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Scope of the Research – Writing Guide and Examples

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Scope of the Research

Scope of the Research

Scope of research refers to the range of topics, areas, and subjects that a research project intends to cover. It is the extent and limitations of the study, defining what is included and excluded in the research.

The scope of a research project depends on various factors, such as the research questions , objectives , methodology, and available resources. It is essential to define the scope of the research project clearly to avoid confusion and ensure that the study addresses the intended research questions.

How to Write Scope of the Research

Writing the scope of the research involves identifying the specific boundaries and limitations of the study. Here are some steps you can follow to write a clear and concise scope of the research:

  • Identify the research question: Start by identifying the specific question that you want to answer through your research . This will help you focus your research and define the scope more clearly.
  • Define the objectives: Once you have identified the research question, define the objectives of your study. What specific goals do you want to achieve through your research?
  • Determine the population and sample: Identify the population or group of people that you will be studying, as well as the sample size and selection criteria. This will help you narrow down the scope of your research and ensure that your findings are applicable to the intended audience.
  • Identify the variables: Determine the variables that will be measured or analyzed in your research. This could include demographic variables, independent variables , dependent variables , or any other relevant factors.
  • Define the timeframe: Determine the timeframe for your study, including the start and end date, as well as any specific time intervals that will be measured.
  • Determine the geographical scope: If your research is location-specific, define the geographical scope of your study. This could include specific regions, cities, or neighborhoods that you will be focusing on.
  • Outline the limitations: Finally, outline any limitations or constraints of your research, such as time, resources, or access to data. This will help readers understand the scope and applicability of your research findings.

Examples of the Scope of the Research

Some Examples of the Scope of the Research are as follows:

Title : “Investigating the impact of artificial intelligence on job automation in the IT industry”

Scope of Research:

This study aims to explore the impact of artificial intelligence on job automation in the IT industry. The research will involve a qualitative analysis of job postings, identifying tasks that can be automated using AI. The study will also assess the potential implications of job automation on the workforce, including job displacement, job creation, and changes in job requirements.

Title : “Developing a machine learning model for predicting cyberattacks on corporate networks”

This study will develop a machine learning model for predicting cyberattacks on corporate networks. The research will involve collecting and analyzing network traffic data, identifying patterns and trends that are indicative of cyberattacks. The study aims to build an accurate and reliable predictive model that can help organizations identify and prevent cyberattacks before they occur.

Title: “Assessing the usability of a mobile app for managing personal finances”

This study will assess the usability of a mobile app for managing personal finances. The research will involve conducting a usability test with a group of participants, evaluating the app’s ease of use, efficiency, and user satisfaction. The study aims to identify areas of the app that need improvement, and to provide recommendations for enhancing its usability and user experience.

Title : “Exploring the effects of mindfulness meditation on stress reduction among college students”

This study aims to investigate the impact of mindfulness meditation on reducing stress levels among college students. The research will involve a randomized controlled trial with two groups: a treatment group that receives mindfulness meditation training and a control group that receives no intervention. The study will examine changes in stress levels, as measured by self-report questionnaires, before and after the intervention.

Title: “Investigating the impact of social media on body image dissatisfaction among young adults”

This study will explore the relationship between social media use and body image dissatisfaction among young adults. The research will involve a cross-sectional survey of participants aged 18-25, assessing their social media use, body image perceptions, and self-esteem. The study aims to identify any correlations between social media use and body image dissatisfaction, and to determine if certain social media platforms or types of content are particularly harmful.

When to Write Scope of the Research

Here is a guide on When to Write the Scope of the Research:

  • Before starting your research project, it’s important to clearly define the scope of your study. This will help you stay focused on your research question and avoid getting sidetracked by irrelevant information.
  • The scope of the research should be determined by the research question or problem statement. It should outline what you intend to investigate and what you will not be investigating.
  • The scope should also take into consideration any limitations of the study, such as time, resources, or access to data. This will help you realistically plan and execute your research.
  • Writing the scope of the research early in the research process can also help you refine your research question and identify any gaps in the existing literature that your study can address.
  • It’s important to revisit the scope of the research throughout the research process to ensure that you stay on track and make any necessary adjustments.
  • The scope of the research should be clearly communicated in the research proposal or study protocol to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of the research objectives and limitations.
  • The scope of the research should also be reflected in the research design, methods, and analysis plan. This will ensure that the research is conducted in a systematic and rigorous manner that is aligned with the research objectives.
  • The scope of the research should be written in a clear and concise manner, using language that is accessible to all stakeholders, including those who may not be familiar with the research topic or methodology.
  • When writing the scope of the research, it’s important to be transparent about any assumptions or biases that may influence the research findings. This will help ensure that the research is conducted in an ethical and responsible manner.
  • The scope of the research should be reviewed and approved by the research supervisor, committee members, or other relevant stakeholders. This will ensure that the research is feasible, relevant, and contributes to the field of study.
  • Finally, the scope of the research should be clearly stated in the research report or dissertation to provide context for the research findings and conclusions. This will help readers understand the significance of the research and its contribution to the field of study.

Purpose of Scope of the Research

Purposes of Scope of the Research are as follows:

  • Defines the boundaries and extent of the study.
  • Determines the specific objectives and research questions to be addressed.
  • Provides direction and focus for the research.
  • Helps to identify the relevant theories, concepts, and variables to be studied.
  • Enables the researcher to select the appropriate research methodology and techniques.
  • Allows for the allocation of resources (time, money, personnel) to the research.
  • Establishes the criteria for the selection of the sample and data collection methods.
  • Facilitates the interpretation and generalization of the results.
  • Ensures the ethical considerations and constraints are addressed.
  • Provides a framework for the presentation and dissemination of the research findings.

Advantages of Scope of the Research

Here are some advantages of having a well-defined scope of research:

  • Provides clarity and focus: Defining the scope of research helps to provide clarity and focus to the study. This ensures that the research stays on track and does not deviate from its intended purpose.
  • Helps to manage resources: Knowing the scope of research allows researchers to allocate resources effectively. This includes managing time, budget, and personnel required to conduct the study.
  • Improves the quality of research: A well-defined scope of research helps to ensure that the study is designed to achieve specific objectives. This helps to improve the quality of the research by reducing the likelihood of errors or bias.
  • Facilitates communication: A clear scope of research enables researchers to communicate the goals and objectives of the study to stakeholders, such as funding agencies or participants. This facilitates understanding and enhances cooperation.
  • Enables replication : A well-defined scope of research makes it easier to replicate the study in the future. This allows other researchers to validate the findings and build upon them, leading to the advancement of knowledge in the field.
  • Increases the relevance of research: Defining the scope of research helps to ensure that the study is relevant to the problem or issue being investigated. This increases the likelihood that the findings will be useful and applicable to real-world situations.
  • Reduces the risk of scope creep : Scope creep occurs when the research expands beyond the original scope, leading to an increase in the time, cost, and resources required to complete the study. A clear definition of the scope of research helps to reduce the risk of scope creep by establishing boundaries and limitations.
  • Enhances the credibility of research: A well-defined scope of research helps to enhance the credibility of the study by ensuring that it is designed to achieve specific objectives and answer specific research questions. This makes it easier for others to assess the validity and reliability of the study.
  • Provides a framework for decision-making : A clear scope of research provides a framework for decision-making throughout the research process. This includes decisions related to data collection, analysis, and interpretation.

Scope of the Research Vs Scope of the Project

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Scope and Delimitations – Explained & Example


  • By DiscoverPhDs
  • October 2, 2020

Scope and Delimitation

What Is Scope and Delimitation in Research?

The scope and delimitations of a thesis, dissertation or research paper define the topic and boundaries of the research problem to be investigated.

The scope details how in-depth your study is to explore the research question and the parameters in which it will operate in relation to the population and timeframe.

The delimitations of a study are the factors and variables not to be included in the investigation. In other words, they are the boundaries the researcher sets in terms of study duration, population size and type of participants, etc.

Difference Between Delimitations and Limitations

Delimitations refer to the boundaries of the research study, based on the researcher’s decision of what to include and what to exclude. They narrow your study to make it more manageable and relevant to what you are trying to prove.

Limitations relate to the validity and reliability of the study. They are characteristics of the research design or methodology that are out of your control but influence your research findings. Because of this, they determine the internal and external validity of your study and are considered potential weaknesses.

In other words, limitations are what the researcher cannot do (elements outside of their control) and delimitations are what the researcher will not do (elements outside of the boundaries they have set). Both are important because they help to put the research findings into context, and although they explain how the study is limited, they increase the credibility and validity of a research project.

Guidelines on How to Write a Scope

A good scope statement will answer the following six questions:

Delimitation Scope for Thesis Statement

  • Why – the general aims and objectives (purpose) of the research.
  • What – the subject to be investigated, and the included variables.
  • Where – the location or setting of the study, i.e. where the data will be gathered and to which entity the data will belong.
  • When – the timeframe within which the data is to be collected.
  • Who – the subject matter of the study and the population from which they will be selected. This population needs to be large enough to be able to make generalisations.
  • How – how the research is to be conducted, including a description of the research design (e.g. whether it is experimental research, qualitative research or a case study), methodology, research tools and analysis techniques.

To make things as clear as possible, you should also state why specific variables were omitted from the research scope, and whether this was because it was a delimitation or a limitation. You should also explain why they could not be overcome with standard research methods backed up by scientific evidence.

How to Start Writing Your Study Scope

Use the below prompts as an effective way to start writing your scope:

  • This study is to focus on…
  • This study covers the…
  • This study aims to…

Guidelines on How to Write Delimitations

Since the delimitation parameters are within the researcher’s control, readers need to know why they were set, what alternative options were available, and why these alternatives were rejected. For example, if you are collecting data that can be derived from three different but similar experiments, the reader needs to understand how and why you decided to select the one you have.

Your reasons should always be linked back to your research question, as all delimitations should result from trying to make your study more relevant to your scope. Therefore, the scope and delimitations are usually considered together when writing a paper.

How to Start Writing Your Study Delimitations

Use the below prompts as an effective way to start writing your study delimitations:

  • This study does not cover…
  • This study is limited to…
  • The following has been excluded from this study…

Examples of Delimitation in Research

Examples of delimitations include:

  • research objectives,
  • research questions,
  • research variables,
  • target populations,
  • statistical analysis techniques .

Examples of Limitations in Research

Examples of limitations include:

  • Issues with sample and selection,
  • Insufficient sample size, population traits or specific participants for statistical significance,
  • Lack of previous research studies on the topic which has allowed for further analysis,
  • Limitations in the technology/instruments used to collect your data,
  • Limited financial resources and/or funding constraints.

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Scope and Delimitations in Research

Delimitations are the boundaries that the researcher sets in a research study, deciding what to include and what to exclude. They help to narrow down the study and make it more manageable and relevant to the research goal.

Updated on October 19, 2022

Scope and Delimitations in Research

All scientific research has boundaries, whether or not the authors clearly explain them. Your study's scope and delimitations are the sections where you define the broader parameters and boundaries of your research.

The scope details what your study will explore, such as the target population, extent, or study duration. Delimitations are factors and variables not included in the study.

Scope and delimitations are not methodological shortcomings; they're always under your control. Discussing these is essential because doing so shows that your project is manageable and scientifically sound.

This article covers:

  • What's meant by “scope” and “delimitations”
  • Why these are integral components of every study
  • How and where to actually write about scope and delimitations in your manuscript
  • Examples of scope and delimitations from published studies

What is the scope in a research paper?

Simply put, the scope is the domain of your research. It describes the extent to which the research question will be explored in your study.

Articulating your study's scope early on helps you make your research question focused and realistic.

It also helps decide what data you need to collect (and, therefore, what data collection tools you need to design). Getting this right is vital for both academic articles and funding applications.

What are delimitations in a research paper?

Delimitations are those factors or aspects of the research area that you'll exclude from your research. The scope and delimitations of the study are intimately linked.

Essentially, delimitations form a more detailed and narrowed-down formulation of the scope in terms of exclusion. The delimitations explain what was (intentionally) not considered within the given piece of research.

Scope and delimitations examples

Use the following examples provided by our expert PhD editors as a reference when coming up with your own scope and delimitations.

Scope example

Your research question is, “What is the impact of bullying on the mental health of adolescents?” This topic, on its own, doesn't say much about what's being investigated.

The scope, for example, could encompass:

  • Variables: “bullying” (dependent variable), “mental health” (independent variable), and ways of defining or measuring them
  • Bullying type: Both face-to-face and cyberbullying
  • Target population: Adolescents aged 12–17
  • Geographical coverage: France or only one specific town in France

Delimitations example

Look back at the previous example.

Exploring the adverse effects of bullying on adolescents' mental health is a preliminary delimitation. This one was chosen from among many possible research questions (e.g., the impact of bullying on suicide rates, or children or adults).

Delimiting factors could include:

  • Research design : Mixed-methods research, including thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews and statistical analysis of a survey
  • Timeframe : Data collection to run for 3 months
  • Population size : 100 survey participants; 15 interviewees
  • Recruitment of participants : Quota sampling (aiming for specific portions of men, women, ethnic minority students etc.)

We can see that every choice you make in planning and conducting your research inevitably excludes other possible options.

What's the difference between limitations and delimitations?

Delimitations and limitations are entirely different, although they often get mixed up. These are the main differences:

how to write scope of a research paper

This chart explains the difference between delimitations and limitations. Delimitations are the boundaries of the study while the limitations are the characteristics of the research design or methodology.

Delimitations encompass the elements outside of the boundaries you've set and depends on your decision of what yo include and exclude. On the flip side, limitations are the elements outside of your control, such as:

  • limited financial resources
  • unplanned work or expenses
  • unexpected events (for example, the COVID-19 pandemic)
  • time constraints
  • lack of technology/instruments
  • unavailable evidence or previous research on the topic

Delimitations involve narrowing your study to make it more manageable and relevant to what you're trying to prove. Limitations influence the validity and reliability of your research findings. Limitations are seen as potential weaknesses in your research.

Example of the differences

To clarify these differences, go back to the limitations of the earlier example.

Limitations could comprise:

  • Sample size : Not large enough to provide generalizable conclusions.
  • Sampling approach : Non-probability sampling has increased bias risk. For instance, the researchers might not manage to capture the experiences of ethnic minority students.
  • Methodological pitfalls : Research participants from an urban area (Paris) are likely to be more advantaged than students in rural areas. A study exploring the latter's experiences will probably yield very different findings.

Where do you write the scope and delimitations, and why?

It can be surprisingly empowering to realize you're restricted when conducting scholarly research. But this realization also makes writing up your research easier to grasp and makes it easier to see its limits and the expectations placed on it. Properly revealing this information serves your field and the greater scientific community.

Openly (but briefly) acknowledge the scope and delimitations of your study early on. The Abstract and Introduction sections are good places to set the parameters of your paper.

Next, discuss the scope and delimitations in greater detail in the Methods section. You'll need to do this to justify your methodological approach and data collection instruments, as well as analyses

At this point, spell out why these delimitations were set. What alternative options did you consider? Why did you reject alternatives? What could your study not address?

Let's say you're gathering data that can be derived from different but related experiments. You must convince the reader that the one you selected best suits your research question.

Finally, a solid paper will return to the scope and delimitations in the Findings or Discussion section. Doing so helps readers contextualize and interpret findings because the study's scope and methods influence the results.

For instance, agricultural field experiments carried out under irrigated conditions yield different results from experiments carried out without irrigation.

Being transparent about the scope and any outstanding issues increases your research's credibility and objectivity. It helps other researchers replicate your study and advance scientific understanding of the same topic (e.g., by adopting a different approach).

How do you write the scope and delimitations?

Define the scope and delimitations of your study before collecting data. This is critical. This step should be part of your research project planning.

Answering the following questions will help you address your scope and delimitations clearly and convincingly.

  • What are your study's aims and objectives?
  • Why did you carry out the study?
  • What was the exact topic under investigation?
  • Which factors and variables were included? And state why specific variables were omitted from the research scope.
  • Who or what did the study explore? What was the target population?
  • What was the study's location (geographical area) or setting (e.g., laboratory)?
  • What was the timeframe within which you collected your data ?
  • Consider a study exploring the differences between identical twins who were raised together versus identical twins who weren't. The data collection might span 5, 10, or more years.
  • A study exploring a new immigration policy will cover the period since the policy came into effect and the present moment.
  • How was the research conducted (research design)?
  • Experimental research, qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods research, literature review, etc.
  • What data collection tools and analysis techniques were used? e.g., If you chose quantitative methods, which statistical analysis techniques and software did you use?
  • What did you find?
  • What did you conclude?

Useful vocabulary for scope and delimitations

how to write scope of a research paper

When explaining both the scope and delimitations, it's important to use the proper language to clearly state each.

For the scope , use the following language:

  • This study focuses on/considers/investigates/covers the following:
  • This study aims to . . . / Here, we aim to show . . . / In this study, we . . .
  • The overall objective of the research is . . . / Our objective is to . . .

When stating the delimitations, use the following language:

  • This [ . . . ] will not be the focus, for it has been frequently and exhaustively discusses in earlier studies.
  • To review the [ . . . ] is a task that lies outside the scope of this study.
  • The following [ . . . ] has been excluded from this study . . .
  • This study does not provide a complete literature review of [ . . . ]. Instead, it draws on selected pertinent studies [ . . . ]

Analysis of a published scope

In one example, Simione and Gnagnarella (2020) compared the psychological and behavioral impact of COVID-19 on Italy's health workers and general population.

Here's a breakdown of the study's scope into smaller chunks and discussion of what works and why.

Also notable is that this study's delimitations include references to:

  • Recruitment of participants: Convenience sampling
  • Demographic characteristics of study participants: Age, sex, etc.
  • Measurements methods: E.g., the death anxiety scale of the Existential Concerns Questionnaire (ECQ; van Bruggen et al., 2017) etc.
  • Data analysis tool: The statistical software R

Analysis of published scope and delimitations

Scope of the study : Johnsson et al. (2019) explored the effect of in-hospital physiotherapy on postoperative physical capacity, physical activity, and lung function in patients who underwent lung cancer surgery.

The delimitations narrowed down the scope as follows:

Refine your scope, delimitations, and scientific English

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Setting Limits and Focusing Your Study: Exploring scope and delimitation

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As a researcher, it can be easy to get lost in the vast expanse of information and data available. Thus, when starting a research project, one of the most important things to consider is the scope and delimitation of the study. Setting limits and focusing your study is essential to ensure that the research project is manageable, relevant, and able to produce useful results. In this article, we will explore the importance of setting limits and focusing your study through an in-depth analysis of scope and delimitation.

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Table of Contents

Scope and Delimitation – Definition and difference

Scope refers to the range of the research project and the study limitations set in place to define the boundaries of the project and delimitation refers to the specific aspects of the research project that the study will focus on.

In simpler words, scope is the breadth of your study, while delimitation is the depth of your study.

Scope and delimitation are both essential components of a research project, and they are often confused with one another. The scope defines the parameters of the study, while delimitation sets the boundaries within those parameters. The scope and delimitation of a study are usually established early on in the research process and guide the rest of the project.

Types of Scope and Delimitation

how to write scope of a research paper

Significance of Scope and Delimitation

Setting limits and focusing your study through scope and delimitation is crucial for the following reasons:

  • It allows researchers to define the research project’s boundaries, enabling them to focus on specific aspects of the project. This focus makes it easier to gather relevant data and avoid unnecessary information that might complicate the study’s results.
  • Setting limits and focusing your study through scope and delimitation enables the researcher to stay within the parameters of the project’s resources.
  • A well-defined scope and delimitation ensure that the research project can be completed within the available resources, such as time and budget, while still achieving the project’s objectives.

5 Steps to Setting Limits and Defining the Scope and Delimitation of Your Study

how to write scope of a research paper

There are a few steps that you can take to set limits and focus your study.

1. Identify your research question or topic

The first step is to identify what you are interested in learning about. The research question should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Once you have a research question or topic, you can start to narrow your focus.

2. Consider the key terms or concepts related to your topic

What are the important terms or concepts that you need to understand in order to answer your research question? Consider all available resources, such as time, budget, and data availability, when setting scope and delimitation.

The scope and delimitation should be established within the parameters of the available resources. Once you have identified the key terms or concepts, you can start to develop a glossary or list of definitions.

3. Consider the different perspectives on your topic

There are often different perspectives on any given topic. Get feedback on the proposed scope and delimitation. Advisors can provide guidance on the feasibility of the study and offer suggestions for improvement.

It is important to consider all of the different perspectives in order to get a well-rounded understanding of your topic.

4. Narrow your focus

Be specific and concise when setting scope and delimitation. The parameters of the study should be clearly defined to avoid ambiguity and ensure that the study is focused on relevant aspects of the research question.

This means deciding which aspects of your topic you will focus on and which aspects you will eliminate.

5. Develop the final research plan

Revisit and revise the scope and delimitation as needed. As the research project progresses, the scope and delimitation may need to be adjusted to ensure that the study remains focused on the research question and can produce useful results. This plan should include your research goals, methods, and timeline.

Examples of Scope and Delimitation

To better understand scope and delimitation, let us consider two examples of research questions and how scope and delimitation would apply to them.

Research question: What are the effects of social media on mental health?

Scope: The scope of the study will focus on the impact of social media on the mental health of young adults aged 18-24 in the United States.

Delimitation: The study will specifically examine the following aspects of social media: frequency of use, types of social media platforms used, and the impact of social media on self-esteem and body image.

Research question: What are the factors that influence employee job satisfaction in the healthcare industry?

Scope: The scope of the study will focus on employee job satisfaction in the healthcare industry in the United States.

Delimitation: The study will specifically examine the following factors that influence employee job satisfaction: salary, work-life balance, job security, and opportunities for career growth.

Setting limits and defining the scope and delimitation of a research study is essential to conducting effective research. By doing so, researchers can ensure that their study is focused, manageable, and feasible within the given time frame and resources. It can also help to identify areas that require further study, providing a foundation for future research.

So, the next time you embark on a research project, don’t forget to set clear limits and define the scope and delimitation of your study. It may seem like a tedious task, but it can ultimately lead to more meaningful and impactful research. And if you still can’t find a solution, reach out to Enago Academy using #AskEnago and tag @EnagoAcademy on Twitter , Facebook , and Quora .

Frequently Asked Questions

The scope in research refers to the boundaries and extent of a study, defining its specific objectives, target population, variables, methods, and limitations, which helps researchers focus and provide a clear understanding of what will be investigated.

Delimitation in research defines the specific boundaries and limitations of a study, such as geographical, temporal, or conceptual constraints, outlining what will be excluded or not within the scope of investigation, providing clarity and ensuring the study remains focused and manageable.

To write a scope; 1. Clearly define research objectives. 2. Identify specific research questions. 3. Determine the target population for the study. 4. Outline the variables to be investigated. 5. Establish limitations and constraints. 6. Set boundaries and extent of the investigation. 7. Ensure focus, clarity, and manageability. 8. Provide context for the research project.

To write delimitations; 1. Identify geographical boundaries or constraints. 2. Define the specific time period or timeframe of the study. 3. Specify the sample size or selection criteria. 4. Clarify any demographic limitations (e.g., age, gender, occupation). 5. Address any limitations related to data collection methods. 6. Consider limitations regarding the availability of resources or data. 7. Exclude specific variables or factors from the scope of the study. 8. Clearly state any conceptual boundaries or theoretical frameworks. 9. Acknowledge any potential biases or constraints in the research design. 10. Ensure that the delimitations provide a clear focus and scope for the study.

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Defining the Scope of your Project

What is scope.

  • Choosing a Design
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Post-Grad Collective [PGC]. (2017, February 13). Thesis Writing-Narrow the Scope   [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlCO5yRB9No&feature=youtu.be

Learn to cite a YouTube Video! 

The scope of your project sets clear parameters for your research. 

A scope statement will give basic information about the depth and breadth of the project. It tells your reader exactly what you want to find out , how you will conduct your study, the reports and deliverables  that will be part of the outcome of the study, and the responsibilities of the researchers involved in the study. The extent of the scope will be a part of acknowledging any biases in the research project. 

Defining the scope of a project: 

  • focuses your research goals
  • clarifies the expectations for your research project
  •  helps you determine potential biases in your research methodology by acknowledging the limits of your research study 
  • identifies the limitations of your research 
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  • Last Updated: Mar 7, 2024 9:06 AM
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How To Write Scope and Delimitation of a Research Paper (With Examples)

How To Write Scope and Delimitation of a Research Paper (With Examples)

An effective research paper or thesis has a well-written Scope and Delimitation.  This portion specifies your study’s coverage and boundaries.

Not yet sure about how to write your research’s Scope and Delimitation? Fret not, as we’ll guide you through the entire writing process through this article.

Related: How To Write Significance of the Study (With Examples)

Table of Contents

What is the scope and delimitation of a research paper.

how to write scope and delimitation 1

The “Scope and Delimitation” section states the concepts and variables your study covered. It tells readers which things you have included and excluded in your analysis.

This portion tells two things: 1

  • The study’s “Scope” – concepts and variables you have explored in your research and;
  • The study’s “Delimitation” – the “boundaries” of your study’s scope. It sets apart the things included in your analysis from those excluded.

For example, your scope might be the effectiveness of plant leaves in lowering blood sugar levels. You can “delimit” your study only to the effect of gabi leaves on the blood glucose of Swiss mice.

Where Should I Put the Scope and Delimitation?

This portion is in Chapter 1, usually after the “Background of the Study.”

Why Should I Write the Scope and Delimitation of My Research Paper?

There’s a lot to discover in a research paper or thesis. However, your resources and time dedicated to it are scarce. Thus, given these constraints, you have to narrow down your study. You do this in the Scope and Delimitation.

Suppose you’re studying the correlation between the quantity of organic fertilizer and plant growth . Experimenting with several types of plants is impossible because of several limitations. So, you’ve decided to use one plant type only. 

Informing your readers about this decision is a must. So, you have to state it in your Scope and Delimitation. It also acts as a “disclaimer” that your results are inapplicable to the entire plant kingdom.

What Is the Difference Between Delimitation and Limitation?

how to write scope and delimitation 2

People often use the terms “Delimitation” and “Limitation” interchangeably. However, these words differ 2 .

Delimitation refers to factors you set to limit your analysis. It delineates those that are included in your research and those that are excluded. Remember, delimitations are within your control. 

Meanwhile, limitations are factors beyond your control that may affect your research’s results.  You can think of limitations as the “weaknesses” of your study. 

Let’s go back to our previous example. Due to some constraints, you’ve only decided to examine one plant type: dandelions. This is an example of a delimitation since it limits your analysis to dandelions only and not other plant types. Note that the number of plant types used is within your control. 

Meanwhile, your study cannot state that a higher quantity of organic fertilizer is the sole reason for plant growth. That’s because your research’s focus is only on correlation. Since this is already beyond your control, then this is a limitation. 

How To Write Scope and Delimitation: Step-by-Step Guide

To write your research’s Scope and Delimitation section, follow these steps:

1. Review Your Study’s Objectives and Problem Statement

how to write scope and delimitation 3

Your study’s coverage relies on its objectives. Thus, you can only write this section if you know what you’re researching. Furthermore, ensure that you understand the problems you ought to answer. 

Once you understand the abovementioned things, you may start writing your study’s Scope and Delimitation.

2. State the Key Information To Explain Your Study’s Coverage and Boundaries

how to write scope and delimitation 4

a. The Main Objective of the Research

This refers to the concept that you’re focusing on in your research. Some examples are the following:

  • level of awareness or satisfaction of a particular group of people
  • correlation between two variables
  • effectiveness of a new product
  • comparison between two methods/approaches
  • lived experiences of several individuals

It’s helpful to consult your study’s Objectives or Statement of the Problem section to determine your research’s primary goal.

b. Independent and Dependent Variables Included

Your study’s independent variable is the variable that you manipulate. Meanwhile, the dependent variable is the variable whose result depends upon the independent variable. Both of these variables must be clear and specific when indicated. 

Suppose you study the relationship between social media usage and students’ language skills. These are the possible variables for the study:

  • Independent Variable: Number of hours per day spent on using Facebook
  • Dependent Variable: Grade 10 students’ scores in Quarterly Examination in English. 

Note how specific the variables stated above are. For the independent variable, we narrow it down to Facebook only. Since there are many ways to assess “language skills,” we zero in on the students’ English exam scores as our dependent variable. 

c. Subject of the Study

This refers to your study’s respondents or participants. 

In our previous example, the research participants are Grade 10 students. However, there are a lot of Grade 10 students in the Philippines. Thus, we have to select from a specific school only—for instance, Grade 10 students from a national high school in Manila. 

d. Timeframe and Location of the Study

Specify the month(s), quarter(s), or year(s) as the duration of your study. Also, indicate where you will gather the data required for your research. 

e. Brief Description of the Study’s Research Design and Methodology

You may also include whether your research is quantitative or qualitative, the sampling method (cluster, stratified, purposive) applied, and how you conducted the experiment.

Using our previous example, the Grade 10 students can be selected using stratified sampling. Afterward, the researchers may obtain their English quarterly exam scores from their respective teachers. You can add these things to your study’s Scope and Delimitation. 

3. Indicate Which Variables or Factors Are Not Covered by Your Research

how to write scope and delimitation 5

Although you’ve already set your study’s coverage and boundaries in Step 2, you may also explicitly mention things you’ve excluded from your research. 

Returning to our previous example, you can state that your assessment will not include the vocabulary and oral aspects of the English proficiency skill. 

Examples of Scope and Delimitation of a Research Paper

1. scope and delimitation examples for quantitative research.

how to write scope and delimitation 6

a. Example 1

Research Title

    A Study on the Relationship of the Extent of Facebook Usage on the English Proficiency Level of Grade 10 Students of Matagumpay High School

Scope and Delimitation

(Main Objective)

This study assessed the correlation between the respondents’ duration of Facebook usage and their English proficiency level. 

(Variables used)

The researchers used the number of hours per day of using Facebook and the activities usually performed on the platform to assess the respondents’ extent of Facebook usage. Meanwhile, the respondents’ English proficiency level is limited to their quarterly English exam scores. 

(Subject of the study)

A sample of fifty (50) Grade 10 students of Matagumpay High School served as the study’s respondents. 

(Timeframe and location)

This study was conducted during the Second Semester of the School Year 2018 – 2019 on the premises of Matagumpay High School in Metro Manila. 


The respondents are selected by performing stratified random sampling to ensure that there will be ten respondents from five Grade 10 classes of the school mentioned above. The researchers administered a 20-item questionnaire to assess the extent of Facebook usage of the selected respondents. Meanwhile, the data for the respondents’ quarterly exam scores were acquired from their English teachers. The collected data are handled with the utmost confidentiality. Spearman’s Rank Order Correlation was applied to quantitatively assess the correlation between the variables.


This study didn’t assess other aspects of the respondents’ English proficiency, such as English vocabulary and oral skills. 

Note: The words inside the parentheses in the example above are guides only. They are not included in the actual text.

b. Example 2

  Level of Satisfaction of Grade 11 Students on the Implementation of the Online Learning Setup of Matagumpay High School for SY 2020 – 2021

This study aims to identify students’ satisfaction levels with implementing online learning setups during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students’ satisfaction was assessed according to teachers’ pedagogy, school policies, and learning materials used in the online learning setup. The respondents included sixty (60) Grade 11 students of Matagumpay High School who were randomly picked. The researchers conducted the study from October 2020 to February 2021. 

Online platforms such as email and social media applications were used to reach the respondents. The researchers administered a 15-item online questionnaire to measure the respondents’ satisfaction levels. Each response was assessed using a Likert Scale to provide a descriptive interpretation of their answers. A weighted mean was applied to determine the respondents’ general satisfaction. 

This study did not cover other factors related to the online learning setup, such as the learning platform used, the schedule of synchronous learning, and channels for information dissemination.

2. Scope and Delimitation Examples for Qualitative Research

how to write scope and delimitation 7

  Lived Experiences of Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Drivers of Antipolo City Amidst the Continuous June 2022 Oil Price Hikes

This research focused on the presentation and discussion of the lived experiences of PUV drivers during the constant oil price hike in June 2022.

The respondents involved are five (5) jeepney drivers from Antipolo City who agreed to be interviewed. The researchers assessed their experiences in terms of the following: (1) daily net income; (2) duration and extent of working; (3) alternative employment opportunity considerations; and (4) mental and emotional status. The respondents were interviewed daily at their stations on June 6 – 10, 2022. 

In-depth one-on-one interviews were used for data collection.  Afterward, the respondents’ first-hand experiences were drafted and annotated with the researchers’ insights. 

The researchers excluded some factors in determining the respondents’ experiences, such as physical and health conditions and current family relationship status. 

 A Study on the Perception of the Residents of Mayamot, Antipolo City on the Political and Socioeconomic Conditions During the Post-EDSA Period (1986 – 1996)

This research aims to discuss the perception of Filipinos regarding the political and socioeconomic economic conditions during the post-EDSA period, specifically during the years 1986 – 1996. 

Ten (10) residents of Mayamot, Antipolo City, who belonged to Generation X (currently 40 – 62 years old), were purposively selected as the study’s respondents. The researchers asked them about their perception of the following aspects during the period mentioned above (1) performance of national and local government; (2) bureaucracy and government services; (3) personal economic and financial status; and (4) wage purchasing power. 

The researchers conducted face-to-face interviews in the respondents’ residences during the second semester of AY 2018 – 2019. The responses were written and corroborated with the literature on the post-EDSA period. 

The following factors were not included in the research analysis: political conflicts and turmoils, the status of the legislative and judicial departments, and other macroeconomic indicators. 

Tips and Warnings

1. use the “5ws and 1h” as your guide in understanding your study’s coverage.

  • Why did you write your study?  
  • What variables are included?
  • Who are your study’s subject
  • Where did you conduct the study?
  • When did your study start and end?
  • How did you conduct the study?

2. Use key phrases when writing your research’s scope

  • This study aims to … 
  • This study primarily focuses on …
  • This study deals with … 
  • This study will cover …
  • This study will be confined…

3. Use key phrases when writing factors beyond your research’s delimitations

  • The researcher(s) decided to exclude …
  • This study did not cover….
  • This study excluded … 
  • These variables/factors were excluded from the study…

4. Don’t forget to ask for help

Your research adviser can assist you in selecting specific concepts and variables suitable to your study. Make sure to consult him/her regularly. 

5. Make it brief

No need to make this section wordy. You’re good to go if you meet the “5Ws and 1Hs”. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. what are scope and delimitation in tagalog.

In a Filipino research ( pananaliksik ), Scope and Delimitation is called “ Saklaw at Delimitasyon”. 

Here’s an example of Scope and Delimitation in Filipino:

Pamagat ng Pananaliksik

Epekto Ng Paggamit Ng Mga Digital Learning Tools Sa Pag-Aaral Ng Mga Mag-Aaral Ng Mataas Na Paaralan Ng Matagumpay Sa General Mathematics

Sakop at Delimitasyon ng Pag-aaral

Nakatuon ang pananaliksik na ito sa epekto ng paggamit ng mga digital learning aids sa pag-aaral ng mga mag-aaral.

Ang mga digital learning tools na kinonsidera sa pag-aaral na ito ay Google Classroom, Edmodo, Kahoot, at mga piling bidyo mula YouTube. Samantala, ang epekto sa pag-aaral ng mga mag-aaral ng mga nabanggit na digital learning tools ay natukoy sa pamamagitan ng kanilang (1) mga pananaw hinggil sa benepisyo nito sa kanilang pag-aaral sa General Mathematics at (2) kanilang average grade sa asignaturang ito.

Dalawampu’t-limang (25) mag-aaral mula sa Senior High School ng Mataas na Paaralan ng Matagumpay ang pinili para sa pananaliksik na ito. Sila ay na-interbyu at binigyan ng questionnaire noong Enero 2022 sa nasabing paaralan. Sinuri ang resulta ng pananaliksik sa pamamagitan ng mga instrumentong estadistikal na weighted mean at Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). Hindi saklaw ng pananaliksik na ito ang ibang mga aspeto hinggil sa epekto ng online learning aids sa pag-aaral gaya ng lebel ng pag-unawa sa aralin at kakayahang iugnay ito sa araw-araw na buhay. 

2. The Scope and Delimitation should consist of how many paragraphs?

Three or more paragraphs will suffice for your study’s Scope and Delimitation. Here’s our suggestion on what you should write for each paragraph:

Paragraph 1: Introduction (state research objective) Paragraph 2: Coverage and boundaries of the research (you may divide this section into 2-3 paragraphs) Paragraph 3 : Factors excluded from the study

  • University of St. La Salle. Unit 3: Lesson 3 Setting the Scope and Limitation of a Qualitative Research [Ebook] (p. 12). Retrieved from https://www.studocu.com/ph/document/university-of-st-la-salle/senior-high-school/final-sg-pr1-11-12-unit-3-lesson-3-setting-the-scope-and-limitation-of-a-qualitative-research/24341582
  • Theofanidis, D., & Fountouki, A. (2018). Limitations and Delimitations in the Research Process. Perioperative Nursing (GORNA), 7(3), 155–162. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.2552022

Written by Jewel Kyle Fabula

in Career and Education , Juander How

Last Updated May 6, 2023 09:59 AM

how to write scope of a research paper

Jewel Kyle Fabula

Jewel Kyle Fabula is a Bachelor of Science in Economics student at the University of the Philippines Diliman. His passion for learning mathematics developed as he competed in some mathematics competitions during his Junior High School years. He loves cats, playing video games, and listening to music.

Browse all articles written by Jewel Kyle Fabula

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Grad Coach

How To Write A Research Paper

Step-By-Step Tutorial With Examples + FREE Template

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Expert Reviewer: Dr Eunice Rautenbach | March 2024

For many students, crafting a strong research paper from scratch can feel like a daunting task – and rightly so! In this post, we’ll unpack what a research paper is, what it needs to do , and how to write one – in three easy steps. 🙂 

Overview: Writing A Research Paper

What (exactly) is a research paper.

  • How to write a research paper
  • Stage 1 : Topic & literature search
  • Stage 2 : Structure & outline
  • Stage 3 : Iterative writing
  • Key takeaways

Let’s start by asking the most important question, “ What is a research paper? ”.

Simply put, a research paper is a scholarly written work where the writer (that’s you!) answers a specific question (this is called a research question ) through evidence-based arguments . Evidence-based is the keyword here. In other words, a research paper is different from an essay or other writing assignments that draw from the writer’s personal opinions or experiences. With a research paper, it’s all about building your arguments based on evidence (we’ll talk more about that evidence a little later).

Now, it’s worth noting that there are many different types of research papers , including analytical papers (the type I just described), argumentative papers, and interpretative papers. Here, we’ll focus on analytical papers , as these are some of the most common – but if you’re keen to learn about other types of research papers, be sure to check out the rest of the blog .

With that basic foundation laid, let’s get down to business and look at how to write a research paper .

Research Paper Template

Overview: The 3-Stage Process

While there are, of course, many potential approaches you can take to write a research paper, there are typically three stages to the writing process. So, in this tutorial, we’ll present a straightforward three-step process that we use when working with students at Grad Coach.

These three steps are:

  • Finding a research topic and reviewing the existing literature
  • Developing a provisional structure and outline for your paper, and
  • Writing up your initial draft and then refining it iteratively

Let’s dig into each of these.

Need a helping hand?

how to write scope of a research paper

Step 1: Find a topic and review the literature

As we mentioned earlier, in a research paper, you, as the researcher, will try to answer a question . More specifically, that’s called a research question , and it sets the direction of your entire paper. What’s important to understand though is that you’ll need to answer that research question with the help of high-quality sources – for example, journal articles, government reports, case studies, and so on. We’ll circle back to this in a minute.

The first stage of the research process is deciding on what your research question will be and then reviewing the existing literature (in other words, past studies and papers) to see what they say about that specific research question. In some cases, your professor may provide you with a predetermined research question (or set of questions). However, in many cases, you’ll need to find your own research question within a certain topic area.

Finding a strong research question hinges on identifying a meaningful research gap – in other words, an area that’s lacking in existing research. There’s a lot to unpack here, so if you wanna learn more, check out the plain-language explainer video below.

Once you’ve figured out which question (or questions) you’ll attempt to answer in your research paper, you’ll need to do a deep dive into the existing literature – this is called a “ literature search ”. Again, there are many ways to go about this, but your most likely starting point will be Google Scholar .

If you’re new to Google Scholar, think of it as Google for the academic world. You can start by simply entering a few different keywords that are relevant to your research question and it will then present a host of articles for you to review. What you want to pay close attention to here is the number of citations for each paper – the more citations a paper has, the more credible it is (generally speaking – there are some exceptions, of course).

how to use google scholar

Ideally, what you’re looking for are well-cited papers that are highly relevant to your topic. That said, keep in mind that citations are a cumulative metric , so older papers will often have more citations than newer papers – just because they’ve been around for longer. So, don’t fixate on this metric in isolation – relevance and recency are also very important.

Beyond Google Scholar, you’ll also definitely want to check out academic databases and aggregators such as Science Direct, PubMed, JStor and so on. These will often overlap with the results that you find in Google Scholar, but they can also reveal some hidden gems – so, be sure to check them out.

Once you’ve worked your way through all the literature, you’ll want to catalogue all this information in some sort of spreadsheet so that you can easily recall who said what, when and within what context. If you’d like, we’ve got a free literature spreadsheet that helps you do exactly that.

Don’t fixate on an article’s citation count in isolation - relevance (to your research question) and recency are also very important.

Step 2: Develop a structure and outline

With your research question pinned down and your literature digested and catalogued, it’s time to move on to planning your actual research paper .

It might sound obvious, but it’s really important to have some sort of rough outline in place before you start writing your paper. So often, we see students eagerly rushing into the writing phase, only to land up with a disjointed research paper that rambles on in multiple

Now, the secret here is to not get caught up in the fine details . Realistically, all you need at this stage is a bullet-point list that describes (in broad strokes) what you’ll discuss and in what order. It’s also useful to remember that you’re not glued to this outline – in all likelihood, you’ll chop and change some sections once you start writing, and that’s perfectly okay. What’s important is that you have some sort of roadmap in place from the start.

You need to have a rough outline in place before you start writing your paper - or you’ll end up with a disjointed research paper that rambles on.

At this stage you might be wondering, “ But how should I structure my research paper? ”. Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution here, but in general, a research paper will consist of a few relatively standardised components:

  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Methodology

Let’s take a look at each of these.

First up is the introduction section . As the name suggests, the purpose of the introduction is to set the scene for your research paper. There are usually (at least) four ingredients that go into this section – these are the background to the topic, the research problem and resultant research question , and the justification or rationale. If you’re interested, the video below unpacks the introduction section in more detail. 

The next section of your research paper will typically be your literature review . Remember all that literature you worked through earlier? Well, this is where you’ll present your interpretation of all that content . You’ll do this by writing about recent trends, developments, and arguments within the literature – but more specifically, those that are relevant to your research question . The literature review can oftentimes seem a little daunting, even to seasoned researchers, so be sure to check out our extensive collection of literature review content here .

With the introduction and lit review out of the way, the next section of your paper is the research methodology . In a nutshell, the methodology section should describe to your reader what you did (beyond just reviewing the existing literature) to answer your research question. For example, what data did you collect, how did you collect that data, how did you analyse that data and so on? For each choice, you’ll also need to justify why you chose to do it that way, and what the strengths and weaknesses of your approach were.

Now, it’s worth mentioning that for some research papers, this aspect of the project may be a lot simpler . For example, you may only need to draw on secondary sources (in other words, existing data sets). In some cases, you may just be asked to draw your conclusions from the literature search itself (in other words, there may be no data analysis at all). But, if you are required to collect and analyse data, you’ll need to pay a lot of attention to the methodology section. The video below provides an example of what the methodology section might look like.

By this stage of your paper, you will have explained what your research question is, what the existing literature has to say about that question, and how you analysed additional data to try to answer your question. So, the natural next step is to present your analysis of that data . This section is usually called the “results” or “analysis” section and this is where you’ll showcase your findings.

Depending on your school’s requirements, you may need to present and interpret the data in one section – or you might split the presentation and the interpretation into two sections. In the latter case, your “results” section will just describe the data, and the “discussion” is where you’ll interpret that data and explicitly link your analysis back to your research question. If you’re not sure which approach to take, check in with your professor or take a look at past papers to see what the norms are for your programme.

Alright – once you’ve presented and discussed your results, it’s time to wrap it up . This usually takes the form of the “ conclusion ” section. In the conclusion, you’ll need to highlight the key takeaways from your study and close the loop by explicitly answering your research question. Again, the exact requirements here will vary depending on your programme (and you may not even need a conclusion section at all) – so be sure to check with your professor if you’re unsure.

Step 3: Write and refine

Finally, it’s time to get writing. All too often though, students hit a brick wall right about here… So, how do you avoid this happening to you?

Well, there’s a lot to be said when it comes to writing a research paper (or any sort of academic piece), but we’ll share three practical tips to help you get started.

First and foremost , it’s essential to approach your writing as an iterative process. In other words, you need to start with a really messy first draft and then polish it over multiple rounds of editing. Don’t waste your time trying to write a perfect research paper in one go. Instead, take the pressure off yourself by adopting an iterative approach.

Secondly , it’s important to always lean towards critical writing , rather than descriptive writing. What does this mean? Well, at the simplest level, descriptive writing focuses on the “ what ”, while critical writing digs into the “ so what ” – in other words, the implications. If you’re not familiar with these two types of writing, don’t worry! You can find a plain-language explanation here.

Last but not least, you’ll need to get your referencing right. Specifically, you’ll need to provide credible, correctly formatted citations for the statements you make. We see students making referencing mistakes all the time and it costs them dearly. The good news is that you can easily avoid this by using a simple reference manager . If you don’t have one, check out our video about Mendeley, an easy (and free) reference management tool that you can start using today.

Recap: Key Takeaways

We’ve covered a lot of ground here. To recap, the three steps to writing a high-quality research paper are:

  • To choose a research question and review the literature
  • To plan your paper structure and draft an outline
  • To take an iterative approach to writing, focusing on critical writing and strong referencing

Remember, this is just a b ig-picture overview of the research paper development process and there’s a lot more nuance to unpack. So, be sure to grab a copy of our free research paper template to learn more about how to write a research paper.

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  • How to write a research paper

Last updated

11 January 2024

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With proper planning, knowledge, and framework, completing a research paper can be a fulfilling and exciting experience. 

Though it might initially sound slightly intimidating, this guide will help you embrace the challenge. 

By documenting your findings, you can inspire others and make a difference in your field. Here's how you can make your research paper unique and comprehensive.

  • What is a research paper?

Research papers allow you to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of a particular topic. These papers are usually lengthier and more detailed than typical essays, requiring deeper insight into the chosen topic.

To write a research paper, you must first choose a topic that interests you and is relevant to the field of study. Once you’ve selected your topic, gathering as many relevant resources as possible, including books, scholarly articles, credible websites, and other academic materials, is essential. You must then read and analyze these sources, summarizing their key points and identifying gaps in the current research.

You can formulate your ideas and opinions once you thoroughly understand the existing research. To get there might involve conducting original research, gathering data, or analyzing existing data sets. It could also involve presenting an original argument or interpretation of the existing research.

Writing a successful research paper involves presenting your findings clearly and engagingly, which might involve using charts, graphs, or other visual aids to present your data and using concise language to explain your findings. You must also ensure your paper adheres to relevant academic formatting guidelines, including proper citations and references.

Overall, writing a research paper requires a significant amount of time, effort, and attention to detail. However, it is also an enriching experience that allows you to delve deeply into a subject that interests you and contribute to the existing body of knowledge in your chosen field.

  • How long should a research paper be?

Research papers are deep dives into a topic. Therefore, they tend to be longer pieces of work than essays or opinion pieces. 

However, a suitable length depends on the complexity of the topic and your level of expertise. For instance, are you a first-year college student or an experienced professional? 

Also, remember that the best research papers provide valuable information for the benefit of others. Therefore, the quality of information matters most, not necessarily the length. Being concise is valuable.

Following these best practice steps will help keep your process simple and productive:

1. Gaining a deep understanding of any expectations

Before diving into your intended topic or beginning the research phase, take some time to orient yourself. Suppose there’s a specific topic assigned to you. In that case, it’s essential to deeply understand the question and organize your planning and approach in response. Pay attention to the key requirements and ensure you align your writing accordingly. 

This preparation step entails

Deeply understanding the task or assignment

Being clear about the expected format and length

Familiarizing yourself with the citation and referencing requirements 

Understanding any defined limits for your research contribution

Where applicable, speaking to your professor or research supervisor for further clarification

2. Choose your research topic

Select a research topic that aligns with both your interests and available resources. Ideally, focus on a field where you possess significant experience and analytical skills. In crafting your research paper, it's crucial to go beyond summarizing existing data and contribute fresh insights to the chosen area.

Consider narrowing your focus to a specific aspect of the topic. For example, if exploring the link between technology and mental health, delve into how social media use during the pandemic impacts the well-being of college students. Conducting interviews and surveys with students could provide firsthand data and unique perspectives, adding substantial value to the existing knowledge.

When finalizing your topic, adhere to legal and ethical norms in the relevant area (this ensures the integrity of your research, protects participants' rights, upholds intellectual property standards, and ensures transparency and accountability). Following these principles not only maintains the credibility of your work but also builds trust within your academic or professional community.

For instance, in writing about medical research, consider legal and ethical norms, including patient confidentiality laws and informed consent requirements. Similarly, if analyzing user data on social media platforms, be mindful of data privacy regulations, ensuring compliance with laws governing personal information collection and use. Aligning with legal and ethical standards not only avoids potential issues but also underscores the responsible conduct of your research.

3. Gather preliminary research

Once you’ve landed on your topic, it’s time to explore it further. You’ll want to discover more about available resources and existing research relevant to your assignment at this stage. 

This exploratory phase is vital as you may discover issues with your original idea or realize you have insufficient resources to explore the topic effectively. This key bit of groundwork allows you to redirect your research topic in a different, more feasible, or more relevant direction if necessary. 

Spending ample time at this stage ensures you gather everything you need, learn as much as you can about the topic, and discover gaps where the topic has yet to be sufficiently covered, offering an opportunity to research it further. 

4. Define your research question

To produce a well-structured and focused paper, it is imperative to formulate a clear and precise research question that will guide your work. Your research question must be informed by the existing literature and tailored to the scope and objectives of your project. By refining your focus, you can produce a thoughtful and engaging paper that effectively communicates your ideas to your readers.

5. Write a thesis statement

A thesis statement is a one-to-two-sentence summary of your research paper's main argument or direction. It serves as an overall guide to summarize the overall intent of the research paper for you and anyone wanting to know more about the research.

A strong thesis statement is:

Concise and clear: Explain your case in simple sentences (avoid covering multiple ideas). It might help to think of this section as an elevator pitch.

Specific: Ensure that there is no ambiguity in your statement and that your summary covers the points argued in the paper.

Debatable: A thesis statement puts forward a specific argument––it is not merely a statement but a debatable point that can be analyzed and discussed.

Here are three thesis statement examples from different disciplines:

Psychology thesis example: "We're studying adults aged 25-40 to see if taking short breaks for mindfulness can help with stress. Our goal is to find practical ways to manage anxiety better."

Environmental science thesis example: "This research paper looks into how having more city parks might make the air cleaner and keep people healthier. I want to find out if more green spaces means breathing fewer carcinogens in big cities."

UX research thesis example: "This study focuses on improving mobile banking for older adults using ethnographic research, eye-tracking analysis, and interactive prototyping. We investigate the usefulness of eye-tracking analysis with older individuals, aiming to spark debate and offer fresh perspectives on UX design and digital inclusivity for the aging population."

6. Conduct in-depth research

A research paper doesn’t just include research that you’ve uncovered from other papers and studies but your fresh insights, too. You will seek to become an expert on your topic––understanding the nuances in the current leading theories. You will analyze existing research and add your thinking and discoveries.  It's crucial to conduct well-designed research that is rigorous, robust, and based on reliable sources. Suppose a research paper lacks evidence or is biased. In that case, it won't benefit the academic community or the general public. Therefore, examining the topic thoroughly and furthering its understanding through high-quality research is essential. That usually means conducting new research. Depending on the area under investigation, you may conduct surveys, interviews, diary studies, or observational research to uncover new insights or bolster current claims.

7. Determine supporting evidence

Not every piece of research you’ve discovered will be relevant to your research paper. It’s important to categorize the most meaningful evidence to include alongside your discoveries. It's important to include evidence that doesn't support your claims to avoid exclusion bias and ensure a fair research paper.

8. Write a research paper outline

Before diving in and writing the whole paper, start with an outline. It will help you to see if more research is needed, and it will provide a framework by which to write a more compelling paper. Your supervisor may even request an outline to approve before beginning to write the first draft of the full paper. An outline will include your topic, thesis statement, key headings, short summaries of the research, and your arguments.

9. Write your first draft

Once you feel confident about your outline and sources, it’s time to write your first draft. While penning a long piece of content can be intimidating, if you’ve laid the groundwork, you will have a structure to help you move steadily through each section. To keep up motivation and inspiration, it’s often best to keep the pace quick. Stopping for long periods can interrupt your flow and make jumping back in harder than writing when things are fresh in your mind.

10. Cite your sources correctly

It's always a good practice to give credit where it's due, and the same goes for citing any works that have influenced your paper. Building your arguments on credible references adds value and authenticity to your research. In the formatting guidelines section, you’ll find an overview of different citation styles (MLA, CMOS, or APA), which will help you meet any publishing or academic requirements and strengthen your paper's credibility. It is essential to follow the guidelines provided by your school or the publication you are submitting to ensure the accuracy and relevance of your citations.

11. Ensure your work is original

It is crucial to ensure the originality of your paper, as plagiarism can lead to serious consequences. To avoid plagiarism, you should use proper paraphrasing and quoting techniques. Paraphrasing is rewriting a text in your own words while maintaining the original meaning. Quoting involves directly citing the source. Giving credit to the original author or source is essential whenever you borrow their ideas or words. You can also use plagiarism detection tools such as Scribbr or Grammarly to check the originality of your paper. These tools compare your draft writing to a vast database of online sources. If you find any accidental plagiarism, you should correct it immediately by rephrasing or citing the source.

12. Revise, edit, and proofread

One of the essential qualities of excellent writers is their ability to understand the importance of editing and proofreading. Even though it's tempting to call it a day once you've finished your writing, editing your work can significantly improve its quality. It's natural to overlook the weaker areas when you've just finished writing a paper. Therefore, it's best to take a break of a day or two, or even up to a week, to refresh your mind. This way, you can return to your work with a new perspective. After some breathing room, you can spot any inconsistencies, spelling and grammar errors, typos, or missing citations and correct them. 

  • The best research paper format 

The format of your research paper should align with the requirements set forth by your college, school, or target publication. 

There is no one “best” format, per se. Depending on the stated requirements, you may need to include the following elements:

Title page: The title page of a research paper typically includes the title, author's name, and institutional affiliation and may include additional information such as a course name or instructor's name. 

Table of contents: Include a table of contents to make it easy for readers to find specific sections of your paper.

Abstract: The abstract is a summary of the purpose of the paper.

Methods : In this section, describe the research methods used. This may include collecting data, conducting interviews, or doing field research.

Results: Summarize the conclusions you drew from your research in this section.

Discussion: In this section, discuss the implications of your research. Be sure to mention any significant limitations to your approach and suggest areas for further research.

Tables, charts, and illustrations: Use tables, charts, and illustrations to help convey your research findings and make them easier to understand.

Works cited or reference page: Include a works cited or reference page to give credit to the sources that you used to conduct your research.

Bibliography: Provide a list of all the sources you consulted while conducting your research.

Dedication and acknowledgments : Optionally, you may include a dedication and acknowledgments section to thank individuals who helped you with your research.

  • General style and formatting guidelines

Formatting your research paper means you can submit it to your college, journal, or other publications in compliance with their criteria.

Research papers tend to follow the American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), or Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) guidelines.

Here’s how each style guide is typically used:

Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS):

CMOS is a versatile style guide used for various types of writing. It's known for its flexibility and use in the humanities. CMOS provides guidelines for citations, formatting, and overall writing style. It allows for both footnotes and in-text citations, giving writers options based on their preferences or publication requirements.

American Psychological Association (APA):

APA is common in the social sciences. It’s hailed for its clarity and emphasis on precision. It has specific rules for citing sources, creating references, and formatting papers. APA style uses in-text citations with an accompanying reference list. It's designed to convey information efficiently and is widely used in academic and scientific writing.

Modern Language Association (MLA):

MLA is widely used in the humanities, especially literature and language studies. It emphasizes the author-page format for in-text citations and provides guidelines for creating a "Works Cited" page. MLA is known for its focus on the author's name and the literary works cited. It’s frequently used in disciplines that prioritize literary analysis and critical thinking.

To confirm you're using the latest style guide, check the official website or publisher's site for updates, consult academic resources, and verify the guide's publication date. Online platforms and educational resources may also provide summaries and alerts about any revisions or additions to the style guide.

Citing sources

When working on your research paper, it's important to cite the sources you used properly. Your citation style will guide you through this process. Generally, there are three parts to citing sources in your research paper: 

First, provide a brief citation in the body of your essay. This is also known as a parenthetical or in-text citation. 

Second, include a full citation in the Reference list at the end of your paper. Different types of citations include in-text citations, footnotes, and reference lists. 

In-text citations include the author's surname and the date of the citation. 

Footnotes appear at the bottom of each page of your research paper. They may also be summarized within a reference list at the end of the paper. 

A reference list includes all of the research used within the paper at the end of the document. It should include the author, date, paper title, and publisher listed in the order that aligns with your citation style.

10 research paper writing tips:

Following some best practices is essential to writing a research paper that contributes to your field of study and creates a positive impact.

These tactics will help you structure your argument effectively and ensure your work benefits others:

Clear and precise language:  Ensure your language is unambiguous. Use academic language appropriately, but keep it simple. Also, provide clear takeaways for your audience.

Effective idea separation:  Organize the vast amount of information and sources in your paper with paragraphs and titles. Create easily digestible sections for your readers to navigate through.

Compelling intro:  Craft an engaging introduction that captures your reader's interest. Hook your audience and motivate them to continue reading.

Thorough revision and editing:  Take the time to review and edit your paper comprehensively. Use tools like Grammarly to detect and correct small, overlooked errors.

Thesis precision:  Develop a clear and concise thesis statement that guides your paper. Ensure that your thesis aligns with your research's overall purpose and contribution.

Logical flow of ideas:  Maintain a logical progression throughout the paper. Use transitions effectively to connect different sections and maintain coherence.

Critical evaluation of sources:  Evaluate and critically assess the relevance and reliability of your sources. Ensure that your research is based on credible and up-to-date information.

Thematic consistency:  Maintain a consistent theme throughout the paper. Ensure that all sections contribute cohesively to the overall argument.

Relevant supporting evidence:  Provide concise and relevant evidence to support your arguments. Avoid unnecessary details that may distract from the main points.

Embrace counterarguments:  Acknowledge and address opposing views to strengthen your position. Show that you have considered alternative arguments in your field.

7 research tips 

If you want your paper to not only be well-written but also contribute to the progress of human knowledge, consider these tips to take your paper to the next level:

Selecting the appropriate topic: The topic you select should align with your area of expertise, comply with the requirements of your project, and have sufficient resources for a comprehensive investigation.

Use academic databases: Academic databases such as PubMed, Google Scholar, and JSTOR offer a wealth of research papers that can help you discover everything you need to know about your chosen topic.

Critically evaluate sources: It is important not to accept research findings at face value. Instead, it is crucial to critically analyze the information to avoid jumping to conclusions or overlooking important details. A well-written research paper requires a critical analysis with thorough reasoning to support claims.

Diversify your sources: Expand your research horizons by exploring a variety of sources beyond the standard databases. Utilize books, conference proceedings, and interviews to gather diverse perspectives and enrich your understanding of the topic.

Take detailed notes: Detailed note-taking is crucial during research and can help you form the outline and body of your paper.

Stay up on trends: Keep abreast of the latest developments in your field by regularly checking for recent publications. Subscribe to newsletters, follow relevant journals, and attend conferences to stay informed about emerging trends and advancements. 

Engage in peer review: Seek feedback from peers or mentors to ensure the rigor and validity of your research. Peer review helps identify potential weaknesses in your methodology and strengthens the overall credibility of your findings.

  • The real-world impact of research papers

Writing a research paper is more than an academic or business exercise. The experience provides an opportunity to explore a subject in-depth, broaden one's understanding, and arrive at meaningful conclusions. With careful planning, dedication, and hard work, writing a research paper can be a fulfilling and enriching experience contributing to advancing knowledge.

How do I publish my research paper? 

Many academics wish to publish their research papers. While challenging, your paper might get traction if it covers new and well-written information. To publish your research paper, find a target publication, thoroughly read their guidelines, format your paper accordingly, and send it to them per their instructions. You may need to include a cover letter, too. After submission, your paper may be peer-reviewed by experts to assess its legitimacy, quality, originality, and methodology. Following review, you will be informed by the publication whether they have accepted or rejected your paper. 

What is a good opening sentence for a research paper? 

Beginning your research paper with a compelling introduction can ensure readers are interested in going further. A relevant quote, a compelling statistic, or a bold argument can start the paper and hook your reader. Remember, though, that the most important aspect of a research paper is the quality of the information––not necessarily your ability to storytell, so ensure anything you write aligns with your goals.

Research paper vs. a research proposal—what’s the difference?

While some may confuse research papers and proposals, they are different documents. 

A research proposal comes before a research paper. It is a detailed document that outlines an intended area of exploration. It includes the research topic, methodology, timeline, sources, and potential conclusions. Research proposals are often required when seeking approval to conduct research. 

A research paper is a summary of research findings. A research paper follows a structured format to present those findings and construct an argument or conclusion.

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  • USC Libraries
  • Research Guides

Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

  • Choosing a Title
  • Purpose of Guide
  • Design Flaws to Avoid
  • Independent and Dependent Variables
  • Glossary of Research Terms
  • Reading Research Effectively
  • Narrowing a Topic Idea
  • Broadening a Topic Idea
  • Extending the Timeliness of a Topic Idea
  • Academic Writing Style
  • Making an Outline
  • Paragraph Development
  • Research Process Video Series
  • Executive Summary
  • The C.A.R.S. Model
  • Background Information
  • The Research Problem/Question
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Citation Tracking
  • Content Alert Services
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Primary Sources
  • Secondary Sources
  • Tiertiary Sources
  • Scholarly vs. Popular Publications
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Insiderness
  • Using Non-Textual Elements
  • Limitations of the Study
  • Common Grammar Mistakes
  • Writing Concisely
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Footnotes or Endnotes?
  • Further Readings
  • Generative AI and Writing
  • USC Libraries Tutorials and Other Guides
  • Bibliography

The title summarizes the main idea or ideas of your study. A good title contains the fewest possible words needed to adequately describe the content and/or purpose of your research paper.

Importance of Choosing a Good Title

The title is the part of a paper that is read the most, and it is usually read first . It is, therefore, the most important element that defines the research study. With this in mind, avoid the following when creating a title:

  • If the title is too long, this usually indicates there are too many unnecessary words. Avoid language, such as, "A Study to Investigate the...," or "An Examination of the...." These phrases are obvious and generally superfluous unless they are necessary to covey the scope, intent, or type of a study.
  • On the other hand, a title which is too short often uses words which are too broad and, thus, does not tell the reader what is being studied. For example, a paper with the title, "African Politics" is so non-specific the title could be the title of a book and so ambiguous that it could refer to anything associated with politics in Africa. A good title should provide information about the focus and/or scope of your research study.
  • In academic writing, catchy phrases or non-specific language may be used, but only if it's within the context of the study [e.g., "Fair and Impartial Jury--Catch as Catch Can"]. However, in most cases, you should avoid including words or phrases that do not help the reader understand the purpose of your paper.
  • Academic writing is a serious and deliberate endeavor. Avoid using humorous or clever journalistic styles of phrasing when creating the title to your paper. Journalistic headlines often use emotional adjectives [e.g., incredible, amazing, effortless] to highlight a problem experienced by the reader or use "trigger words" or interrogative words like how, what, when, or why to persuade people to read the article or click on a link. These approaches are viewed as counter-productive in academic writing. A reader does not need clever or humorous titles to catch their attention because the act of reading research is assumed to be deliberate based on a desire to learn and improve understanding of the problem. In addition, a humorous title can merely detract from the seriousness and authority of your research. 
  • Unlike everywhere else in a college-level social sciences research paper [except when using direct quotes in the text], titles do not have to adhere to rigid grammatical or stylistic standards. For example, it could be appropriate to begin a title with a coordinating conjunction [i.e., and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet] if it makes sense to do so and does not detract from the purpose of the study [e.g., "Yet Another Look at Mutual Fund Tournaments"] or beginning the title with an inflected form of a verb such as those ending in -ing [e.g., "Assessing the Political Landscape: Structure, Cognition, and Power in Organizations"].

Appiah, Kingsley Richard et al. “Structural Organisation of Research Article Titles: A Comparative Study of Titles of Business, Gynaecology and Law.” Advances in Language and Literary Studies 10 (2019); Hartley James. “To Attract or to Inform: What are Titles for?” Journal of Technical Writing and Communication 35 (2005): 203-213; Jaakkola, Maarit. “Journalistic Writing and Style.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication . Jon F. Nussbaum, editor. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018): https://oxfordre.com/communication.

Structure and Writing Style

The following parameters can be used to help you formulate a suitable research paper title:

  • The purpose of the research
  • The scope of the research
  • The narrative tone of the paper [typically defined by the type of the research]
  • The methods used to study the problem

The initial aim of a title is to capture the reader’s attention and to highlight the research problem under investigation.

Create a Working Title Typically, the final title you submit to your professor is created after the research is complete so that the title accurately captures what has been done . The working title should be developed early in the research process because it can help anchor the focus of the study in much the same way the research problem does. Referring back to the working title can help you reorient yourself back to the main purpose of the study if you find yourself drifting off on a tangent while writing. The Final Title Effective titles in research papers have several characteristics that reflect general principles of academic writing.

  • Indicate accurately the subject and scope of the study,
  • Rarely use abbreviations or acronyms unless they are commonly known,
  • Use words that create a positive impression and stimulate reader interest,
  • Use current nomenclature from the field of study,
  • Identify key variables, both dependent and independent,
  • Reveal how the paper will be organized,
  • Suggest a relationship between variables which supports the major hypothesis,
  • Is limited to 5 to 15 substantive words,
  • Does not include redundant phrasing, such as, "A Study of," "An Analysis of" or similar constructions,
  • Takes the form of a question or declarative statement,
  • If you use a quote as part of the title, the source of the quote is cited [usually using an asterisk and footnote],
  • Use correct grammar and capitalization with all first words and last words capitalized, including the first word of a subtitle. All nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs that appear between the first and last words of the title are also capitalized, and
  • Rarely uses an exclamation mark at the end of the title.

The Subtitle Subtitles are frequently used in social sciences research papers because it helps the reader understand the scope of the study in relation to how it was designed to address the research problem. Think about what type of subtitle listed below reflects the overall approach to your study and whether you believe a subtitle is needed to emphasize the investigative parameters of your research.

1.  Explains or provides additional context , e.g., "Linguistic Ethnography and the Study of Welfare Institutions as a Flow of Social Practices: The Case of Residential Child Care Institutions as Paradoxical Institutions." [Palomares, Manuel and David Poveda.  Text & Talk: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse and Communication Studies 30 (January 2010): 193-212]

2.  Adds substance to a literary, provocative, or imaginative title or quote , e.g., "Listen to What I Say, Not How I Vote": Congressional Support for the President in Washington and at Home." [Grose, Christian R. and Keesha M. Middlemass. Social Science Quarterly 91 (March 2010): 143-167]

3.  Qualifies the geographic scope of the research , e.g., "The Geopolitics of the Eastern Border of the European Union: The Case of Romania-Moldova-Ukraine." [Marcu, Silvia. Geopolitics 14 (August 2009): 409-432]

4.  Qualifies the temporal scope of the research , e.g., "A Comparison of the Progressive Era and the Depression Years: Societal Influences on Predictions of the Future of the Library, 1895-1940." [Grossman, Hal B. Libraries & the Cultural Record 46 (2011): 102-128]

5.  Focuses on investigating the ideas, theories, or work of a particular individual , e.g., "A Deliberative Conception of Politics: How Francesco Saverio Merlino Related Anarchy and Democracy." [La Torre, Massimo. Sociologia del Diritto 28 (January 2001): 75 - 98]

6.  Identifies the methodology used , e.g. "Student Activism of the 1960s Revisited: A Multivariate Analysis Research Note." [Aron, William S. Social Forces 52 (March 1974): 408-414]

7.  Defines the overarching technique for analyzing the research problem , e.g., "Explaining Territorial Change in Federal Democracies: A Comparative Historical Institutionalist Approach." [ Tillin, Louise. Political Studies 63 (August 2015): 626-641.

With these examples in mind, think about what type of subtitle reflects the overall approach to your study. This will help the reader understand the scope of the study in relation to how it was designed to address the research problem.

Anstey, A. “Writing Style: What's in a Title?” British Journal of Dermatology 170 (May 2014): 1003-1004; Balch, Tucker. How to Compose a Title for Your Research Paper. Augmented Trader blog. School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Tech University; Bavdekar, Sandeep B. “Formulating the Right Title for a Research Article.” Journal of Association of Physicians of India 64 (February 2016); Choosing the Proper Research Paper Titles. AplusReports.com, 2007-2012; Eva, Kevin W. “Titles, Abstracts, and Authors.” In How to Write a Paper . George M. Hall, editor. 5th edition. (Oxford: John Wiley and Sons, 2013), pp. 33-41; Hartley James. “To Attract or to Inform: What are Titles for?” Journal of Technical Writing and Communication 35 (2005): 203-213; General Format. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Kerkut G.A. “Choosing a Title for a Paper.” Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Physiology 74 (1983): 1; “Tempting Titles.” In Stylish Academic Writing . Helen Sword, editor. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012), pp. 63-75; Nundy, Samiran, et al. “How to Choose a Title?” In How to Practice Academic Medicine and Publish from Developing Countries? A Practical Guide . Edited by Samiran Nundy, Atul Kakar, and Zulfiqar A. Bhutta. (Springer Singapore, 2022), pp. 185-192.

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Steps for Conducting a Scoping Review

Susanne mak.

Both authors are with McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Susanne Mak, MSc, is an Assistant Professor, School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, and an Associate Member, Institute of Health Sciences Education, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

Aliki Thomas

Aliki Thomas, PhD, is an Associate Professor, School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, and an Associate Member, Institute of Health Sciences Education, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

A scoping review is a type of knowledge synthesis that uses a systematic and iterative approach to identify and synthesize an existing or emerging body of literature on a given topic. 1 While there are several reasons for conducting a scoping review, the main reasons are to map the extent, range, and nature of the literature, as well as to determine possible gaps in the literature on a topic. 1 - 3 Scoping reviews are not limited to peer-reviewed literature. 3 , 4

Identifying a Team

Before conducting the review, it is important to consider the composition of the research team: scoping reviews are not conducted by a single individual. The team should include someone with content expertise and an individual with experience conducting scoping reviews. 1 , 3 , 5 Adding a librarian who can assist with building the search strategy is also extremely helpful. 1 , 3 Thoughtful planning of the team membership will result in the right knowledge, skills, and expertise to successfully complete the review and ensure that the findings make a notable contribution to the field.

An overview of the steps involved in conducting scoping reviews is provided below.

Step 1: Identifying the Research Question

Creating the research question is a vital first step. 1 , 3 - 5 A question that is too broad increases the number of papers for consideration, which may affect the feasibility of the review. 5 A question that is too narrow may compromise the breadth and depth of the review. Therefore, a preliminary search of the literature may be helpful in determining: (1) the breadth of your question; (2) whether a scoping review on the topic has already been conducted; and (3) if there is sufficient literature to warrant a scoping review. Consulting with a librarian can help in deciding if a scoping review is the appropriate review method. 1 , 3 In particular, a librarian may confirm that there is insufficient literature or that there is too much, which will necessitate a more targeted research question.

Step 2: Identifying Relevant Studies

Early consultation with a librarian should occur to build the search strategy—keywords, Medical Subject Headings, databases—and further refine the strategy based on the papers found. For example, you may find too many irrelevant papers. In this case you may need to review your search strategy to identify the terms which introduce too much “noise.”

You will also need to define the inclusion and exclusion criteria. 1 , 3 - 5 Discussions with your team are important to ensure diverse perspectives and that the inclusion criteria are aligned with the research question. 5 , 6

Step 3: Selecting Studies to Be Included in the Review

Tools such as Covidence and Rayyan can be helpful in organizing papers and making the screening process more efficient ( Box ). Once you have collected the citations from the search, you can import these from reference management software (eg, EndNote) into Rayyan. After selecting papers for inclusion, the citations of the included papers can be exported to reference management software for the next stage of the review. Other helpful features of management software can include the identification of duplicates, proportion of an abstract that resembles another, and documentation of reasons for inclusion or exclusion. Both Covidence and Rayyan allow for blinding the results of team members' reviews to each other.

  • ▪ Covidence: www.covidence.org
  • ▪ NVivo: https://www.qsrinternational.com/nvivo-qualitative-data-analysis-software/home
  • ▪ Rayyan: https://rayyan.qcri.org/welcome

Having additional reviewers will accelerate the pace of the review but will require calibration between reviewers. 1 , 3 , 5 A calibration exercise consists of selecting 5% to 10% of the papers for independent screening by each reviewer. 1 If a high level of agreement among reviewers is not achieved (eg, lower than 90%), 7 , 8 the reviewers should discuss their points of disagreement and review (and possibly revise) the inclusion criteria. 1 Another 10% of the papers are then selected for a second calibration exercise to test the modified inclusion criteria. If having 2 reviewers for each paper is not feasible, one reviewer can conduct an independent review, with a second reviewer verifying a portion of the papers, with the goal of 90% or better agreement.

The actual screening of papers should consist of reading not only the title of the paper, but the abstract as well. If an abstract is not available, a full-text review of the paper is required. Screening papers by title alone is insufficient, as the contents of a paper are not always well reflected in the title.

Step 4: Charting the Data

The team develops the data extraction form collaboratively. Although the extraction categories vary depending on the research question and review purpose, common categories are: author, year, geographical location, study population, main results, study limitations, and future directions. 4 , 5 More specific categories will be needed to capture the data for a given research question.

The extraction form will need to be pilot tested for further refinements and undergo a calibration exercise as well. 1 , 3 , 5 This entails a dyad of reviewers independently extracting data from a small number of papers (eg, 5-10), and meeting afterward to discuss any discrepancies, with further refinement of the form if a high level of agreement between reviewers is not obtained.

Step 5: Collating, Summarizing, and Reporting the Results

Once the data have been extracted from all papers, numerical and thematic analyses are conducted. 5 The findings from the numerical analysis can be presented in a table or chart to showcase the most salient aspects of the review. Readers should be able to see alignment of findings with objectives for conducting the review. 1 , 3 Thematic analysis 9 consists of examining excerpts of text and asking how this text relates to the research question, as well as creating a code (label) that best reflects that text. A list of tentative codes (a codebook) is created and modified iteratively as the team engages in data analysis. Once codes are developed, a review of the codes and how they relate to each other can help to identify patterns among them, which leads to the creation of categories (collections of similar data in one place) 10 and themes (patterns across the dataset). 9

Reflexivity is essential throughout the review process but especially during thematic analysis, with use of memos, to capture the thoughts that arise from examining and interpreting the data. Once the codes are generated, the research team will further refine them through discussion. 6 The team should discuss not only the clarity of the operational definitions of the codes, but also how the codes are named and how they may relate to each other. As the codes are grouped together, the team will develop themes. 5

Step 6: Consulting Stakeholders (Optional)

Reasons for stakeholder consultation may be to obtain input on the research question and sources of information, and to provide insights on a topic. Other purposes may include obtaining feedback to help shed light on the review findings and pinpoint gaps not explored in the literature. While a stakeholder consultation has been named as the final step of a review, it can be incorporated throughout the review stages and can occur through focus groups, individual interviews, or surveys. 1 , 5

A scoping review is useful to map the literature on evolving or emerging topics and to identify gaps. It may be a step before undertaking research or conducting another type of review, such as a systematic review. Before conducting a scoping review, it is important to consider how the research team will implement each step and who will be involved at each stage, while being mindful that the methodological approach provides teams with the opportunity to move back to earlier stages as the review evolves.

How to Write a Research Paper Introduction (with Examples)

How to Write a Research Paper Introduction (with Examples)

The research paper introduction section, along with the Title and Abstract, can be considered the face of any research paper. The following article is intended to guide you in organizing and writing the research paper introduction for a quality academic article or dissertation.

The research paper introduction aims to present the topic to the reader. A study will only be accepted for publishing if you can ascertain that the available literature cannot answer your research question. So it is important to ensure that you have read important studies on that particular topic, especially those within the last five to ten years, and that they are properly referenced in this section. 1 What should be included in the research paper introduction is decided by what you want to tell readers about the reason behind the research and how you plan to fill the knowledge gap. The best research paper introduction provides a systemic review of existing work and demonstrates additional work that needs to be done. It needs to be brief, captivating, and well-referenced; a well-drafted research paper introduction will help the researcher win half the battle.

The introduction for a research paper is where you set up your topic and approach for the reader. It has several key goals:

  • Present your research topic
  • Capture reader interest
  • Summarize existing research
  • Position your own approach
  • Define your specific research problem and problem statement
  • Highlight the novelty and contributions of the study
  • Give an overview of the paper’s structure

The research paper introduction can vary in size and structure depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or is a review paper. Some research paper introduction examples are only half a page while others are a few pages long. In many cases, the introduction will be shorter than all of the other sections of your paper; its length depends on the size of your paper as a whole.

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Table of Contents

What is the introduction for a research paper, why is the introduction important in a research paper, craft a compelling introduction section with paperpal. try now, 1. introduce the research topic:, 2. determine a research niche:, 3. place your research within the research niche:, craft accurate research paper introductions with paperpal. start writing now, frequently asked questions on research paper introduction, key points to remember.

The introduction in a research paper is placed at the beginning to guide the reader from a broad subject area to the specific topic that your research addresses. They present the following information to the reader

  • Scope: The topic covered in the research paper
  • Context: Background of your topic
  • Importance: Why your research matters in that particular area of research and the industry problem that can be targeted

The research paper introduction conveys a lot of information and can be considered an essential roadmap for the rest of your paper. A good introduction for a research paper is important for the following reasons:

  • It stimulates your reader’s interest: A good introduction section can make your readers want to read your paper by capturing their interest. It informs the reader what they are going to learn and helps determine if the topic is of interest to them.
  • It helps the reader understand the research background: Without a clear introduction, your readers may feel confused and even struggle when reading your paper. A good research paper introduction will prepare them for the in-depth research to come. It provides you the opportunity to engage with the readers and demonstrate your knowledge and authority on the specific topic.
  • It explains why your research paper is worth reading: Your introduction can convey a lot of information to your readers. It introduces the topic, why the topic is important, and how you plan to proceed with your research.
  • It helps guide the reader through the rest of the paper: The research paper introduction gives the reader a sense of the nature of the information that will support your arguments and the general organization of the paragraphs that will follow. It offers an overview of what to expect when reading the main body of your paper.

What are the parts of introduction in the research?

A good research paper introduction section should comprise three main elements: 2

  • What is known: This sets the stage for your research. It informs the readers of what is known on the subject.
  • What is lacking: This is aimed at justifying the reason for carrying out your research. This could involve investigating a new concept or method or building upon previous research.
  • What you aim to do: This part briefly states the objectives of your research and its major contributions. Your detailed hypothesis will also form a part of this section.

How to write a research paper introduction?

The first step in writing the research paper introduction is to inform the reader what your topic is and why it’s interesting or important. This is generally accomplished with a strong opening statement. The second step involves establishing the kinds of research that have been done and ending with limitations or gaps in the research that you intend to address. Finally, the research paper introduction clarifies how your own research fits in and what problem it addresses. If your research involved testing hypotheses, these should be stated along with your research question. The hypothesis should be presented in the past tense since it will have been tested by the time you are writing the research paper introduction.

The following key points, with examples, can guide you when writing the research paper introduction section:

  • Highlight the importance of the research field or topic
  • Describe the background of the topic
  • Present an overview of current research on the topic

Example: The inclusion of experiential and competency-based learning has benefitted electronics engineering education. Industry partnerships provide an excellent alternative for students wanting to engage in solving real-world challenges. Industry-academia participation has grown in recent years due to the need for skilled engineers with practical training and specialized expertise. However, from the educational perspective, many activities are needed to incorporate sustainable development goals into the university curricula and consolidate learning innovation in universities.

  • Reveal a gap in existing research or oppose an existing assumption
  • Formulate the research question

Example: There have been plausible efforts to integrate educational activities in higher education electronics engineering programs. However, very few studies have considered using educational research methods for performance evaluation of competency-based higher engineering education, with a focus on technical and or transversal skills. To remedy the current need for evaluating competencies in STEM fields and providing sustainable development goals in engineering education, in this study, a comparison was drawn between study groups without and with industry partners.

  • State the purpose of your study
  • Highlight the key characteristics of your study
  • Describe important results
  • Highlight the novelty of the study.
  • Offer a brief overview of the structure of the paper.

Example: The study evaluates the main competency needed in the applied electronics course, which is a fundamental core subject for many electronics engineering undergraduate programs. We compared two groups, without and with an industrial partner, that offered real-world projects to solve during the semester. This comparison can help determine significant differences in both groups in terms of developing subject competency and achieving sustainable development goals.

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how to write scope of a research paper

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The purpose of the research paper introduction is to introduce the reader to the problem definition, justify the need for the study, and describe the main theme of the study. The aim is to gain the reader’s attention by providing them with necessary background information and establishing the main purpose and direction of the research.

The length of the research paper introduction can vary across journals and disciplines. While there are no strict word limits for writing the research paper introduction, an ideal length would be one page, with a maximum of 400 words over 1-4 paragraphs. Generally, it is one of the shorter sections of the paper as the reader is assumed to have at least a reasonable knowledge about the topic. 2 For example, for a study evaluating the role of building design in ensuring fire safety, there is no need to discuss definitions and nature of fire in the introduction; you could start by commenting upon the existing practices for fire safety and how your study will add to the existing knowledge and practice.

When deciding what to include in the research paper introduction, the rest of the paper should also be considered. The aim is to introduce the reader smoothly to the topic and facilitate an easy read without much dependency on external sources. 3 Below is a list of elements you can include to prepare a research paper introduction outline and follow it when you are writing the research paper introduction. Topic introduction: This can include key definitions and a brief history of the topic. Research context and background: Offer the readers some general information and then narrow it down to specific aspects. Details of the research you conducted: A brief literature review can be included to support your arguments or line of thought. Rationale for the study: This establishes the relevance of your study and establishes its importance. Importance of your research: The main contributions are highlighted to help establish the novelty of your study Research hypothesis: Introduce your research question and propose an expected outcome. Organization of the paper: Include a short paragraph of 3-4 sentences that highlights your plan for the entire paper

Cite only works that are most relevant to your topic; as a general rule, you can include one to three. Note that readers want to see evidence of original thinking. So it is better to avoid using too many references as it does not leave much room for your personal standpoint to shine through. Citations in your research paper introduction support the key points, and the number of citations depend on the subject matter and the point discussed. If the research paper introduction is too long or overflowing with citations, it is better to cite a few review articles rather than the individual articles summarized in the review. A good point to remember when citing research papers in the introduction section is to include at least one-third of the references in the introduction.

The literature review plays a significant role in the research paper introduction section. A good literature review accomplishes the following: Introduces the topic – Establishes the study’s significance – Provides an overview of the relevant literature – Provides context for the study using literature – Identifies knowledge gaps However, remember to avoid making the following mistakes when writing a research paper introduction: Do not use studies from the literature review to aggressively support your research Avoid direct quoting Do not allow literature review to be the focus of this section. Instead, the literature review should only aid in setting a foundation for the manuscript.

Remember the following key points for writing a good research paper introduction: 4

  • Avoid stuffing too much general information: Avoid including what an average reader would know and include only that information related to the problem being addressed in the research paper introduction. For example, when describing a comparative study of non-traditional methods for mechanical design optimization, information related to the traditional methods and differences between traditional and non-traditional methods would not be relevant. In this case, the introduction for the research paper should begin with the state-of-the-art non-traditional methods and methods to evaluate the efficiency of newly developed algorithms.
  • Avoid packing too many references: Cite only the required works in your research paper introduction. The other works can be included in the discussion section to strengthen your findings.
  • Avoid extensive criticism of previous studies: Avoid being overly critical of earlier studies while setting the rationale for your study. A better place for this would be the Discussion section, where you can highlight the advantages of your method.
  • Avoid describing conclusions of the study: When writing a research paper introduction remember not to include the findings of your study. The aim is to let the readers know what question is being answered. The actual answer should only be given in the Results and Discussion section.

To summarize, the research paper introduction section should be brief yet informative. It should convince the reader the need to conduct the study and motivate him to read further. If you’re feeling stuck or unsure, choose trusted AI academic writing assistants like Paperpal to effortlessly craft your research paper introduction and other sections of your research article.

1. Jawaid, S. A., & Jawaid, M. (2019). How to write introduction and discussion. Saudi Journal of Anaesthesia, 13(Suppl 1), S18.

2. Dewan, P., & Gupta, P. (2016). Writing the title, abstract and introduction: Looks matter!. Indian pediatrics, 53, 235-241.

3. Cetin, S., & Hackam, D. J. (2005). An approach to the writing of a scientific Manuscript1. Journal of Surgical Research, 128(2), 165-167.

4. Bavdekar, S. B. (2015). Writing introduction: Laying the foundations of a research paper. Journal of the Association of Physicians of India, 63(7), 44-6.

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  • What Is a Research Methodology? | Steps & Tips

What Is a Research Methodology? | Steps & Tips

Published on August 25, 2022 by Shona McCombes and Tegan George. Revised on November 20, 2023.

Your research methodology discusses and explains the data collection and analysis methods you used in your research. A key part of your thesis, dissertation , or research paper , the methodology chapter explains what you did and how you did it, allowing readers to evaluate the reliability and validity of your research and your dissertation topic .

It should include:

  • The type of research you conducted
  • How you collected and analyzed your data
  • Any tools or materials you used in the research
  • How you mitigated or avoided research biases
  • Why you chose these methods
  • Your methodology section should generally be written in the past tense .
  • Academic style guides in your field may provide detailed guidelines on what to include for different types of studies.
  • Your citation style might provide guidelines for your methodology section (e.g., an APA Style methods section ).

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Table of contents

How to write a research methodology, why is a methods section important, step 1: explain your methodological approach, step 2: describe your data collection methods, step 3: describe your analysis method, step 4: evaluate and justify the methodological choices you made, tips for writing a strong methodology chapter, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about methodology.

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Your methods section is your opportunity to share how you conducted your research and why you chose the methods you chose. It’s also the place to show that your research was rigorously conducted and can be replicated .

It gives your research legitimacy and situates it within your field, and also gives your readers a place to refer to if they have any questions or critiques in other sections.

You can start by introducing your overall approach to your research. You have two options here.

Option 1: Start with your “what”

What research problem or question did you investigate?

  • Aim to describe the characteristics of something?
  • Explore an under-researched topic?
  • Establish a causal relationship?

And what type of data did you need to achieve this aim?

  • Quantitative data , qualitative data , or a mix of both?
  • Primary data collected yourself, or secondary data collected by someone else?
  • Experimental data gathered by controlling and manipulating variables, or descriptive data gathered via observations?

Option 2: Start with your “why”

Depending on your discipline, you can also start with a discussion of the rationale and assumptions underpinning your methodology. In other words, why did you choose these methods for your study?

  • Why is this the best way to answer your research question?
  • Is this a standard methodology in your field, or does it require justification?
  • Were there any ethical considerations involved in your choices?
  • What are the criteria for validity and reliability in this type of research ? How did you prevent bias from affecting your data?

Once you have introduced your reader to your methodological approach, you should share full details about your data collection methods .

Quantitative methods

In order to be considered generalizable, you should describe quantitative research methods in enough detail for another researcher to replicate your study.

Here, explain how you operationalized your concepts and measured your variables. Discuss your sampling method or inclusion and exclusion criteria , as well as any tools, procedures, and materials you used to gather your data.

Surveys Describe where, when, and how the survey was conducted.

  • How did you design the questionnaire?
  • What form did your questions take (e.g., multiple choice, Likert scale )?
  • Were your surveys conducted in-person or virtually?
  • What sampling method did you use to select participants?
  • What was your sample size and response rate?

Experiments Share full details of the tools, techniques, and procedures you used to conduct your experiment.

  • How did you design the experiment ?
  • How did you recruit participants?
  • How did you manipulate and measure the variables ?
  • What tools did you use?

Existing data Explain how you gathered and selected the material (such as datasets or archival data) that you used in your analysis.

  • Where did you source the material?
  • How was the data originally produced?
  • What criteria did you use to select material (e.g., date range)?

The survey consisted of 5 multiple-choice questions and 10 questions measured on a 7-point Likert scale.

The goal was to collect survey responses from 350 customers visiting the fitness apparel company’s brick-and-mortar location in Boston on July 4–8, 2022, between 11:00 and 15:00.

Here, a customer was defined as a person who had purchased a product from the company on the day they took the survey. Participants were given 5 minutes to fill in the survey anonymously. In total, 408 customers responded, but not all surveys were fully completed. Due to this, 371 survey results were included in the analysis.

  • Information bias
  • Omitted variable bias
  • Regression to the mean
  • Survivorship bias
  • Undercoverage bias
  • Sampling bias

Qualitative methods

In qualitative research , methods are often more flexible and subjective. For this reason, it’s crucial to robustly explain the methodology choices you made.

Be sure to discuss the criteria you used to select your data, the context in which your research was conducted, and the role you played in collecting your data (e.g., were you an active participant, or a passive observer?)

Interviews or focus groups Describe where, when, and how the interviews were conducted.

  • How did you find and select participants?
  • How many participants took part?
  • What form did the interviews take ( structured , semi-structured , or unstructured )?
  • How long were the interviews?
  • How were they recorded?

Participant observation Describe where, when, and how you conducted the observation or ethnography .

  • What group or community did you observe? How long did you spend there?
  • How did you gain access to this group? What role did you play in the community?
  • How long did you spend conducting the research? Where was it located?
  • How did you record your data (e.g., audiovisual recordings, note-taking)?

Existing data Explain how you selected case study materials for your analysis.

  • What type of materials did you analyze?
  • How did you select them?

In order to gain better insight into possibilities for future improvement of the fitness store’s product range, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 8 returning customers.

Here, a returning customer was defined as someone who usually bought products at least twice a week from the store.

Surveys were used to select participants. Interviews were conducted in a small office next to the cash register and lasted approximately 20 minutes each. Answers were recorded by note-taking, and seven interviews were also filmed with consent. One interviewee preferred not to be filmed.

  • The Hawthorne effect
  • Observer bias
  • The placebo effect
  • Response bias and Nonresponse bias
  • The Pygmalion effect
  • Recall bias
  • Social desirability bias
  • Self-selection bias

Mixed methods

Mixed methods research combines quantitative and qualitative approaches. If a standalone quantitative or qualitative study is insufficient to answer your research question, mixed methods may be a good fit for you.

Mixed methods are less common than standalone analyses, largely because they require a great deal of effort to pull off successfully. If you choose to pursue mixed methods, it’s especially important to robustly justify your methods.

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Next, you should indicate how you processed and analyzed your data. Avoid going into too much detail: you should not start introducing or discussing any of your results at this stage.

In quantitative research , your analysis will be based on numbers. In your methods section, you can include:

  • How you prepared the data before analyzing it (e.g., checking for missing data , removing outliers , transforming variables)
  • Which software you used (e.g., SPSS, Stata or R)
  • Which statistical tests you used (e.g., two-tailed t test , simple linear regression )

In qualitative research, your analysis will be based on language, images, and observations (often involving some form of textual analysis ).

Specific methods might include:

  • Content analysis : Categorizing and discussing the meaning of words, phrases and sentences
  • Thematic analysis : Coding and closely examining the data to identify broad themes and patterns
  • Discourse analysis : Studying communication and meaning in relation to their social context

Mixed methods combine the above two research methods, integrating both qualitative and quantitative approaches into one coherent analytical process.

Above all, your methodology section should clearly make the case for why you chose the methods you did. This is especially true if you did not take the most standard approach to your topic. In this case, discuss why other methods were not suitable for your objectives, and show how this approach contributes new knowledge or understanding.

In any case, it should be overwhelmingly clear to your reader that you set yourself up for success in terms of your methodology’s design. Show how your methods should lead to results that are valid and reliable, while leaving the analysis of the meaning, importance, and relevance of your results for your discussion section .

  • Quantitative: Lab-based experiments cannot always accurately simulate real-life situations and behaviors, but they are effective for testing causal relationships between variables .
  • Qualitative: Unstructured interviews usually produce results that cannot be generalized beyond the sample group , but they provide a more in-depth understanding of participants’ perceptions, motivations, and emotions.
  • Mixed methods: Despite issues systematically comparing differing types of data, a solely quantitative study would not sufficiently incorporate the lived experience of each participant, while a solely qualitative study would be insufficiently generalizable.

Remember that your aim is not just to describe your methods, but to show how and why you applied them. Again, it’s critical to demonstrate that your research was rigorously conducted and can be replicated.

1. Focus on your objectives and research questions

The methodology section should clearly show why your methods suit your objectives and convince the reader that you chose the best possible approach to answering your problem statement and research questions .

2. Cite relevant sources

Your methodology can be strengthened by referencing existing research in your field. This can help you to:

  • Show that you followed established practice for your type of research
  • Discuss how you decided on your approach by evaluating existing research
  • Present a novel methodological approach to address a gap in the literature

3. Write for your audience

Consider how much information you need to give, and avoid getting too lengthy. If you are using methods that are standard for your discipline, you probably don’t need to give a lot of background or justification.

Regardless, your methodology should be a clear, well-structured text that makes an argument for your approach, not just a list of technical details and procedures.

If you want to know more about statistics , methodology , or research bias , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Normal distribution
  • Measures of central tendency
  • Chi square tests
  • Confidence interval
  • Quartiles & Quantiles


  • Cluster sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Thematic analysis
  • Cohort study
  • Peer review
  • Ethnography

Research bias

  • Implicit bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Conformity bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Availability heuristic
  • Attrition bias

Methodology refers to the overarching strategy and rationale of your research project . It involves studying the methods used in your field and the theories or principles behind them, in order to develop an approach that matches your objectives.

Methods are the specific tools and procedures you use to collect and analyze data (for example, experiments, surveys , and statistical tests ).

In shorter scientific papers, where the aim is to report the findings of a specific study, you might simply describe what you did in a methods section .

In a longer or more complex research project, such as a thesis or dissertation , you will probably include a methodology section , where you explain your approach to answering the research questions and cite relevant sources to support your choice of methods.

In a scientific paper, the methodology always comes after the introduction and before the results , discussion and conclusion . The same basic structure also applies to a thesis, dissertation , or research proposal .

Depending on the length and type of document, you might also include a literature review or theoretical framework before the methodology.

Quantitative research deals with numbers and statistics, while qualitative research deals with words and meanings.

Quantitative methods allow you to systematically measure variables and test hypotheses . Qualitative methods allow you to explore concepts and experiences in more detail.

Reliability and validity are both about how well a method measures something:

  • Reliability refers to the  consistency of a measure (whether the results can be reproduced under the same conditions).
  • Validity   refers to the  accuracy of a measure (whether the results really do represent what they are supposed to measure).

If you are doing experimental research, you also have to consider the internal and external validity of your experiment.

A sample is a subset of individuals from a larger population . Sampling means selecting the group that you will actually collect data from in your research. For example, if you are researching the opinions of students in your university, you could survey a sample of 100 students.

In statistics, sampling allows you to test a hypothesis about the characteristics of a population.

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  1. Scope of the Research

    Scope of research refers to the range of topics, areas, and subjects that a research project intends to cover. It is the extent and limitations of the study, defining what is included and excluded in the research. The scope of a research project depends on various factors, such as the research questions, objectives, methodology, and available ...

  2. How to Write the Scope of the Study

    In order to write the scope of the study that you plan to perform, you must be clear on the research parameters that you will and won't consider. These parameters usually consist of the sample size, the duration, inclusion and exclusion criteria, the methodology and any geographical or monetary constraints. Each of these parameters will have ...

  3. How do I determine scope of research?

    To define your scope of research, consider the following: Budget constraints or any specifics of grant funding. Your proposed timeline and duration. Specifics about your population of study, your proposed sample size, and the research methodology you'll pursue. Any inclusion and exclusion criteria. Any anticipated control, extraneous, or ...

  4. Scope and Delimitations

    The scope and delimitations of a thesis, dissertation or research paper define the topic and boundaries of the research problem to be investigated. The scope details how in-depth your study is to explore the research question and the parameters in which it will operate in relation to the population and timeframe.

  5. Scope and Delimitations in Research

    Your study's scope and delimitations are the sections where you define the broader parameters and boundaries of your research. The scope details what your study will explore, such as the target population, extent, or study duration. Delimitations are factors and variables not included in the study. Scope and delimitations are not methodological ...

  6. Decoding the Scope and Delimitations of the Study in Research

    The scope of a research paper explains the context and framework for the study, outlines the extent, variables, or dimensions that will be investigated, and provides details of the parameters within which the study is conducted. Delimitations in research, on the other hand, refer to the limitations imposed on the study.

  7. How do I present the scope of my study?

    Typically, the information that you need to include in the scope would cover the following: 1. General purpose of the study. 2. The population or sample that you are studying. 3. The duration of the study. 4. The topics or theories that you will discuss.

  8. Scope and Delimitations in Research

    Scope refers to the range of the research project and the study limitations set in place to define the boundaries of the project and delimitation refers to the specific aspects of the research project that the study will focus on. In simpler words, scope is the breadth of your study, while delimitation is the depth of your study.

  9. Scope of Research

    The scope of your project sets clear parameters for your research. A scope statement will give basic information about the depth and breadth of the project. It tells your reader exactly what you want to find out, how you will conduct your study, the reports and deliverables that will be part of the outcome of the study, and the responsibilities ...

  10. How to write the scope of study?

    Typically, the information that you need to include in the scope for your study would cover the following: 1. General purpose of the study. 2. The population or sample that you are studying. 3. The duration of the study. 4. The topics or theories that you will discuss.

  11. Research Objectives

    Defining a scope can be very useful in any research project, from a research proposal to a thesis or dissertation. A scope is needed for all types of research: quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. To define your scope of research, consider the following: Budget constraints or any specifics of grant funding; Your proposed timeline and ...

  12. How To Write Scope and Delimitation of a Research Paper ...

    This portion tells two things: 1. The study's "Scope" - concepts and variables you have explored in your research and; The study's "Delimitation" - the "boundaries" of your study's scope. It sets apart the things included in your analysis from those excluded. For example, your scope might be the effectiveness of plant ...

  13. How to Write a Thesis or Dissertation Introduction

    To help guide your reader, end your introduction with an outline of the structure of the thesis or dissertation to follow. Share a brief summary of each chapter, clearly showing how each contributes to your central aims. However, be careful to keep this overview concise: 1-2 sentences should be enough. Note.

  14. How To Write A Research Paper (FREE Template

    We've covered a lot of ground here. To recap, the three steps to writing a high-quality research paper are: To choose a research question and review the literature. To plan your paper structure and draft an outline. To take an iterative approach to writing, focusing on critical writing and strong referencing.

  15. How to Write a Research Paper

    By refining your focus, you can produce a thoughtful and engaging paper that effectively communicates your ideas to your readers. 5. Write a thesis statement. A thesis statement is a one-to-two-sentence summary of your research paper's main argument or direction.

  16. Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

    The scope of the research; The narrative tone of the paper [typically defined by the type of the research] The methods used to study the problem; The initial aim of a title is to capture the reader's attention and to highlight the research problem under investigation. Create a Working Title Typically, the final title you submit to your ...

  17. Writing a Research Paper Introduction

    Step 1: Introduce your topic. Step 2: Describe the background. Step 3: Establish your research problem. Step 4: Specify your objective (s) Step 5: Map out your paper. Research paper introduction examples. Frequently asked questions about the research paper introduction.

  18. Steps for Conducting a Scoping Review

    Step 1: Identifying the Research Question. Creating the research question is a vital first step. 1, 3-5 A question that is too broad increases the number of papers for consideration, which may affect the feasibility of the review. 5 A question that is too narrow may compromise the breadth and depth of the review. Therefore, a preliminary search of the literature may be helpful in determining ...

  19. How to Write a Research Paper Introduction (with Examples)

    Define your specific research problem and problem statement. Highlight the novelty and contributions of the study. Give an overview of the paper's structure. The research paper introduction can vary in size and structure depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or is a review paper.

  20. How to Write a Research Paper

    Develop a thesis statement. Create a research paper outline. Write a first draft of the research paper. Write the introduction. Write a compelling body of text. Write the conclusion. The second draft. The revision process. Research paper checklist.

  21. How to Write a Research Proposal

    Writing a research proposal can be quite challenging, but a good starting point could be to look at some examples. We've included a few for you below. Example research proposal #1: "A Conceptual Framework for Scheduling Constraint Management" Example research proposal #2: "Medical Students as Mediators of Change in Tobacco Use" Title page

  22. What Is a Research Methodology?

    Step 1: Explain your methodological approach. Step 2: Describe your data collection methods. Step 3: Describe your analysis method. Step 4: Evaluate and justify the methodological choices you made. Tips for writing a strong methodology chapter. Other interesting articles.