Structuring the research limitation section of your dissertation or thesis can take different forms or order. That notwithstanding, there are some effective and easy ways to get it done. In this article, we recommend a three move structure namely, announcing, reflecting, and the forward looking move. The steps vividly explains to the reader the impact of the limitations on the research, and how they could be addressed going forward. Below are the three moves and what they entails.

The announcing stage

As a student, you may encounter several limitation as you go about your research. However, being able to identify these limitation and telling the readers how important they are is another issues. That said, you don’t need to put out all your limitations in this section. The word count for this should be around 200 to 500 words depending on your department’s guidelines. Therefore as you announce your move, it would be best to concentrate only on the limitations that could possibly have a great impact on your research. Before you add anything, ask yourself the following.

  • Did the limitation affect the quality of work?
  • Did it affect your answering of the research questions?

If the answer is yes, then it need to be stated. Though you may not readily know the level of impact of the limitations to your finding, the most important thing is you recognising and stating them. Some limitations may result from research methodology, and questions etc.

The reflecting stage

After identifying all the critical limitations, your next move it to explain the reasons for the listed limitations. Afterward, you need to justify why you used certain research procedures despite knowing they may limit your findings. This stage is critical and must contain at least 60 percent of your research limitation section. Note that every research has its own limitations. So, never think that stating your limitations makes your work any inferior. On the contrary it enables your readers appreciate the work, and it shows you were highly involved in the research. Also, identifying these limitations by yourself may reduce the level of criticism of your dissertation. If you are using a smaller sample audience or technique for the research, it may be difficult to generalize your findings. This can therefore be a limitation. For example if you are researching the number of people who use WhatsApp on a university campus, and out of the 20,000 population, you sample the views of 500, then you will surely have a deficit.

The forward looking stage

As you know been able to clearly state where you fell short in your research, the forward looking state proposes remedies. At this stage you have to suggest solutions to the limitations you encountered in case there is further research. Your word count at this stage should just be around 10 to 20 percent of research limitation word count.

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