A thesis writing demands unique and original research contributions, especially at the master’s level. Every student dreams of standing out in his field of research by finding something new. Thus, the essential component of research that works to bring originality and uniqueness to your study is the research gap. No doubt, the identification of research gaps needs a lot of expertise.
1. What are gaps in research?
The research gaps are questions and problems that remain unanswered in any published research in a specific field. The unanswered questions, the hidden fact and other research-related ambiguities are subjects of research gaps. We also identify a completely new idea not supported by any other literature as a research gap in many cases. Moreover, in some cases, literature cites outdated information, and then we can strive for more relevant and updated information to support a fact. Hence, there are many cases in which identifying gaps in research is necessary to conduct innovative research. Thus, in simple words, research gaps are the shortcomings in the already published literature. Although you can find gaps on your own, getting help from a PhD dissertation writing service is essential.
2. What are the different types of research gaps?
Identifying gaps in literature becomes easy after classifying them into different types. In general, the research gaps are of seven types. Below is a brief description of these types of gaps:
i) Empirical gaps
This is the type of gap that deals with research flaws in the prior research. It aims to locate gaps in the research finding and make plans to bridge them.
ii) Evidence gaps
This type of gap reflects whether an argument in research is based on valid evidence or not. In other words, it claims to prove the validity and authenticity of already published research.
iii) Theoretical gaps
Such gaps deal with the lack of theoretical basis of a phenomenon in prior research. These gaps arise when more than one theory supports a phenomenon, or the author fails to provide theoretical evidence of a process.
iv) Population gaps
Population gaps occur when the sample size for research is unsatisfactory in prior studies. Thus, too short and too large a sample sizes are often the subject of revisions and, hence, considered research gaps.
v) Knowledge gaps
The knowledge gap is a common conflict between what you have done and what you need to be done. For identifying these gaps, one needs to compare the previous studies with the current ones to identify flaws in theories, methodology and even literature.
vi) Methodology gaps
The phrase ‘methodology gaps’ means the inadequacy of proposed sets of protocols to solve a scientific problem. Thus, this type of gap must identify biasness, ethical considerations and other reliability-related issues regarding methodology.
vii) Application or implementation gaps
In many studies, some discrepancies exist between proposed policies and their practices. This type of research gap aims to identify all the application and implementation based discrepancies in research.
3. How do you write a research gap in the thesis?
The graduate-level thesis demands originality and contribution to the field of research. In this goal, identifying gaps and shortcomings plays an important role. The literature review sets the stage for the identification of research gaps. Thus, the students should use a systematic approach to write research gaps in the thesis. In general, one should start by formulating a hypothesis and problem statement. The next step must be to collect all the relevant information and conduct a literature review. The literature review helps you identify any potential type of research gaps relevant to your study. Furthermore, you can adopt the following step to write gaps in the research:
i) Focus on the area of interest
Before identifying research gaps, one should first search for the area of interest and then narrow down that area of interest. The identification of gaps becomes accessible in a narrow area of interest. You can consult your advisor, perform some exploratory research and read e-books to take a big picture about trendy research topics of the present era.
ii) Read as many articles as you can
Identifying research gaps and writing need lots of expertise, and reading a large number of articles can help you acquire this expertise. The article and literature reading must focus on the research question and proposed hypothesis. This focused study can help avoid literature irrelevant to your studies. For finding articles, you can search databases and field-specific journals. Even the authors’ name is also effective in searching for relevant pieces of literature.
iii) Analyse the content
Once you select the literature that best suits your research interest, the content analysis can help you identify any biasness. For content analysis, you can start reading from the title. If the title seems exciting, you can read abstracts, and you may end reading on screening the methodology and results in a session of the scholarly articles.
iv) Use literature review, systematic literature review and meta-analysis
The content analysis and data screening can help you conduct a literature review, systematic literature review and meta-analysis. These papers help you develop a deep understanding of the area of interest. They also help know changes in research trends over time and compile/summarise information.
v) Organise the literature
A better organisation of information in meta-analysis, systematic literature review or literature review helps identify gaps. You can use mind maps, tables, charts, notes, and outlines for better organisation. But always remember; that all the information in any of this paper must highly align with the research goals and objectives.
vi) Identify the gap
The literature review and other literature compiling techniques help gather all necessary information about the work done in the past. The comparison and evaluation of this organised information help us identify and state gaps or shortcomings. After finding potential gaps in the literature, you can further research to overcome these shortcomings in your research.
Research gaps work for making research innovative. It helps locate prior studies’ shortcomings and suggests researcher points that need to be restated in a specific field. We can classify gaps in research into seven categories: knowledge, evidence, theoretical, population, methodology, application or implementation, and empirical gaps. Based on these types, you can select any tool like literature review, systematic literature review and meta-analysis to write research gaps in the thesis.