Design Related Thesis

Here, we will dive a bit deeper into the differences between limitations and delimitations and provide some helpful tips for addressing them in your research project—whether you are working on a quantitative or qualitative study. Defining Boundaries These concepts are easy to get confused because both limitations and delimitations restrict (or limit) the questions you’ll be able to answer with your study, most notably in terms of generalizability.However, the biggest difference between limitations and delimitations is the degree of control you have over them—that is, how much they are based in conscious, intentional choices you made in designing your study.Continuing with the previous example, for instance, let’s suppose that the problem you are most interested in addressing is the fact that we know relatively little about elementary school teachers’ experiences of implementing a new curriculum.

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occur in all types of research and are, for the most part, outside the researcher’s control (given practical constraints, such as time, funding, and access to populations of interest).

They are threats to the study’s internal or external validity.

By choosing to focus your research on a particular problem or question, you are necessarily choosing not to examine other problems or questions.

Remember: You can’t answer all possible questions with one project.

While this may seem obvious, it’s worth acknowledging.

There may be other related problems or questions that are equally worthy of study, but you must choose which one(s) you are and which ones you are not looking into with your project.

If you are working on a thesis, dissertation, or other formal research project, chances are your advisor or committee will ask you to address the delimitations of your study.

When faced with this request, many students respond with a puzzled look and then go on to address what are actually the study’s limitations.

You don’t have to (and can’t) do it all in one project.

Similarly, the focus of the research problem itself (and the associated research questions) is another common source of delimitations.


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