Discussion 2: What Would You Like to Explore?

Is there a topic or idea that has been on your mind that you are thinking about for your dissertation or doctoral study? Is there a problem in your work or social sphere that you feel compelled to understand and act upon? Have you read a story or viewed a documentary and thought “I could do something like that”?

These are just a few of the ways Walden students become inspired to choose what they would like to study for their dissertation or doctoral study.

Once you have watched this week’s Scholar of Change video, you have the opportunity to reflect on how that student merged their academic studies with their passion for making a difference. In this Discussion, you have an opportunity to start that journey, to consider a topic you would like to explore.

For this Discussion, you will explore topics in your discipline of interest to you that you want to research using a qualitative approach.

To prepare for this Discussion:

Review the Learning Resources related to qualitative research.

Consider a topic in your discipline that is of interest to you. This could come from a prior course or something from your work or personal setting for which you have a passion.

By Day 4

Based on your initial understanding of qualitative research, post a descriiption of the topic you chose in terms of how it could be conceptualized as a qualitative study. Include:

What is the phenomenon of interest?

What experiences or contextual issues might influence how this phenomenon could be studied?

In what setting(s) could a topic like this be explored?

What connection do you have to this topic, and why do you think it is important to explore this as a qualitative study?

What possibilities could the results of this research have for social change?

Be sure to support your main post and response post with reference to the week’s Learning Resources and other scholarly evidence in APA style.

By Day 6

Respond to one of your colleagues’ posts and provide additional insight as to what other opportunities your colleague might want to explore further in their research.

Return to this Discussion in a few days to read the responses to your initial posting. Then, repost under your first post your reflections on your choice of topic. Would you like to adjust, re-direct, or start over?

Submission and Grading Information

Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:

Week 1 Discussion 2 Rubric

Post by Day 4 and Respond by Day 6

To participate in this Discussion:

Week 1 Discussion 2

Major Assignment 1: Overview: Developing a Research Topic for a Qualitative Study

Developing an idea for a research study is a process, where a topic of interest or social problem gets translated into a research problem that can be explored using accepted systematic procedures for recruiting participants, collecting data, and analyzing and interpreting results.

In this week’s Discussion, you considered what you might want to study. In your first Major Assignment, you will have the first-hand experience of translating that idea into a viable research problem that is a good fit for a qualitative approach. But, before you begin this Assignment, please consider the following concepts:

Ontology is defined as the assumptions one makes about the nature of reality. In qualitative studies, researchers assume that “reality” is constructed from personal experience and context.

Example: If four people see a car accident from different points of view, they will see it differently depending on their position (context) and personal experience.

So consider a topic where the experiences of participants will be one of your primary sources of data, and your “job” as a qualitative researcher is to do your best to understand your sources’ unique experiences.

Epistemology is defined as the assumptions one makes about the relationship between the researcher and the object of study.

Example: If the researcher collects survey data from an accident witness, it is different than if the researcher engages with the witness in person using an open-ended interview format.

So, consider a topic where you will be able to be part of the data gathering experience, and that your “job” as a qualitative researcher is to distinguish your experience from your sources.

A research problem emerges from an understanding of what prior research studies have found, and what, according to that body of literature, needs to be done next.

Thus, before you commit to a topic for this Assignment, it is essential to review published research studies on your topic.


The purpose of this Major Assignment is for you to gain experience in taking a topic of your interest and considering it as a possibility for a qualitative research study.

Major Assignment 1 is composed of three parts, as described further in the Overview and Assignment Guidelines document. You will work on one part each week, so that you can submit your Assignment at the end of Week 4. Your Instructor will provide feedback by Week 6. By Week 8, you will revise your Assignment based on the feedback from your Instructor, and you will also submit the revised Assignment.

For this week’s Assignment:

Review the expectations of the Major Assignment 1: Developing a Research Topic for a Qualitative Study Overview and Guidelines. (Note: Make sure you review it in its entirety before you begin.)

Review Discussion 2 to explore possible topics for this Major Assignment.

No Assignment submission due this week.

Submit your Major Assignment 1: Developing a Research Topic for a Qualitative Study by Day 7 of Week 4.

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