Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Limitations of the Study
The first line of each reference is indented. The effect of question order on response. Journal of Marketing Research 1 4 , Bradburn, N. Vague quantifiers. Public Opinion Quarterly 43 1 , Chapter I begins with a few short introductory paragraphs a couple of pages at most. The primary goal of the introductory paragraphs is to catch the attention of the readers and to get them "turned on" about the subject.
It sets the stage for the paper and puts your topic in perspective.
Scope, limitation, assumptions research section methodology
The introduction often contains dramatic and general statements about the need for the study. It uses dramatic illustrations or quotes to set the tone. When writing the introduction, put yourself in your reader's position - would you continue reading? The statement of the problem is the focal point of your research. It is just one sentence with several paragraphs of elaboration.
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You are looking for something wrong. Example of a problem statement:. While the problem statement itself is just one sentence, it is always accompanied by several paragraphs that elaborate on the problem. Present persuasive arguments why the problem is important enough to study. Include the opinions of others politicians, futurists, other professionals. Explain how the problem relates to business, social or political trends by presenting data that demonstrates the scope and depth of the problem.
Try to give dramatic and concrete illustrations of the problem. After writing this section, make sure you can easily identify the single sentence that is the problem statement. The purpose is a single statement or paragraph that explains what the study intends to accomplish. A few typical statements are: The goal of this study is to This section creates a perspective for looking at the problem. It points out how your study relates to the larger issues and uses a persuasive rationale to justify the reason for your study.
It makes the purpose worth pursuing.
To whom is it important? What benefit s will occur if your study is done? Chapter I lists the research questions although it is equally acceptable to present the hypotheses or null hypotheses. No elaboration is included in this section. What are the attitudes of Is there a significant difference between Is there a significant relationship between Chapter II is a review of the literature. It is important because it shows what previous researchers have discovered. It is usually quite long and primarily depends upon how much research has previously been done in the area you are planning to investigate.
If you are planning to explore a relatively new area, the literature review should cite similar areas of study or studies that lead up to the current research. Never say that your area is so new that no research exists. It is one of the key elements that proposal readers look at when deciding whether or not to approve a proposal. Chapter II should also contain a definition of terms section when appropriate.
Include it if your paper uses special terms that are unique to your field of inquiry or that might not be understood by the general reader. An example of an operational definition is: "For the purpose of this research, improvement is operationally defined as posttest score minus pretest score". The methodology section describes your basic research plan.
It usually begins with a few short introductory paragraphs that restate purpose and research questions. The phraseology should be identical to that used in Chapter I.
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Keep the wording of your research questions consistent throughout the document. The whole idea of inferential research using a sample to represent the entire population depends upon an accurate description of the population. When you've finished your research and you make statements based on the results, who will they apply to? Usually, just one sentence is necessary to define the population. Examples are: "The population for this study is defined as all adult customers who make a purchase in our stores during the sampling time frame", or " While the population can usually be defined by a single statement, the sampling procedure needs to be described in extensive detail.
There are numerous sampling methods from which to choose. Describe in minute detail, how you will select the sample. Use specific names, places, times, etc. Don't omit any details. This is extremely important because the reader of the paper must decide if your sample will sufficiently represent the population. If you are using a survey that was designed by someone else, state the source of the survey. Describe the theoretical constructs that the survey is attempting to measure. Include a copy of the actual survey in the appendix and state that a copy of the survey is in the appendix.
State exactly when the research will begin and when it will end. Describe any special procedures that will be followed e. The analysis plan should be described in detail. Each research question will usually require its own analysis. Thus, the research questions should be addressed one at a time followed by a description of the type of statistical tests that will be performed to answer that research question. Be specific. A bad assumption, on the other hand, is not easily verified or reasonably justified.
To ensure that you are making good assumptions, you must do more than simply state what they are.
Organizing Academic Research Papers: Theoretical Framework
Explain and give examples of why your assumptions are probably true. For example, if you are assuming that participants will provide honest responses to your questions, explain the data collection process and how you will preserve anonymity and confidentiality to maximize truthfulness. The most common assumption for a research study is usually the truthfulness with which participants will respond. However, if the questions asked are of a sensitive nature, it is less plausible to assume honesty than in studies where the questions are more mundane.
When participant honesty might be compromised, it should be listed as a limitation of the study rather than an assumption. Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Limitations of the Study This guide provides advice on how to develop and organize a research paper in the social and behavioral sciences. The Conclusion Toggle Dropdown Appendices Definition The limitations of the study are those characteristics of design or methodology that impacted or influenced the interpretation of the findings from your research.
Importance of Descriptions of Possible Limitations All studies have limitations. Possible Methodological Limitations Sample size -- the number of the units of analysis you use in your study is dictated by the type of research problem you are investigating. Note that, if your sample size is too small, it will be difficult to find significant relationships from the data, as statistical tests normally require a larger sample size to ensure a representative distribution of the population and to be considered representative of groups of people to whom results will be generalized or transferred.
Note that sample size is generally less relevant in qualitative research if explained in the context of the research problem. You need to not only describe these limitations but provide cogent reasons why you believe data is missing or is unreliable. Lack of prior research studies on the topic -- citing prior research studies forms the basis of your literature review and helps lay a foundation for understanding the research problem you are investigating. Depending on the currency or scope of your research topic, there may be little, if any, prior research on your topic.
Before assuming this to be true, though, consult with a librarian! In cases when a librarian has confirmed that there is little or no prior research, you may be required to develop an entirely new research typology [for example, using an exploratory rather than an explanatory research design ].
Note again that discovering a limitation can serve as an important opportunity to identify new gaps in the literature and to describe the need for further research. Measure used to collect the data -- sometimes it is the case that, after completing your interpretation of the findings, you discover that the way in which you gathered data inhibited your ability to conduct a thorough analysis of the results. For example, you regret not including a specific question in a survey that, in retrospect, could have helped address a particular issue that emerged later in the study. Acknowledge the deficiency by stating a need for future researchers to revise the specific method for gathering data.
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Self-reported data -- whether you are relying on pre-existing data or you are conducting a qualitative research study and gathering the data yourself, self-reported data is limited by the fact that it rarely can be independently verified. In other words, you have to take what people say, whether in interviews, focus groups, or on questionnaires, at face value. However, self-reported data can contain several potential sources of bias that you should be alert to and note as limitations.
These biases become apparent if they are incongruent with data from other sources. These are: 1 selective memory [remembering or not remembering experiences or events that occurred at some point in the past]; 2 telescoping [recalling events that occurred at one time as if they occurred at another time]; 3 attribution [the act of attributing positive events and outcomes to one's own agency, but attributing negative events and outcomes to external forces]; and, 4 exaggeration [the act of representing outcomes or embellishing events as more significant than is actually suggested from other data].
Possible Limitations of the Researcher Access -- if your study depends on having access to people, organizations, data, or documents and, for whatever reason, access is denied or limited in some way, the reasons for this needs to be described. Also, include an explanation why being denied or limited access did not prevent you from following through on your study.
Longitudinal effects -- unlike your professor, who can literally devote years [even a lifetime] to studying a single topic, the time available to investigate a research problem and to measure change or stability over time is pretty much constrained by the due date of your assignment. Be sure to choose a research problem that does not require an excessive amount of time to complete the literature review, apply the methodology, and gather and interpret the results. If you're unsure whether you can complete your research within the confines of the assignment's due date, talk to your professor.
Cultural and other type of bias -- we all have biases, whether we are conscience of them or not. Bias is when a person, place, event, or thing is viewed or shown in a consistently inaccurate way.
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