We are all subject to imperfections. This means that while we may excel at something, it’ll always have some flaws. On that note, every study, no matter how proficient the writer may be, has study limitations. Therefore, while you want your academic work to be viewed as exemplary and worthy of premium grades, it’s also essential that you accept it’ll always be subject to the limitations of a study. The sooner you do, the better your work will be, and the better your professor will view you. To put it simply, a little humility goes a long way not only in life but also in research. Described herein is all you need to know about limitations to a study.
What are Limitations in a Study?
Study limitations refer to those characteristics or constraints that hinder or influence the interpretation of the writer’s findings from research. To put it simply, a limitation is any shortcoming that impacts a study and its outcomes. They are a normal part of any study, observational, or cross-sectional study. In most cases, they are often as a result of flawed methodology, insufficient academic resources, or lack of previous research studies on the topic. These limitations are usually part of the discussion section of the survey, just before the conclusion.
Why Should You Include Limitations of a Study in Your Paper?
Before we even head over to the examples of study limitations in various papers, take time to see why it’s essential you first understand why you should acknowledge your study limitations below
- They Acknowledge Your Study’s Flaws before Anyone Does
As noted, every study is subject to limitations of the study. Therefore, regardless of how experienced a writer you may be, your work will always have flaws. So it’s wiser to openly acknowledge them rather than wait for your professor to point them out, and give you a lower grade because you appear ignorant.
- They are Proof You’ve Done Enough Research
Limitations of a research study also prove to the reader that you did serious research on the subject. They also show you took time to think critically of the subject questions, understood what was needed, and correctly assessed the various methods available for solving the problem. As a result, they have a reason to believe you did your best with the available findings, hence resulting in greater grades even on a subject with limited research.
- Study Limitations Create Room for Further Research
Study limitations also create room for you to propose further research on a particular topic in the future. This, in turn, keeps the reader tuned for any developments that may come up in the future.
Examples of Limitations of Study in Research Proposal
Now that you know study limitations are normal and help make your grade stronger, what are the various limitations of a research study that you should mention? Here are a few to study limitation examples to get you started.
- Limited Access to Data
Limited access to data is one of the most common limitations of research studies, and one you will face more regularly. For instance, if your subject topic involves researching specific government organizations, then you may lack access to vital information. Also, you may have no respondents. This often limits the scope of your analysis, leaving you no option but to restructure your study based on the findings. In such a case, you must state this as the limitation of the study. But don’t just list it as “limited data access.” Make sure you explain the reasons for limited data access, so the reader doesn’t question the validity of your research.
- Sample Size
This is one of the most common limitations of a cross-sectional study. It often comes about because the nature of the problem dictates the sample size. For instance, if your study seeks to explain the perception of teenage consumers towards a particular product, but you only conduct your study with 50 respondents, your results will be inaccurate. This is because the number of teenagers in a country like the US is incredibly high; hence, the opinion of only 50 respondents doesn’t adequately represent the opinion of the rest. Therefore, if this is your limitation, be sure to state your study is based on a smaller sample size and that you could have generated much accurate results on a larger one.
- Lack of Previous Research on the Subject
In other cases, you might have unlimited access to data, but if there is no research done on the subject matter, then this will also impact the interpretation of your findings. For instance, if the research subject is whether cryptocurrency will replace fiat currencies as a future currency, then you may not find enough studies on the subject. But if you chose to explore the impact of crypto on the finance industry, then you’ll find tons of information. On that note, if you’re researching a particular subject and find that there it lacks prior research studies, ensure you acknowledge this study limitation and propose further research.
- Data Collection Methodology
Very often, the method used to collect data usually affects the results of the study. For instance, your professor might have assigned you the topic ” is the impact of mobile phones on teenagers negative or positive?” Now, there are various to find out. If you choose only to interview teenagers for answers, there is a high chance of your results being flawed as they will only provide the positives. The data collection method is common among limitations of case-control and observational studies. Contact professional writers to learn more about it.
The type of equipment used to carry out a study can also hinder the findings. This is usually a regular limitation of observational studies. For example, if you’re surveying the effectiveness of smartphones, it’s important to note there is a vast array in the market. Therefore, you may use a high-quality one means your results will be positive, but low-quality ones mean your findings will render smartphones ineffective. That said, you have to consider such a limitation during your research, and if it’s unavoidable, ensure you not only list it, but also explain it in your discussion.
As you’ve seen, limitations of a research study are normal and are quite many. The above are just a few examples. So next time you’re doing research and lack access to data, make sure you include this fact in your work. Honest is a virtue, and admitting as well as explaining why your findings may be flawed will impress your readers.