A qualitative research paper summarizes a study of human behavior based on observing a sample group. These papers are structured differently than other research papers to ensure that the researchers and writers do not include biases in their interpretations of the study.
To prevent prejudice, qualitative research papers generally include five components: goals, conceptual framework, research questions, methods and validity. Goals define the research problem without revealing any anticipated outcomes of the study. Researchers explain the value of the study, the problem being clarified and any practices or policies affected. The conceptual framework describes any theories or previous research that will influence the study being conducted. Any prior research referenced should include quantitative information if applicable. Research questions address the specific issues intended to be addressed by the study. If more than one question is presented, it should be explained how they relate to one another.
Methods can be explained in terms of structured or unstructured approaches. Structured approaches guarantee that data is equal throughout all study subjects. This is helpful if questions arise about study responses. Unstructured approaches are useful when attempting to explain specific variations in the study. Validity involves explaining any potential flaws in the results. It must also include how any possible misinterpretations of the data should be handled.