Research Paper Purpose Statement Examples

, Staff Writer
Updated January 30, 2020
Students collaborating in library
    Students collaborating in library
    Klaus Vedfelt / DigitalVision / Getty Images
    Used under Getty Images license

When you’re doing academic research, it’s important to define your purpose. That is where a purpose statement comes in. It clearly defines the objective of your qualitative or quantitative research. Get the details on a research purpose statement and how to create one through unique and real-world examples.

What Is a Purpose Statement?

If you think about the words “purpose statement,” it really tells you what it is. In a research paper, a purpose statement tells you what the purpose of the research will be. In a sentence or two, it clearly defines the direction, reason or goals for the research being conducted.

Making a Purpose Statement

A purpose statement will clearly define what is being explored or studied, how it is being explored and where it is being explored. You will typically see quantitative research purpose statements, which focus on comparing measurable variables, or qualitative research purpose statements, which explore a central phenomenon. Examine how these are different through examples.


Qualitative Research Purpose Statement Examples

Qualitative research purpose statements will present a clear purpose or intent, and study a specific idea. The data is descriptive in nature, rather than focusing on countable, numerical figures. Additionally, you’ll clearly see how and where the learning will take place. The examples clearly define this.


The present article describes a qualitative study of the career development of 18 prominent, highly achieving African American Black and White women in the United States across eight occupational fields. Our aim in the study was to explore critical influences on the career development of these women, particularly those related to their attainment of professional success.

In this psychological research purpose statement, the author is using a qualitative purpose statement. Not only does the author present right away that this will be a qualitative study, but the purpose statement focuses on one idea or concept. The author also uses the action word “explore” to explain how they will learn from the study, in addition to breaking down who will be in the study and where the research will take place.



The purpose of this qualitative study is to discover four genetic factors of aggression of female lions in the Atlanta zoo. The study aims to understand critical influences that affect this aggression through DNA analysis.

The use of the action word “discover” along with the study of a single phenomenon make this a clear qualitative study. The strategy for how the study will be conducted and where it will take place are broken down clearly.

Quantitative Research Purpose Examples

Unlike a qualitative research purpose statement, quantitative purpose statements explore how numerical variables relate or correlate with one another. These purpose statements will define the objective or intent, clarify the variables and outline where the research will take place. Check out the format of this type of research statement through examples.



This study had two purposes: (a) to examine the possible predicting abilities of socioeconomic status, per pupil expenditures, percentage of highly qualified teachers and attendance rates for on-time educational attainment in the state of Virginia and (b) to compare the Appalachian School Divisions of Virginia with the non-Appalachian school divisions for each of these variables.

This sociology paper offers a good example of a quantitative research purpose statement. Not only does the author break down what is going to be studied, but also the different variables that will be looked at. In this case, socioeconomic status, pupil expenditures and attendance, to name a few, are the attributes being recorded. They also discuss where the study will take place.



The purpose of this study is to evaluate a relationship that might exist between oxidative balance and clinical features of PKU and MSUD patients in a South Alabama research facility. The oxidative DNA damage markers and amino acid plasma of 20 controls, 22 MSUD and 40 PKU patients were measured.

This quantitative purpose statement discusses the variables, participants and research site. It connects the independent and dependent variables in the first sentence to clarify for the reader the intention and goals of the study. It also breaks down the variables and how they will relate to one another.

A Unique Purpose

You might be wondering how a research paper purpose statement is different from a problem statement, thesis statement or research question.

  • In a problem statement, you identify the need for the research because you have identified a problem that needs to be studied. It is the first step, before creating your purpose statement.
  • A thesis statement is unique from a purpose statement in that it makes a prediction of the study. A purpose statement, on the other hand, just provides readers with your goals. It doesn’t make any assertions of what the study may find or conclude.
  • Research questions are guided by your purpose statement. Using your goals, you can further modify what you want your research to answer through your research questions. When crafting your research questions, it is important to remember what makes a good research question and what doesn’t.

Creating a Purpose Statement

When creating your own purpose statement, there are a few things that you will want to keep in mind:

  • Clearly define your study as quantitative or qualitative.
  • Use words to clarify your intent like “explore” or “compare.”
  • Clearly define how the research will take place.
  • Discuss who or what will be researched.
  • Clarify where the research will take place.

Defining Your Purpose

When you’re doing research, it is important to define your purpose. Whether you’re testing genes or looking at behavior, you need to clearly define the aim of your research. To help you on your way to graduate writing prowess, it is important to perfect your academic writing skills.