In summary, a qualitative research question mainly focuses on “W” questions; distributions across or within large populations are of lesser importance and often cannot be examined due to the nature of qualitative research itself. The question should not be too broad, but also not too narrow. And you should be able to examine it at all. A prerequisite is that you can gain access to the field. You may have formulated a perfect qualitative research question, if putting it into practice requires talking to all ministers in your country and you do not have the right connections, your project cannot be realized. Before you continue to invest a lot of time and effort in a research idea, check out whether you can find participants. Talking to pupils in schools often takes a long process of getting permissions from the school board; you cannot just go to a schoolyard and talk to kids there. Military institutions are another case, where you need to adhere to specific procedures to be allowed access. Recently some students wanted to interview people that have converted to Islam, but were not able to find individuals that were willing to participate. Others were interested in people that are addicted to sports; they ended up changing their topic as they did not manage to get contact with such persons. In qualitative research terms, they could not access the field. Thus, there are not only institutional hurdles to overcome. It is probably easiest to find participants for your research, when the research question is based on your personal background or related to your social context. In other cases it is not impossible, but more difficult.
In the part of Lærd Dissertation that deals exclusively with Route #3: Theory-driven dissertations , which we will be launching shortly, we introduce you to these three routes (., Route A: Testing , Route B: Combining and Route C: Building ), before helping you choose between them. Once you have selected the route you plan to follow, we use extensive, step-by-step guides to help you carry out, and subsequently write up your chosen route. If you would like to be notified when this part of Lærd Dissertation becomes available, please leave feedback .
Most universities offer comprehensive guidelines in their dissertation manuals about how to set up and organize the dissertation and the proposal. In the Social Sciences, most dissertations are organized into four or five chapters. However, there are many variations on the nature of these chapters, and the details are left up to the discretion of the Dissertation Committee. In the Social Sciences, the dissertation proposal generally consists of the first three chapters (in a five-chapter format) or the first two chapters (in a four-chapter format).