How to Write Up Your Findings in Qualitative Research


Qualitative research findings are often rich, informative and plentiful. When carrying out research of this nature, the author will have asked lots of open-ended questions that are designed to garner a detailed response. However, when it comes to writing up your qualitative research, it can be difficult to know what is worth mentioning and what isn't, as well as how to organize it into a clear, coherent and logical order. The end aim of qualitative research is to provide your reader with an in-depth view of your research subject through your own experiment and findings, meaning that when you are writing up, it is important to keep it detailed but succinct, informative but interesting, and concise but critical.

Writing Up Your Qualitative Research

  • Plan your report first, before writing anything formally. Organize your work under the headings of 'Abstract', 'Introduction', 'Method', 'Analysis' and 'Discussion' which can sometimes be tied in with the analysis. Create a bullet-point plan of what you want to discuss under each of these headings.

  • Write your abstract as if you are writing it for a naive reader, someone who knows absolutely nothing about your subject. Summarize your study in a clear and succinct manner by discussing your area of study, its background and your aims.

  • Write your introduction by focusing on the rationale for your method. Discuss why you chose to study this area and why you chose to use your specific method. Identify any issues attached to your area of study, with regard to how you chose to tackle them and how they may affect your work.

  • Compose your method by compiling a clear, easy to understand list of instructions that detail exactly how you carried out your study. Focus your method from the starting point of how you developed your initial ideas, how you chose your sample and participants and who they were, how you carried out your study, and how you analyzed your findings.

  • Write your analysis section with a focus on writing discursively and with detail. Interpret your data while you present it to your reader.

  • Write your analysis section in such a way that it allows you to lead to your discussion section. Conclude your qualitative research by discussing your findings and their implications with regard to the issues you discussed in your introduction.

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