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The written introduction consists of five parts for which a

The written introduction consists of five parts for which a separate paragraph can be devoted for your introduction. 

1. State the research problem.

2. Review studies that have addressed the problem.

3. Indicate deficiencies in the studies.

4. Advance the significance of the study fro particular audiences.

5. State the purpose statement. 

The Purpose Statement

  • Indicates why you want to do the study and what you intend to accomplish
  • Conveys the overall intent of a proposed study in one sentence or several sentences
  • Sets forth the intent of the study

We distinguish the purpose statement from the problem (i.e., the need for the research) and the research questions


  • Contains information about the central phenomenon explored in the study, the participants, and the research site
  • Conveys than emerging design
  • Basic design features for the qualitative purpose statement
    • Set the statement off as a separate sentence or paragraph and use words such as purpose, intent, or objective
    • Focus on a single phenomenon by narrowing the study to one idea to be explored
    • Use action verbs such as understand, develop, explore, examine the meaning of, generate, or discover to convey how learning will take place
    • Use neutral words and phrases
    • Provide a general definition of the central phenomenon or idea; this gives the reader a general sense of the central phenomenon so that they can better understand the study
    • Includes words explaining the strategy of inquiry to be used in data collection (ethnographic, grounded theory, case study, etc.)
    • Mention the participants in the study
    • Identify the site
    • Include the delimitation on the scope of participants or research sites


Qualitative researchers do not pose objectives or hypotheses. The qualitative researcher asks one or two central questions

  • A broad question asked for an exploration of the central phenomenon or concept in a study
  • The question is posed consistent with the emerging methodology of qualitative research

The qualitative researcher also asks several associated sub-questions. Sub-questions narrow the focus of the study but leave open the questioning

  • The researcher asks no more than 5–7 sub-questions
  • The sub-questions become specific questions used during interviews (or in observing or when looking at documents)

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