The limitations in a research paper are related to your methodology peculiarities or the set of tools that have been used, impacted, or affected the results you’ve obtained during the research stages. To learn how to write limitations of a research paper, you have to understand the main purpose, which is to talk about limitations that influence the basic clarity and validity of your findings. For example, you could deal with the sample size, talking about customers in Arizona while surveying a specific group of people with, e.g., a higher income. At the same time, it may involve your data collection process, the equipment you have used, or the methods with certain limitations.
Even though the limitations one describes are always different and can represent specific types, this research paper section must always be placed either at the very start of the discussion paragraph in your paper or outlined after the same discussion section. Most research paper writers use their research limitations at the beginning to guarantee that the readers understand what to anticipate as they read further. If you want to warn your readers about something, write the limitations section of a research paper in the beginning. If you want to summarize it differently by defining an issue, do so at the end.
How to Write a Limitations Section: A Step-by-Step Guide
Before you start working on the limitations aspect of your Discussion section, remember that it should be clear as you have to either explain the possible issue or eliminate it per se. Before you start, take the following steps to make things clear:
- Determine the flaws and weaknesses of your study by defining where the problem lies. For example, you may only be able to work with critical data or become the first person to explore something with supporting evidence based on similar research reports. Still, you must explain how these flaws can be solved in future examinations.
- Do not use excuses! Refrain from using the limitations to cover up the lack of research because you have to analyze things first and determine how to address the problem. After all, the limitations of a research study may be related to logistics or the inability to get specific information.
- Use concise terms and practical examples! Do not just say that you cannot provide deeper research but explain why.
- Provide practical solutions if possible! You can refer to your methodology section and explain how it could help address the problem.
- Connect your limitations to the existing methodology. Discuss why this problem is general and support it with citations if and when possible.
- Describe how other researchers have faced similar limitations. Talk about the recommendations and the necessity for further research.
Why Should You Include Limitations in a Research Paper?
The main purpose is to strengthen your research and take time to discuss, explain, and identify problems or limitations before other researchers or professional reviewers. It also helps to place your findings in the general research context by actually helping to interpret the validity of your claims.
Estimate Study Value
Since the talk goes about a discussion part, it represents an executive summary for research where you explain your work's pros and cons. Besides, you should estimate the value and discuss what limitation of a study has been encountered based on your methodology and used tools. Since it must go beyond systematic or statistical mistakes, it's necessary to analyze things twice to determine whether they are worth mentioning without ruining your research paper's writing credibility.
Narrow Things Down
Another important aspect of including the limitations of a research paper is narrowing things down and learning to remain critical of one's writing and research work. It helps researchers to explain what kind of efforts have been made and how certain issues have been approached. Additionally, it explains the researcher’s take regarding limitations in a study based on the methodology and circumstances that may also act as possible limitations (geography, cultural points, financial issues, and more). When a person starts reading the discussion section, a sufficient explanation shows how to process and read the paper.
The Types of Limitations
Since there are numerous research methods and approaches to the same problem, researchers fall to various limitation types. When you are ready to work on your Discussion section, it's crucial to examine your methodology again and mention it more than once. It's just as important as including your research methods when you write an abstract and explain why something has been done in a specific way. As you outline this part, make sure to review the most common limitations:
- Data Sample Size. Approaching limitations in research is one of the most common issues people face. If your sample size is too small or you cannot survey all the types of people you describe, it must be mentioned as a limitation.
- Lack of Reliable Research Data. Unless you narrow things down to something specific, very little reliable data can be used as evidence.
- No Prior Research On Your Subject. If you are the first person to research something or take an innovative approach, the lack of similar research projects must be mentioned as one of the limitations.
- Poor References. You should choose only valid and verified quotes that can be referenced and obtained by turning to an online database or a physical library.
- Tools Used to Collect Data. The tools may represent a problem by posing limits like access to technology or bias of certain questions towards an answer.
- Information That You Report Yourself. You must be ready to defend the information you obtained based on your research. Ensure to provide examples or explanations to assert your point since it will take a lot of work to verify your findings independently.
Examples of Limitations in Research Projects
It will always be based on your writing style and tone. Remember that talking about limitations should not be a way to degrade your research paper! Discuss strengths and limitations to keep things balanced and convince your readers as they read your ideas and specific arguments. As a way to help you understand basic logic, here are two different examples that can be used for a research paper:
Due to the limited sample group of underage students facing bullying in boarding schools, the survey results are somewhat limited. The questions that have been asked are mostly based on the mental side of things, as the healthcare issues like sleep patterns, depression, and suicidal thoughts are not reflected. Therefore, statistical information obtained from healthcare specialists in the field should be evaluated separately from the surveys conducted.
While the first example talks of the limitations related to the sample group and the methods of surveying people, the second example talks about the equipment that posed specific limitations.
The cave recordings done by the current audio equipment, as outlined in Appendix 3, provide better clarity of the low waves compared to the prior recordings offered with analog equipment. Still, the digital ADA conversion and running on battery power have also introduced a low level of dithering. When studying the latest digital samples, it must be added to the analytical equation. While it is not a flaw per se, it is a technical limitation that must be considered when comparing the samples.
Structure and Proofreading Matters!
As you are working on your strengths and weaknesses for a Discussion section, the most important is to keep up with the structure and proofread your writing upon completion. It will make your study limitations fit within the general tone and won’t make your paper sound weak. Remember that the main purpose of adding this part is to warn your fellow researchers and clarify that not every objective has been achieved by stating what barriers you experienced. Now, suppose you are feeling stuck or confused about what to include. In that case, you can always pay for research paper writing and discuss your issues with an expert who can assist you with anything from the thesis to work on your research limitations.