Qualitative research is a combination of data gathering and theory generation based on observation, interviews and other interactions with subjects in social settings, according to social science researcher Earl Babbie. Qualitative research may also include document analysis and historical research. Most qualitative research is focused on the social sciences such as sociology, psychology and anthropology. The subjects can be defined according to the specific discipline, then by specialty within this discipline. It is useful to select topics for research with specific parameters that can help you design your study. Choosing a topic that interests you and can also motivate you to conduct research properly.
Sociology is a broad discipline with many specializations. Decreasing the specialization that interests you is a good starting point. Popular sociology specializations include marriage and family, poverty, race and ethnic relations, aging and immigration. Selecting a topic within one of these specializations requires a specific focus. For example, if you choose to investigate marriage and family, more specific topics within this specialty would be an analysis of different paternity skills or examine the relationship between divorce rates and the economy.
The study of psychology generally has to do with the behavior of individuals in different environments as well as the effect of mental abnormalities and diseases in the individual. Concentrate on a certain area of psychology, such as human development over the lifetime, mental illnesses such as depression and bipolar disorder or abnormal behavior such as social isolation. You can also create themes based on a combination of psychological areas. Then create a more specific definition of your topic, such as “The relationship between exposure to media violence and behavior of deviance among adolescents.”
Anthropology focuses on the study of humans in a wide range of areas. In order to choose a qualitative subject in this field, it is important to choose an area to focus on since both differ greatly. The two basic subfields of anthropology are biological anthropology and cultural anthropology. Biological anthropology includes human paleontology and human variation. Cultural anthropology includes the study of languages, archeology and ethnography. Ethnography is a common qualitative issue among anthropological researchers as it accompanies a general study of human culture. One idea of the topic in ethnography might be, for example, “How has Western culture influenced the eating habits of families in developing nations?”
Availability of data
The chosen topics can be influenced by the availability of the data. Choose topics that would allow you to realistically gather data you need in the time you have allowed. For example, choosing the anthropological theme “How the relationships between parents and children in ancient Egypt differ from those of modern Western culture” may require extensive historical research in addition to current research. This means that you would need access to an adequate number of historical studies, as well as the ability to conduct your own research on parent-child relationships. Although this information is available, this would be an extremely long study and a poor choice for a school task, you would need access to the minor details, which although possible, require additional work such as obtaining institutional permission.