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.
For example, you won’t be able to infer causality from a correlational study or generalize to an entire population from a case study.
Likewise, while an experimental study allows you to draw causal conclusions, it may require a level of experimental control that looks very different from the real world (thus lowering external validity).
As interesting as their experiences might be, you can save these questions for another study.
That is the part of the beauty of research: there will always be more studies to do, more questions to ask.Therefore, it’s important to acknowledge them upfront and make note of how they restrict the conclusions you’ll be able to draw from your study.Frequently, limitations can get in the way of our ability to generalize our findings to the larger populations or to draw causal conclusions, so be sure to consider these issues when you’re thinking about the potential limitations of your study. If you try to do so, your project is bound to get huge and unwieldy, and it will become a lot more difficult to interpret your results or come to meaningful conclusions with so many moving parts.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.Perhaps you’ll narrow your focus even more to elementary school teachers in a particular school district who have been teaching for a particular length of time. These are choices you will need to make, both for practical reasons (i.e., the population you have access to) and for the questions you are trying to answer. It just means that, for the purposes of your project and your research questions, you’re interested in the experience of the teachers, so you’re excluding anyone who does not meet those criteria.Of course, for this particular example, this does not mean that it wouldn’t be interesting to also know what principals think about the new curriculum. Having delimitations to your population of interest also means that you won’t be able to answer any questions about the experiences of those other populations; this is ok because those populations are .These other questions may be interesting and important, but, again, they are .Common Examples of Limitations While each study will have its own unique set of limitations, some limitations are more common in quantitative research, and others are more common in qualitative research.