- October 30, 2023
- Posted by: Igbaji Chinwendu
- Category: Project Writing Guide
Literature Gaps on Research Project: 6 Types of Research Gaps
- 1 Literature Gaps on Research Project: 6 Types of Research Gaps
A research gap is essentially a concern or issue that has not been addressed in a discipline but does so because there is not enough research in that area. A gap in research can also exist when there is a sizable body of prior research. Still, the results of the studies point in several directions, making it challenging to draw conclusive conclusions. Literature gaps may significantly impact the research questions of a project.
Whenever research is being conducted, it’s crucial to review the previous work to determine what has already been investigated and whether there are any knowledge gaps created in such research. These gaps can aid in locating areas in which new research is required and serve as a framework for creating research questions. The purpose of research questions should be to fill in these gaps and advance the body of knowledge.
Researchers can ensure that their research is pertinent and important and can contribute significantly to their subject by filling in any gaps in the literature. Nevertheless, it’s critical to understand that just because you find a research gap does not mean your research question calls for further investigation.
You should ensure that your research will have significant theoretical and/or practical ramifications. To put it another way, a research question’s resolution might either advance current practice and/or inform professional judgment, or it could be used to update, expand, or develop theoretical frameworks that guide study planning and implementation.
Finding the Gaps
You can find the gap when reviewing the literature. So, if your literature search has no articles, there can be a gap. In addition, if you do find papers concerning the very question, then the objective is now to identify a gap where additional research might be added. Therefore, authors mostly use the below phrases to indicate that there is a gap. Research phrases such as:
- Is not a well-known issue
- Additional study is necessary or recommended.
- Not been elucidated, published, examined, or clarified.
- It is crucial to talk about
- Ideas for additional research
- Lack of research
- The essential query is
- Not widely reported or comprehended
Types of research gaps
1. Justification Discrepancy
When a fresh research finding deviates from widely held beliefs, a justification gap results. Discrepancies in the results of earlier studies are the root of this gap. It appears when research findings support conclusions independently but contradict each other when viewed less concretely. Justification Discrepancy or gap can also be called a Contradictory Evidence Gap.
2. Information Gap
The information gap has frequently existed in earlier studies. An area in a particular field or issue where there is a lack of knowledge or comprehension is referred to as an information gap. Finding knowledge gaps is a crucial step in the research process since it identifies areas where additional study is required and can assist in designing research questions.
Researchers can progress their profession and add to the corpus of knowledge by filling up knowledge gaps. A shortage of information may exist under two circumstances: First, likely, the field itself doesn’t fully comprehend the theories and literature from allied fields of study. The results of a study can, secondly, diverge from what was anticipated.
3. Knowledge-Practice Conflict Gap
This particular kind of gap motivates fresh field investigation. An action-knowledge conflict arises when a subject matter expert acts differently from what they advocate. The term describes a disagreement between theoretical and practical understanding. When what is taught in theory and experienced in practice are not in sync, a gap can develop. It may be necessary to research to understand better how theoretical knowledge is applied in practice or to create new teaching and learning strategies that close the gap between theory and practice to address this issue.
4. Empirical gap
An empirical gap is the kind of gap that addresses gaps in earlier studies. This gap relates to study assertions or conclusions that require evaluation or experimental verification. This gap may also refer to the absence of empirical data or evidence regarding a specific issue or question.
Finding this gap makes it easier to determine which topics demand additional study. To address it, new research must be done, previous research must be analyzed, or new data collection techniques must be created. Researchers can contribute to the growth of knowledge by filling in empirical gaps and helping to ensure that decisions are based on the best available evidence.
5. Theoretical gap
A theoretical gap is a gap that pertains to the discrepancies between theory and past study. An example of a gap conflict, which is similar to a methodological gap conflict, is when two or more theoretical models are employed to describe the same fact or phenomenon. Researchers could assess which of those hypotheses fills the knowledge gap in the existing body of information the best. Using theoretical gaps is common when reviewing prior research on a phenomenon or fact.
6. Methodological Gap
The type of gap that resolves the contradiction that results from the methodology’s impact on study findings is known as a methodological gap. In this gap, the problems with the research methodology utilized in the preceding studies are examined, and a whole new study direction that departs from those methodologies is presented.
It is noted that adopting a range of research methods may be advantageous, especially if specific subject topics have already been looked at using a single or common method. Finding methodological gaps makes it easier to see where the research design or methodology should be improved to address the research topic more effectively.
To address it requires changing the research design, creating new techniques for gathering or analyzing data, or repurposing existing techniques. When this is done, research can be regarded as rigorous and trustworthy, and it can help develop stronger evidence.
The influence of Research gaps
A crucial step in the research process is considering how the gaps in the body of literature will affect the research questions for the project. These gaps have a substantial impact on how research topics are developed in various ways:
- Discovering Research Opportunities: The areas that have not been fully explored or have received insufficient research are highlighted by literature gaps. These gaps present chances for researchers to advance their fields in significant ways. Scholars frequently look for these gaps when formulating research topics to ensure their work contributes to the body of knowledge.
- Research Question Framing: Research questions can be more effectively framed when there are gaps in the literature. Researchers can create inquiries that fill these gaps and add to the body of knowledge by knowing what has been examined and what hasn’t.
- Specifying Research Goals: Developing research objectives frequently starts with formulating research questions. The researcher might use the gaps in the literature to highlight the precise goals that must be met to rectify the gaps. Setting specific goals for the research study using this technique is beneficial.
- Reasons for the study: Providing evidence of literature gaps might be essential when requesting research funding or institutional permission for a project. It enables researchers to demonstrate the importance and relevance of their work by addressing a problem that needs to be addressed.
- Methodology design: The gaps in the body of literature may have an impact on the approach of the study. A researcher may choose a quantitative technique to fill a gap in the literature if there is a shortage of quantitative data on a particular topic. On the other hand, a qualitative methodology can be more appropriate if there aren’t many qualitative insights.
- The focus of the Literature Review: Researchers must concentrate on the most pertinent and significant papers while performing a literature review. The review’s scope can be effectively reduced by identifying literature gaps to allocate resources and time better.
- Knowledge contribution: To add to the body of knowledge is one of academic research’s main objectives. There is a greater possibility that research topics that fill in knowledge gaps will produce novel insights, enhancing the researcher’s reputation and the field’s general comprehension.
- Avoiding duplication: Researchers can avoid unnecessary labour by knowing literature gaps. By ensuring that their research topics don’t just repeat prior research, they can avoid making insignificant contributions to the field.
As a result of directing researchers toward undiscovered or unexplored areas, literature gaps are crucial in forming research questions. Research initiatives that are more pertinent, significant, and influential can result from identifying and filling these gaps. To find these gaps in the literature and strategically use them to create research questions that enhance knowledge in their respective domains, researchers should undertake in-depth literature reviews.