Now that we have discussed and reviewed how gaps, flaws, and limitations affect research results and provide other scholars opportunities to add to the conversation, we need to explore how you will use these gaps, flaws, and limitations to join the conversation.
First, it is important to remember that your own research will also contain gaps, flaws, and limitations; this is a normal part of designing and conducting primary research in the academic world, and is also something you need to openly admit/discuss. There’s no such thing as a perfect study. If you recognize and acknowledge the gaps, flaws, and limitations in your own research, you will not only maintain your ethos as a credible researcher, but you will also pave the way for other scholars to add to this ongoing conversation. When designing your own study, it is imperative that you clearly state your study’s aim or goal. Remember, academic research usually has a narrow and specific goal rather than a large and generalized one. A tight focus is necessary to control variables adequately and to match the scope of the study with the available resources.
In a research toolbox earlier in this section, you analyzed one your academic journal articles to locate gaps, flaws, and limitations in its primary research methods and results. For this research toolbox, you will ask the same questions in order to locate possible gaps, flaws, and limitations in your own primary research methods and results:
- What is the aim or goal of the study?
- How is the study designed to achieve this aim or goal? Does it seek to directly address the research question?
- What is the sample size in the study? Is it large enough to yield credible data but small enough to be feasible?
- Who are the participants in the study? Does it include a variety of participants, or does it focus on one age group, ethnicity, or gender?
- Does the study include a control group?
- How does the study attempt to control for any variables that might affect the validity of the results?
- How long will the study take to complete?
- Does it review considerable secondary sources on the topic?
Once you have determined the gaps, flaws, and limitations in your own research, it is imperative that you acknowledge them within your own work. This will enable other scholars to pick up where you stop and continue the academic conversation on your topic.