, 2016

    «I actually enjoyed the step-by-step explanation of how to do qualitative research. I’ve had to do research in the

    past. I’ve always had issues with analyzing my data, but the explanation on coding really gave me a new insight.»…» more

  • RN

    Rakel Ngulube

    Aug 23, 2017

    «It has helped me so much on the current assignment I’m working on, how I would carry out research in my workplace

    using a qualitative paradigm.»…» more

  • MA

    Mhorshed Alam

    Dec 23, 2018

    «Your concepts are fantastic, and I do believe that it will help me a lot to continue my research. Thanks from

    Bangladesh!»…» more

  • GC

    «This article helps a lot for me to know everything about qualitative research; before I didn’t have any idea. »

  • SG

    «This article saved me a lot of time while preparing for exams. Easy language and a complete answer, thanks.»

  • «I’m browsing about my assignment and this wikiHow article helped me with its complete details. Thanks!»

  • HS

    «The article helped in identifying the qualitative research designs, as I was confused about them.»

  • LH

    «Easy to understand for first timers, like myself, who are doing research as part of a course.»

  • «Thanks, this helped with my understanding of qualitative research. Small, succinct points.»

  • BN

    Brenda Nambala

    Apr 28, 2017

    «It was very helpful and informative. It was precise and straight to the point! Thanks!»

  • «Gained knowledge about qualitative research. Thanks to all. »

  • «This article was brief, to the point, and extremely clear.»

  • NS

    Nockins Sedah

    Oct 16, 2017

    «Formulating my project plan document with so much ease.»

  • DP

    Dr. Vaibhav Pathak

    Aug 8, 2016

    «It was great to read this article, helped me a lot.»

  • BF

    Bilikis Fagbemi

    Apr 13, 2016

    «Very informative, analytical, and comprehensible.»

  • DG

    «It has been of a great deal of help to me.»

  • ES

    «Very helpful and to-the-point content.»

  • «It very simple and understandable. »

  • JK

    «Easy explanation of the process.»

  • SS

    «Helped me prepare for my exam.»

  • BN

    Brenda Nambala

    Apr 28, 2017

    «Very helpful and informative!»

  • AK

    Ama Fremah Koranteng

    Apr 18, 2016

    «Everything really helped me.»

  • Analysis

    The process of analysis should be made as transparent as possible (notwithstanding the conceptual and theoretical creativity that typically characterises qualitative research). For example

    • How was the analysis conducted
      • How were themes, concepts and categories generated from the data
      • Whether analysis was computer assisted (and, if so, how)
      • Who was involved in the analysis and in what manner
    • Assurance of analytic rigour. For example
      • Steps taken to guard against selectivity in the use of data
      • Triangulation
      • Inter-rater reliability
      • Member and expert checking
      • The researcher’s own position should clearly be stated. For example, have they examined their own role, possible bias, and influence on the research (reflexivity)?

    Fitness for purpose

    Are the methods of the research appropriate to the nature of the question(s) being asked, i.e.

    • Does the research seek to understand social processes or social structures {amp}amp;/or to illuminate subjective experiences or meanings?
    • Are the settings, groups or individuals being examined of a type which cannot be pre-selected, or the possible outcomes not specified (or hypothesised) in advance?

    Methodology and methods

    • All papers must include a dedicated methods section which specifies, as appropriate, the sample recruitment strategy, sample size, and analytical strategy.

    Principles of selection

    Qualitative research is often based on or includes non-probability sampling. The unit(s) of research may include one or a combination of people, events, institutions, samples of natural behaviour, conversations, written and visual material, etc.

    • The selection of these should be theoretically justified e.g. it should be made clear how respondents were selected
    • There should be a rationale for the sources of the data (e.g respondents/participants, settings, documents)
    • Consideration should be given to whether the sources of data (e.g people, organisations, documents) were unusual in some important way
    • Any limitations of the data should be discussed (such as non response, refusal to take part)

    The research process

    In most papers there should be consideration of

    • The access process
    • How data were collected and recorded
    • Who collected the data
    • When the data were collected
    • How the research was explained to respondents/participants

    Research ethics

    • Details of formal ethical approval (i.e. IRB, Research Ethics Committee) should be stated in the main body of the paper. If authors were not required to obtain ethical approval (as is the case in some countries) or unable to obtain attain ethical approval (as sometimes occurs in resource-poor settings) they should explain this. Please anonymise this information as appropriate in the manuscript, and give the information when asked during submission.
    • Procedures for securing informed consent should be provided

    Any ethical concerns that arose during the research should be discussed.

    Presentation of findings

    Consideration of context

    The research should be clearly contextualised. For example

    • Relevant information about the settings and respondents/participants should be supplied
    • The phenomena under study should be integrated into their social context (rather than being abstracted or de-contextualised)
    • Any particular/unique influences should be identified and discussed

    Presentation of data:

    • Quotations, field notes, and other data where appropriate should be identified in a way which enables the reader to judge the range of evidence being used
    • Distinctions between the data and their interpretation should be clear
    • The iteration between data and explanations of the data (theory generation) should be clear
    • Sufficient original evidence should be presented to satisfy the reader of the relationship between the evidence and the conclusions (validity)
    • There should be adequate consideration of cases or evidence which might refute the conclusions

    Amended February 2010

    Like this post? Please share to your friends:
    Essay's Help