What Do You Mean by Limitations in Research?

While writing an academic paper, you are required to include diverse information and organize it into different sections. One of them is limitations in research, which is considered to be a negative one.

However, it is actually a positive section, as it supports how you reach the stated research findings. In other words, it helps in evaluating the relevance as well as the impact of your findings. Still, many students are unwilling to include it in their papers but this should not be done. Let’s comprehend these limitations exactly so that you stay motivated to include them in your academic papers.

The Meaning of Research Limitations

Each research is associated with its limitations. They trigger because of the methodology constraints or restrictions of research design. As a result, they significantly influence your research paper.

Many students or researchers actually favor skipping the limitations part, as they believe that it can reduce the paper value for the readers such as journal editors, professors, and other researchers.

However, it is actually professional to reveal the limitations, as it indicates your transparency to reveal things as they are. You first need to comprehend them as well as the influence they may have on your overall paper. Then, you can easily explain how they affected your thoughts and conclusion based on the research done.

Even if these restrictions reflect the drawbacks of your future research, you still should add them to your paper. Doing so simply support your paper, as you reveal all the issues prior to the readers exploring by themselves.

When you point out each restriction, it shows that you have researched even the feeble side of your research and that you comprehend the subject area profoundly. Above all, adding research limitations to your paper shows that you are honest, which can impress readers.

Ordinary Limitations

To comprehend deeper, the following are some common limitations that you will come across:

  • Time Constraints: It is obvious for any study or research paper to have a deadline. Students need to work as per this set time to complete and submit the paper. However, at times, time can be too less to complete it, which then becomes a constraint to influence your research unfavorably. If this is true, it is good to acknowledge it and specify a requirement of future research to resolve the primary issue.
    Personal Conflicts: It is common for a few researchers or students to have biased opinions due to their personal beliefs or cultural background. Obviously, even this can negatively affect your research. Further, those with biased opinions can end up selecting only those outcomes and facts that favor their primary arguments. However, this limitation can be easily avoided by focusing on neutral data compilation.
    Controlled Information Access: Sometimes, your research can revolve around some people or institutions. You may not easily get access to these entities or their precise information. As a result, you feel the need to rewrite the whole paper. It is wise to mention this limitation along with the cause of such restricted access.
    Financial Restrictions: In this digital age, it is common to look for an extra software tool or equipment for performing profound research. This can be an issue, as there might not be enough money to invest in the same.
    Approach to Research and Data Collection Methods: Many ways of gathering data exist, including surveys and interviews. How do you collect data can be a genuine restriction, as the outcomes can differ significantly. This is also the case with the research method you use. Various methods come with distinct prospects. The data quality is usually dependent on the method you select.

Including Research Limitations in Academic Papers

In the case of qualitative research, the limitations can be specified clearly even before the readers begin to read the research. At times, they are seen only after the whole paper is read.

You should clearly state the limitations at the beginning of the Discussion paragraph, which is the last section. They should come just after the strong aspects of the research methodology are accentuated. Just reduce their range of scope and acknowledge them in the conclusion.


Limitations in research should be clearly stated as the potential shortcomings in a research paper. Doing so shows that you are fair and transparent.