How to Identify a Research Gap in a Research Paper
A research gap is an area of study that previous researchers have missed out on, or the society has limited information about it. When a researcher is conducting research, he/she aims at bridging the gap. It is a research question that has been brought up due to a reoccurring problem in the society.
Most students undertaking their diploma, undergraduate, masters, and PhDs find it hard to come up with research gaps and research questions for their research projects. The students are advised to conduct researches that are relevant to their fields of study, so the research gaps must go hand in hand with the field they are studying.
When identifying a research problem one must be conversant with the population of study and the case study environment, if not so the research gap may end up not answering the research questions appropriately hence misleading the research readers. The researcher targets to pass additional information and what needs to be done by the society to help eliminate the research gap.
When identifying a research gap one my act upon his/her interests in a definite environment, race, gender, and religion. The researcher may want to satisfy their curiosity on a certain subject. A study gap that is well identifiable is often one that is on par with the researcher’s interests. The researcher should identify areas that he/she is interested in and not areas of that a supervisor has pressured you to do.
Reading books will help you when identifying and studying your study gap as they help you avoid plagiarism as you are able to come up with your own words to write a research paper. Ask your professors to assist you in coming up with topics that are relevant to your field of study. This helps you to easily identify research gaps.
Read journals in the research area and pay close attention to the introductory part of other researchers and their suggestion on future researchable areas. Any research questions that have not been answered in a previous study can be a research gap that you can work on if it interests you.N
ote down the reasons for the existence of a research gap and classify the reasons into different sub-topics that will help you in learning more about your area of study. Make sure the research gap does not bring about so many questions that will take up all your time and make you present an unfinished paper.
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The study of systematic reviews helps, as they delve deep literature understanding and an immense study on the changing trends in particular fields. Meta-analysis, content analysis, and citation analysis reports can be very helpful as they have findings on previous reports. Studying previous reports saves the researcher time as they conduct the case studies.
When you manage to answer any questions on your research you have identified a research gap. Going through other literature reviews helps you identify an area that is not well informed to the society and hence one can come up with a gap to be researched.