Research Limitations & Future Research

Dissertations at the undergraduate and master?s level, like any piece of academic research, suffer from limitations. Some of these limitations can be understood and planned for before the research process starts, whilst others become apparent during or after the research process. Irrespective of whether such research limitations are anticipated or not, they should be acknowledged and discussed. Typically, research limitations are discussed in a separate section entitled Research Limitations within the Conclusions chapter (usually Chapter Five: Discussion/Conclusions), but they can also form an integrated component of the Discussion chapter where you reflect on your findings (usually Chapter Five: Discussion/Conclusion). Where research limitations are anticipated before the research process starts, they can be discussed within the appropriate chapter (e.g., recognising and discussing the implications of limitations in your sampling strategy, which would be addressed in the Sampling Strategy section of your Research Strategy chapter; usually Chapter Three: Research Strategy).

The purpose of the Research Limitations section is to help you understand: (a) the types of research limitation you may come across; (b) what readers expect from the Research Limitations section of your dissertation; (c) how to structure this Research Limitations section; and (d) the types of future research suggestion that generally arise out of the research limitations you have identified.