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Section 1

Qualitative Narrative Inquiry Design: Problem, Purpose, and Research Questions

Sample Applied Doctoral Experience Narrative Inquiry Statement of the Problem

The problem addressed in this study is that inclusive classrooms may be missing consistent, collaborative learning opportunities for students with LD. Classrooms without consistent student collaboration may lead to disengagement and lower academic achievement (McGlynn & Kozlowski, 2016; Shernoff et al., 2017; Takeuchi, 2016). As the number of students with LD increases in inclusive classrooms, teachers may require strategies to meet students’ academic and social needs while collaborating with peers (Kuntz & Carter, 2019; McGlynn & Kozlowski, 2016; Morrison & Gleddie, 2019). (Cline, 2021).

Applied Doctoral Experience (ADE) Statement of the Problem Differences from the Doctoral Student Experience (DSE)

  • The statement of the problem must reflect a problem that is in alignment with the ADE requirements that focuses on the practical and professional benefits to the practice in an effort to resolve complex problems. 
  • An applied problem focuses more on the population impacted and what is known or not know about the specific problem
  • Relevant research about the problem can come from three or four current (normally within 5 years of publication) peer-reviewed sources to support the need for a specific problem to be researched 
  • The ADE program identifies a gap but it does not center on the gap. With the DSE program, the problem centers on a gap in the literature and generating new knowledge based on a theory or hypothesis.

Sample Applied Doctoral Experience Narrative Inquiry Purpose Statement

The purpose of this qualitative narrative inquiry is to collect stories and perceptions through thick, rich descriptions of the motivations of teachers who create and implement collaborative lessons for students with LD in inclusive classrooms. Research also included exploring teachers’ perspectives of collaboration for students with LD, their motivations, challenges encountered, and the actions or steps teachers perceive necessary to implement student collaboration in an inclusive classroom. A qualitative narrative inquiry design involves collecting experiences and personal explanations, which can lead to strategic and purposeful collective actions (O’Tool, 2018). (Cline, 2021).

Applied Doctoral Experience (ADE) Purpose Statement Differences from the Doctoral Student Experience (DSE)

  • The purpose statement of an ADE doctorate describes the practical application of how you are going to conduct your study to explore professional problems and application of your research.
  • A purpose may be specifically geared toward a class, school, college, university, or community rather than a broader application. 
  • In contrast, the purpose statement of a DSE degree in more in line with conducting your study using theory and research.

Sample Applied Doctoral Experience Narrative Inquiry Research Questions

The following research questions is used to guide the inquiry and understand teachers’ perspectives of their experiences in inclusive classroom settings:


What are teacher perceptions of integrating collaborative learning between students with LD and their peers in inclusive classrooms?


What steps do teachers perceive necessary to implement collaborative learning between students with LD and their peers in inclusive classrooms? (Cline, 2021)

What are not considered narrative inquiry research questions?

  • Research questions that are not conducive to producing stories 
  • Research questions that are too narrow without considering the participants all-encompassing life experience. 
  • Research questions that are “Yes” or “No” as they do not encourage exploration or discovery.
  • Multiple questions are embedded in one research question.

Applied Doctoral Experience (ADE) Research Questions Differences from the Doctoral Student Experience (DSE)

  • ADE research questions should indicate the exploratory and open-ended nature of the inquiry that is specific to either a practical application and/or professional problems that are aligned to the profession.
  • For DSE, research questions one of the main qualifiers is that it can produce knowledge that has the potential to make a significant theoretical contribution.
  • ADE research questions are not aiming at finding or creating generalized/transferable knowledge, although they may involve some (mainly descriptive) inference. 
  • By contrast, DSE research questions are written so that they may be generalized/transferable.
  • ADE research questions are asked simply because the researcher wants to solve a specific problem. 
  • ADE researchers target answering applied questions, using existing knowledge to solve a real-world problem in their profession.