All of us encountered the term research limitations at least once in academic paper writing. Usually, we interpret it as something bad. However, when it comes to your studies, restraints can actually become a positive thing. We have written an article about limitations in research which would explain not only what the limitations are, but also how to use them in your study.
What are the limitations in research?
Limitations in research are restrictions and constraints which have been put on your methodology of study and exploration process in general. Unfortunately, many researchers don’t work with restraints and ignore them. They do so because they feel like if they do actually determine some of the limitations, their work will not be valued as much. Limitations depend on the different types of research design. Of course, this is not the true cause. Every study should have its limits. If you want your work to be accurate, the research limitations section should be a must-have for your study. The truth is that each study has its flaws and negative sides, but this fact does not ultimately make writing your case study worse. Here are the key rules you should follow:
- Acknowledge the research limitations of your study before someone else does.
- Remember: problems and flaws can actually give you a chance to continue and develop your studies. You might get questions without any answer, and to get them, you need to know which restraints you had in a previous paper.
- Mentioning limitations can actually show your skills of critical analysis. During your research, you go through a lot of literature, i.e. literature review and experiments. When you come up with not only observations but also understanding of the flaws of your study, you take a step towards making your paper better.
Types of limitations in research
To know what to look for, here is a list of common limitations in research you might encounter.
- Sample size/sample bias. For example, let’s say 100 hundred people should participate in your survey. Each person may give you individual results, but it does not mean that the same results belong to the whole population.
- Access to data. You will not always be able to go through all the resources. You can’t gather all the data you want for your research since it will take a lot of time. Because of it, your work might not cover each aspect.
- Lack of time. Often deadlines are the reason why your study and research might not be complete. When we get a task, we have a limited amount of time to do it. To get a good grade, we need to submit the assignment prior to the deadline.
- Financial resources. Sometimes we need some equipment or additional software to conduct the research. This might be a problem since we don’t always have the sum we need.
- Data collection. There are different ways to collect data: interviews, surveys, questionnaire, etc. The way you collect data might be a real limitation since the answers and the results vary.
- Method. When you are finding new information, you use a specific research method and research methodology. Different methods give you various opportunities. Quality of the datum you get often depends on the method you choose.
Best tips on organizing study limitations
Here are some tips on how to organize a discussion about research limitations for your studies.
- Identify the restraints of your work. What are the limitations that affected your study? How did they influence your conclusion? Answer these questions and come up with the review of all possible limitations and why they are important for your studies.
- Describe these restraints and explain why they took their place. This section should be short and give more details about what you have encountered in your research. Talk about the importance of the obstacles of your work and how they affect it. Don’t be ashamed to talk about it since it’s a normal thing: there are no perfect studies and researches.
- Structure your research limitations. Firstly, write a list of all the restraints you had. Create a plan for this part and think how long you would like it to be. Write a few drafts to see how this section will fit in the text.
- Give some thoughts on your future studies. Which mistakes would you try to avoid and how? Think about the perspective of additional studies. Note problems that you had and try to solve them when working on your next paper.
Limitations are a great way to have an open discussion about what did you discover and how your findings were influenced by these limits. Negative sides of your study can actually help you make your research better. Learn from the mistakes, and do your best to improve your work. In case you need some extra help with your papers you can always ask professionals to take care of it.