A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing an APA Essay on Qualitative Research Designs

Writing an essay in APA format about qualitative research designs can seem like a daunting task, but with a step-by-step guide, you can write a well-structured and informative essay. Qualitative research is a methodological approach used to gather data and gain insights into social phenomena, human behavior, and experiences. Unlike quantitative research that focuses on numerical data, qualitative research relies on collecting and analyzing non-numerical data such as interviews, observations, and documents.

To start your essay, begin with a title page that includes the title of your essay, your name, your affiliation, and the date. Make sure your title is concise and reflects the focus of your essay. Next, include an abstract that is a brief summary of your essay, including the purpose of your essay, the research question or topic, the research design you will be discussing, and the main findings or conclusions. Keep your abstract between 150-250 words.

Your essay's introduction should provide background information on the research topic and introduce the research design you will be discussing. It should also include a thesis statement that clearly states the purpose of your essay. In the body of your essay, organize it into sections that discuss the different qualitative research designs. Each section should begin with a clear heading that identifies the research design being discussed, such as "Case Study Design" or "Ethnographic Design." Within each section, provide a brief overview of the research design, its strengths and weaknesses, and examples of studies that have used this design. Make sure to cite your sources using APA format.

In your conclusion, summarize the main points of your essay and restate your thesis statement. Provide some final thoughts on the importance of qualitative research designs and their contributions to our understanding of social phenomena. Finally, include a reference list at the end of your essay that lists all the sources you cited in your essay. Make sure to follow APA format for the reference list, including formatting and citation rules.

There are various qualitative research designs, including Case Study Design, Grounded Theory Design, Ethnographic Design, Phenomenological Design, Narrative Design, and Participatory Design. Each design has its strengths and weaknesses, and researchers should carefully consider which design is best suited to their research question and objectives. By choosing the appropriate design and employing rigorous methods, researchers can generate rich, detailed data that can help us better understand human behavior and experiences.

In conclusion, writing an essay in APA format about qualitative research designs can be straightforward by following the step-by-step guide. It is essential to use headings and subheadings to help guide the reader through your essay and cite all sources using APA format. By doing so, you'll be able to write a well-organized and informative essay on qualitative research designs in APA format.

Qualitative Research Designs Essay APA Format Sample

Qualitative Research Designs

Unlike physicians, nurses focus not only on the necessity to treat a disease when working with patients but also the provision of care needed to satisfy their needs. In this context, it is vital for them to pay much attention to psychosocial care. Many people start feeling depressed or anxious when they become ill. However, the situation is even worse for oncology patients since they have to deal with constant pain and high risks of lethal outcome.

Hence, this assignment will be based on the analysis of the article that examines the discussed issue. In particular, a brief summary of the content will be provided, the research design will be explained, its appropriateness will be evaluated, ethical issues will be considered, and a comparison with a quantitative design will be made.

The article selected for the paper is “Psychosocial Care from the Perspective of Nurses Working in Oncology: A Qualitative Study” (2018) by Guner, P., Hicdurmaz, D., Yıldırım, N. K., & Figen İnci, F.

Summary of the Content

Guner et al. (2018) developed a qualitative research to specify n what way nurses who work with oncology patients perceive psychosocial care. The authors stated that unmet psychosocial needs are common among this group. To enhance the quality of care, they wanted to determine the reasons for this issue. In particular, attention was paid to the nurses’ views regarding the discussed type of care, obstacles that prevent professionals from benefiting clients, and their needs associated with the provision of psychosocial care.

When conducting an interview needed to determine professionals’ views, the authors focused on three main themes, such as “challenge, reward and cost, and essential but hard to define” (Guner et al., 2018, p. 70). In addition, seven sub-themes were identified for the first two groups revealing the nature of the disease: “ (1) a thin line between life and death; lack of team/institutional support; lack of time, staff, and knowledge; vulnerability of the patient and their family; (2) satisfaction; personal growth; exhaustion” (Guner et al., 2018, p. 70). Eventually, it was concluded that nurses had problems with the delivery of psychosocial care because they possessed only abstract understanding of it and faced difficulties with the identification of patients’ needs since their condition were subject to change.

Qualitative Research Design

The discussed research study is based on a qualitative descriptive research design. This approach is often used by researchers who investigate healthcare issues since they provide an opportunity to develop improvements for practice (Polit & Beck, 2017). In this particular case, the possibility to benefit oncology patients with the enhanced psychosocial care is discussed. Moreover, it allows considering the way nurses view and behaviors influence the outcome of unmet patient needs. However, the relationships between research variables are only hypothesized and described with no further analysis of their correlation. Guner et al. (2018) develop their hypothesis in the very beginning of the article on the basis of the information obtained from the literature review provided in the introduction of their paper. Their findings allow considering causation, which is beneficial for future studies that may be of quantitative design.

may be of quantitative design. Data for this study were collected with the help of interviews. Hence, it is possible to see that vast amounts of narrative descriptions are used along with few numbers that allow organizing data for the further discussion (Walker, 2011). The authors offer the rich description of causal relationships observed between nurses’ views, obstacles, and needs and the provision of psychosocial care.

Appropriateness of the Design

A qualitative descriptive research design properly meets the needs of Guner et al. (2018). First of all, its major goal is to enhance current practice, and the researchers tried to improve care provided to oncology patients by identifying what prevents nurses from meeting them. This type of study allows gathering evidence needed to support a particular hypothesis as the authors required it (Williamson, 2009). They were not able to use those designs that presupposed some comparison since they lacked basic information that identified what exact variables influenced the observed outcomes.

It is advantageous for Guner et al. (2018) to conduct a qualitative study because they focused on subjunctive information that was presented in a rather abstract way. People’s views can hardly be measured, and it explains the limitations of quantitative design. Moreover, nurses’ personal biases, perceptions, and understanding affected results significantly, and it was beneficial to gather as much descriptive information as possible to ensure that their ideas are perceived and interpreted in a proper way (Smith, Bekker, & Cheater, 2011). With the help of coding, the authors were able to identify themes and sub-themes that concerned nurses. This fact is significant because other approaches require focusing on all items identified by the participants while qualitative descriptive research integrates various perceptions according to their themes and sub-themes, which simplified further analysis greatly.

Ethical Issues

The research study developed by Guner et al. (2018) required gathering information during interviews with nurses. In this regard, human participants were involved in the study. According to the research guidelines, it is vital to obtain ethical committee approval to avoid associated issues (Houghton, Casey, Shaw, & Murphy, 2010). This document proves that the rights of all human beings are protected. In particular, it shows that nurses know all vital information about the study, such as its goal, methodology, and potential benefits for them and their practice. Guner et al. (2018) mentioned that Koc University Ethical Committee on Human Research had approved their research. Since nurses perform their duties in a healthcare facility, it was vital for researchers to obtain institutional approval as well, which was successfully performed. Hence, participants were additionally ensured that their work would not be adversely affected. Finally, the informed written consent is required to prove that all nurses agree to participate voluntary, and that they are aware of all associated advantages and disadvantages. The researchers mentioned that interviews provided their consent, which meant that they have focused on all ethical considerations connected with their study.

Differences Associated with the Use of a Quantitative Design

If a quantitative design had been used instead of qualitative, Guner et al. (2018) would not be able to discuss those variables that were associated with unmet psychosocial needs of oncological patients. It is possible that they would measure these variables to identify the most influential ones. However, the focus of the study would shift from causation to correlation in this case. Moreover, different methods would be needed to gather and analyze data. The use of measurement tools would be required and much attention would be paid to the narrative interpretation of the calculations, but not to the discussion of abstract and biased ideas. The initially developed hypothesis would likely to be proved or disproved not due to the findings of observations, but due to the statistical hypothesis testing.


Thus, it can be stated that the qualitative study developed by Guner et al. (2018) provides an opportunity to gather additional information on the ways nurses can improve psychosocial care provided to oncology patients. The design selected by the authors is appropriate for their research since it allows discussing the ways to benefit practice while revealing casual relationships between variables. The study covers all required ethical considerations successfully. If the quantitative design was used, it would be possible to reveal correlation between variables, but current research goal does not require such alterations.


Guner, P., Hicdurmaz, D., Yıldırım, N. K., & Figen İnci, F. (2018). Psychosocial care from the perspective of nurses working in oncology: A qualitative study. European Journal of Oncology Nursing, 34, 68-75.

Polit, D. F., & Beck, C. T. (2017). Nursing research: Generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice (10th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer.

Houghton, C. E., Casey, D., Shaw, D., & Murphy, K. (2010). Ethical challenges in qualitative research: Examples from practice. Nurse Researcher, 18(1), 15–25.

Smith, J., Bekker, H., & Cheater, F. (2011). Theoretical versus pragmatic design in qualitative research. Nurse Researcher, 18(2), 39–51.

Walker, W. (2011). Hermeneutic inquiry: Insights into the process of interviewing. Nurse Researcher, 18(2), 19–27.

Williamson, K. M. (2009). Evidence-based practice: Critical appraisal of qualitative evidence. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 15(3), 202–207.