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How to Create an Effective Thesis Statement in 5 Easy Steps
Creating a thesis statement can be a daunting task. It’s one of the most important sentences in your paper, and it needs to be done right. But don’t worry — with these five easy steps, you’ll be able to create an effective thesis statement in no time.
Step 1: Brainstorm Ideas
The first step is to brainstorm ideas for your paper. Think about what you want to say and write down any ideas that come to mind. This will help you narrow down your focus and make it easier to create your thesis statement.
Step 2: Research Your Topic
Once you have some ideas, it’s time to do some research on your topic. Look for sources that support your ideas and provide evidence for the points you want to make. This will help you refine your argument and make it more convincing.
Step 3: Formulate Your Argument
Now that you have done some research, it’s time to formulate your argument. Take the points you want to make and put them into one or two sentences that clearly state what your paper is about. This will be the basis of your thesis statement.
Step 4: Refine Your Thesis Statement
Once you have formulated your argument, it’s time to refine your thesis statement. Make sure that it is clear, concise, and specific. It should also be arguable so that readers can disagree with it if they choose.
Step 5: Test Your Thesis Statement
The last step is to test your thesis statement. Does it accurately reflect the points you want to make? Is it clear and concise? Does it make an arguable point? If not, go back and refine it until it meets all of these criteria.
Creating an effective thesis statement doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With these five easy steps, you can create a strong thesis statement in no time at all.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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The Research Gap (Literature Gap)
Everything you need to know to find a quality research gap
By: Ethar Al-Saraf (PhD) | Expert Reviewed By: Eunice Rautenbach (DTech) | November 2022
If you’re just starting out in research, chances are you’ve heard about the elusive research gap (also called a literature gap). In this post, we’ll explore the tricky topic of research gaps. We’ll explain what a research gap is, look at the four most common types of research gaps, and unpack how you can go about finding a suitable research gap for your dissertation, thesis or research project.
Overview: Research Gap 101
- What is a research gap
- Four common types of research gaps
- How to find research gaps
- Recap & key takeaways
What (exactly) is a research gap?
Well, at the simplest level, a research gap is essentially an unanswered question or unresolved problem in a field, which reflects a lack of existing research in that space. Alternatively, a research gap can also exist when there’s already a fair deal of existing research, but where the findings of the studies pull in different directions , making it difficult to draw firm conclusions.
For example, let’s say your research aims to identify the cause (or causes) of a particular disease. Upon reviewing the literature, you may find that there’s a body of research that points toward cigarette smoking as a key factor – but at the same time, a large body of research that finds no link between smoking and the disease. In that case, you may have something of a research gap that warrants further investigation.
Now that we’ve defined what a research gap is – an unanswered question or unresolved problem – let’s look at a few different types of research gaps.
The different types of research gaps
While there are many different types of research gaps, the four most common ones we encounter when helping students at Grad Coach are as follows:
- The classic literature gap
- The disagreement gap
- The contextual gap, and
- The methodological gap
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1. The Classic Literature Gap
First up is the classic literature gap. This type of research gap emerges when there’s a new concept or phenomenon that hasn’t been studied much, or at all. For example, when a social media platform is launched, there’s an opportunity to explore its impacts on users, how it could be leveraged for marketing, its impact on society, and so on. The same applies for new technologies, new modes of communication, transportation, etc.
Classic literature gaps can present exciting research opportunities , but a drawback you need to be aware of is that with this type of research gap, you’ll be exploring completely new territory . This means you’ll have to draw on adjacent literature (that is, research in adjacent fields) to build your literature review, as there naturally won’t be very many existing studies that directly relate to the topic. While this is manageable, it can be challenging for first-time researchers, so be careful not to bite off more than you can chew.
2. The Disagreement Gap
As the name suggests, the disagreement gap emerges when there are contrasting or contradictory findings in the existing research regarding a specific research question (or set of questions). The hypothetical example we looked at earlier regarding the causes of a disease reflects a disagreement gap.
Importantly, for this type of research gap, there needs to be a relatively balanced set of opposing findings . In other words, a situation where 95% of studies find one result and 5% find the opposite result wouldn’t quite constitute a disagreement in the literature. Of course, it’s hard to quantify exactly how much weight to give to each study, but you’ll need to at least show that the opposing findings aren’t simply a corner-case anomaly .
3. The Contextual Gap
The third type of research gap is the contextual gap. Simply put, a contextual gap exists when there’s already a decent body of existing research on a particular topic, but an absence of research in specific contexts .
For example, there could be a lack of research on:
- A specific population – perhaps a certain age group, gender or ethnicity
- A geographic area – for example, a city, country or region
- A certain time period – perhaps the bulk of the studies took place many years or even decades ago and the landscape has changed.
The contextual gap is a popular option for dissertations and theses, especially for first-time researchers, as it allows you to develop your research on a solid foundation of existing literature and potentially even use existing survey measures.
Importantly, if you’re gonna go this route, you need to ensure that there’s a plausible reason why you’d expect potential differences in the specific context you choose. If there’s no reason to expect different results between existing and new contexts, the research gap wouldn’t be well justified. So, make sure that you can clearly articulate why your chosen context is “different” from existing studies and why that might reasonably result in different findings.
4. The Methodological Gap
Last but not least, we have the methodological gap. As the name suggests, this type of research gap emerges as a result of the research methodology or design of existing studies. With this approach, you’d argue that the methodology of existing studies is lacking in some way , or that they’re missing a certain perspective.
For example, you might argue that the bulk of the existing research has taken a quantitative approach, and therefore there is a lack of rich insight and texture that a qualitative study could provide. Similarly, you might argue that existing studies have primarily taken a cross-sectional approach , and as a result, have only provided a snapshot view of the situation – whereas a longitudinal approach could help uncover how constructs or variables have evolved over time.
How To Find A Research Gap
Now that you’ve got a clearer picture of the different types of research gaps, the next question is of course, “how do you find these research gaps?” .
Well, we cover the process of how to find original, high-value research gaps in a separate post . But, for now, I’ll share a basic two-step strategy here to help you find potential research gaps.
As a starting point, you should find as many literature reviews, systematic reviews and meta-analyses as you can, covering your area of interest. Additionally, you should dig into the most recent journal articles to wrap your head around the current state of knowledge. It’s also a good idea to look at recent dissertations and theses (especially doctoral-level ones). Dissertation databases such as ProQuest, EBSCO and Open Access are a goldmine for this sort of thing. Importantly, make sure that you’re looking at recent resources (ideally those published in the last year or two), or the gaps you find might have already been plugged by other researchers.
Once you’ve gathered a meaty collection of resources, the section that you really want to focus on is the one titled “ further research opportunities ” or “further research is needed”. In this section, the researchers will explicitly state where more studies are required – in other words, where potential research gaps may exist. You can also look at the “ limitations ” section of the studies, as this will often spur ideas for methodology-based research gaps.
By following this process, you’ll orient yourself with the current state of research , which will lay the foundation for you to identify potential research gaps. You can then start drawing up a shortlist of ideas and evaluating them as candidate topics . But remember, make sure you’re looking at recent articles – there’s no use going down a rabbit hole only to find that someone’s already filled the gap 🙂
We’ve covered a lot of ground in this post. Here are the key takeaways:
- A research gap is an unanswered question or unresolved problem in a field, which reflects a lack of existing research in that space.
- The four most common types of research gaps are the classic literature gap, the disagreement gap, the contextual gap and the methodological gap.
- To find potential research gaps, start by reviewing recent journal articles in your area of interest, paying particular attention to the FRIN section .
If you’re keen to learn more about research gaps and research topic ideation in general, be sure to check out the rest of the Grad Coach Blog . Alternatively, if you’re looking for 1-on-1 support with your dissertation, thesis or research project, be sure to check out our private coaching service .
Psst… there’s more (for free)
This post is part of our dissertation mini-course, which covers everything you need to get started with your dissertation, thesis or research project.
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Research to Action
The Global Guide to Research Impact
- Gap analysis for literature reviews and advancing useful knowledge
By Steve Wallis and Bernadette Wright 02/06/2020
The basics of research are seemingly clear. Read a lot of articles, see what’s missing, and conduct research to fill the gap in the literature. Wait a minute. What is that? ‘See what’s missing?’ How can we see something that is not there?
Imagine you are videoconferencing a colleague who is showing you the results of their project. Suddenly, the screen and sound cut out for a minute. After pressing some keys, you manage to restore the link; only to have your colleague ask, ‘What do you think?’. Of course, you know that you missed something from the presentation because of the disconnection. You can see that something is missing, and you know what to ask for to get your desired results, ‘Sorry, could you repeat that last minute of your presentation, please’. It’s not so easy when we’re looking at research results, proposals, or literature reviews.
While all research is, to some extent, useful, we’ve seen a lot of research that does not have the expected impact. That means wasted time, wasted money, under-served clients, and frustration on multiple levels. A big part of that problem is that directions for research are often chosen intuitively; in a sort of ad-hoc process. While we deeply respect the intuition of experts, that kind of process is not very rigorous.
In this post, we will show you how to ‘see the invisible’: How to identify the missing pieces in any study, literature review, or program analysis. With these straight-forward techniques, you will be able to better target your research in a more cost-effective way to fill those knowledge gaps to develop more effective theories, plans, and evaluations.
The first step is to choose your source material. That can be one or more articles, reports, or other study results. Of course, you want to be sure that the material you use is of high quality . Next, you want to create a causal map of your source material.
We’re going to go a bit abstract on you here because people sometimes get lost in the ‘content’ when what we are looking at here is more about the ‘structure’. Think of it like choosing how to buy a house based on how well it is built, rather than what color it is painted. So, instead of using actual concepts, we’ll refer to them as concepts A, B, C… and so on.
So, the text might say something like: ‘Our research shows that A causes B, B causes C, and D causes less C. Oh yes, and E is also important (although we’re not sure how it’s causally connected to A, B, C, or D)’.
When we draw causal maps from the source material we’ve found, we like to have key concepts in circles, with causal connections represented by arrows.
Figure 1. Abstract example of a causal map of a theory
There are really three basic kinds of gaps for you to find: relevance/meaning, logic/structure, and data/evidence. Starting with structure, there is a gap any place where there are two circles NOT connected by a causal arrow. It is important to have at least two arrows pointing at each concept/circle for the same reason we like to have multiple independent variables for each dependent variable (although, with more complex maps, we’re learning to see these as interdependent variables).
For example, there is no arrow between A and D. Also, there is no arrow between E and any of the other concepts. Each of those is a structural gap – an opening for additional research.
You might also notice that there are two arrows pointing directly at C. Like having two independent variables and one dependent variable, it is structurally better to have at least two arrows pointing at each concept.
So, structurally , C is in good shape. This part of the map has the least need for additional research. A larger gap exists around B, because it has only one arrow pointing at it (the arrow from A to B). Larger still is the gap around A, D, and E; because they have no arrows pointing at them.
To get the greatest leverage for your research dollar, it is generally best to search for that second arrow. In short, one research question would be: What (aside from A) has a causal influence on B? Other good research questions would be (a) Is there a causal relationship between A and D? (b) Is there a causal relationship between E and any of the other concepts? (c) What else besides A helps cause B? (d) What are the causes of A, D, and E?
Now, let’s take a look at gaps in the data, evidence, or information upon which each causal arrow is established.
From structure to data
Here, we add to the drawing by making a note showing (very briefly) the kind of data supporting each causal arrow. We like to have that in a box – with a loopy line ‘typing’ the evidence to the connection. You can also use different colors to more easily differentiate between the concepts and the evidence on your map. You can also write the note along the length of the arrow.
Figure 2. Tying the data to the structure
From data to stakeholder relevance
Finally, the gap in meaning (relevance) asks if those studies were done with the ‘right’ people. By this, we mean people related to the situation or topic you are studying. Managers, line workers, clients, suppliers, those providing related services; all of those and more should be included. Similarly, you might look to a variety of academic disciplines, drawing expertise from psychology, sociology, business, economics, policy, and others.
Which participants or stakeholders are actually part of your research depends on the project. However, in general, having a broader selection of stakeholder groups results in a better map. This applies to both choosing what concepts go on the map and also who to contact for interviews and surveys.
Visualizing the gaps
All of these three gaps – gaps in structure, data, and stakeholder perspectives – can (and should) be addressed to help you choose more focused directions for your research – to generate research results that will have more impact. As a final note, remember that many gaps may be filled with secondary research; a new literature review that fills the gaps in the logic/structure, data/information, and meaning/relevance of your map so that your organisation can have a greater impact.
Figure 3. Visualizing the gaps (shown in green)
Some deeper reading on literature reviews may be found here:
- Practical Mapping for Applied Research and Program Evaluation (SAGE) provides a ‘jargon free’ explanation for every phase of research:
https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/practical-mapping-for-applied-research-and-program-evaluation/book261152 (especially Chapter 3)
- This paper uses theories for addressing poverty from a range of academic disciplines and from policy centers from across the political spectrum as an example of interdisciplinary knowledge mapping and synthesis:
- Restructuring evaluation findings into useful knowledge:
This approach helps you to avoid fuzzy understandings and the dangerous ‘pretence of knowledge’ that occasionally crops up in some reports and recommendations. Everyone can see that a piece is missing and so more easily agree where more research is needed to advance our knowledge to better serve our organisational and community constituents.
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Home Market Research
What is Gap Analysis: Definition, Method, and Template
It’s an old problem in business: you want to grow your company and put your strategy into action, but you need to know where or how to put your money to make it happen. Sounds familiar? You should do a gap analysis if this is the case.
An organization needs to make the best use of its resources, money, and technology to reach its full potential. A gap analysis can help in this situation.
A gap analysis also called a needs analysis, is important for the performance of any organization. It lets companies see where they are now and where they want to be. With a gap analysis, companies can look at their goals again to see if they are on the right track to achieving them.
So this blog will explain gap analysis, its methods, gap analysis template, and more.
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You will read in detail about the 5 gap analysis tools that your business might need to learn and identify the gaps in your business and excel by analyzing the data collected by following the steps on how to do a gap analysis. Let us first understand the tools needed to conduct a gap analysis.
Gap Analysis: Definition
Importance of gap analysis, types of gap analysis, when to use a gap analysis.
- How to Do: A 5-Step gap analysis template with an example
Gap analysis tools
Gap analysis process using questionpro survey software.
The term “gap” refers to the space between “where we are” (the present state) and where “we want to be” (the target state). Gap analysis assesses the differences between the actual and expected performance in an organization or a business. It can also be called a need analysis, need assessment, or need-gap analysis.
In the 1980s, gap analyses were often used together with duration analyses. It is harder to use and less common than a duration analysis, but it can still be used to determine how exposed you are to different changes in the term structure.
LEARN ABOUT: Level of Analysis
Consider hypothetically, as an organization, and you have manufactured product A. This product has reached the target audience in the market. Product A has all the qualities to excel in the market, including the right features, pricing margin, and demand. Yet the product didn’t perform well in the market for some reason.
Learn more: What is Market Research?
Gap analysis can be performed on:
- A Strategic Level – to compare the condition or level of your company with that of the industry standards
- At an Operational Level – To compare your business’s current state or performance with what you had desired.
Here is where a gap analysis process would play a crucial role in understanding internal and external factors, where the product is and what it lacks, where it needs to be to secure its place in the market and give a tough fight to any other competitor offering a similar product.
LEARN ABOUT: Test Market Demand
Here are some key points that show how gap analysis is important:
- Gap analysis helps find areas for improvement in your processes, products, or services.
- It helps to develop good plans to close the gaps between what they want to do and what they do.
- It aids in setting priorities and effectively allocating resources.
- Pointing out areas where organizations need to be more compliant helps ensure compliance with rules and regulations.
- This can help improve performance, increase efficiency, and cut costs.
- It enhances decision-making and enables companies to make smart choices by providing data-driven insights.
- By identifying gaps in the market or customer needs, it can find opportunities for growth and expansion.
- The effectiveness of improvement initiatives over time can be tracked using it to gauge progress.
Gap analysis is useful for businesses that want to improve performance, get more done, and reach their goals.
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Businesses can use different kinds of gap analysis, depending on their needs and goals. Here are a few of the most popular:
1. Performance gap analysis
This type of analysis finds the difference between an organization’s or person’s expected performance and their actual performance.
2. Product gap analysis
This analysis finds the difference between the features and capabilities of a product and what the customer wants.
3. Market gap analysis
This analysis examines the gap between the market’s wants and the company’s products or services.
4. Compliance gap analysis
This analysis shows the difference between the required regulatory standards and what an organization does.
5. Strategic gap analysis
This type of analysis helps organizations find the gap between where they are now and where they want to be in the future regarding their strategic objectives and goals.
By choosing the right type of gap analysis, companies can learn important things about their performance, find places to improve, and develop effective plans to reach their desired state.
A gap analysis can be used in many situations, including:
- Process Improvement: When a business wants to improve its processes or operations, a profit gap analysis can find areas of inefficiency or performance that need fixing.
- Product Development: this can be used to evaluate customer needs and expectations to ensure a new product meets their needs.
- Compliance and Risk Management: It can help find regulatory gaps and ensure an organization follows all laws and rules.
- Organizational Change: When a company’s structure changes, it can help find areas of misalignment or gaps in research skills , knowledge, or resources that need to be addressed.
- Performance Management: It can help find areas where employees, teams, or departments aren’t performing as well as they could be and develop plans to improve performance and productivity.
LEARN ABOUT: Action Research
In these situations, companies can use it to find areas that need improvement, decide which actions to take first and develop effective strategic planning to reach their goals.
How to Do: A 5-step gap analysis template with an example
A gap analysis template shows employees where your company can improve by showing the difference between reality and target. It’s a terrific method to visualize data and illustrate where your company is suffering and excelling.
In our discussion of the gap analysis template below, we’ll cover the steps of conducting it that can be applied inside a department, your entire firm, or a particular process. The four phases in the template below will help you identify and fix your research problems .
The following steps of conducting a gap analysis template can be followed to analyze and identify loops in your entire business:
Step 1: Identify the area to focus on-
You need to know where to focus. That will be your primary requirement. Whether the issue is financing, product quality or marketing, etc, be specific so that you can focus better.
For example, suppose you want to identify the gaps in your ketchup business. In that case, you need to decide whether to focus on product quality or marketing to identify and eliminate those gaps.
Step 2: Identify what goals you want to achieve-
Now that you know the area to focus on, set your target or goals. Set realistic smart goals and make sure to align them with your business goals and needs.
For instance, your ketchup manufacturing business aims to produce and sell 162000 units of ketchup in the next year compared to 120000 being sold this year.
Step 3: Know your current state-
Before you go any further, know where you stand currently. By looking into your business reports, you will know your current position in the market, brainstorm and gather as much data as possible on your business’s current performance.
In this case, your ketchup brand currently sells around 100000 units monthly.
Step 4: Determine where you want to be in the future-
Define and determine your parameters, and remember you have set smart goals. By achieving those goals, you will be able to achieve the desired position for your business in the future.
For instance, for your ketchup brand, answer the following question in this step:
Where do you foresee your ketchup manufacturing business in the next year? – The answer can probably be a 35% increase in monthly unit sales.
Step 5: Understand the gaps between the two states-
Now that you have a clear understanding of the attributes of where you stand currently (present state) and where you desire to be in the future (desired state), it is now easy for you to identify what is stopping you from achieving your targets. After you have identified your gaps, make yourself equipped to close those gaps.
You need to understand the drawbacks of your current situation compared to your aspirations. Understand factors such as: What are the efforts being made to achieve success? Or Are attempts being made to improve the quality of the product? Or What are the marketing activities being conducted to hike up the sales volume?
The production needs to ramp up along with a boost in marketing and sales activities. Many teams have to work in unison to sell 135000 units a month compared to the existing 100000 units. Marketing managers need to develop effective strategies for improvement on the basis of the identified strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the business.
Learn more: Advanced Analysis with QuestionPro
If you are a business owner, ask yourself
- How far have you come from the work you had planned at the beginning of the year?
- What products or services were you promised to roll out?
- Are they already on the floor?
- Do you have an idea about what worked and what didn’t? And why?
This type of tool can help you compare your business or project’s actual performance against the performance you had planned to achieve. This way, you can figure out what worked for you and what didn’t, what decision you made right and what was not so right!
Learn more: Quantitative Market Research
Here are the 3 gap analysis tools you can use when conducting a gap analysis for your business or organization:
SWOT focuses on Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats in the internal and external environment analysis , respectively. SWOT analysis helps you determine your current industry or market position.
How to carry out SWOT to analyze Gap?
- Gather a team of experts from the relevant department so that their expertise will help you identify the problem and the gaps immediately.
- Create a SWOT analysis matrix.
- Next, list down all the internal strengths and weaknesses.
- Note down the opportunities and threats that an external environment might cause.
- Rearrange each bullet point in order of highest priority at the top and the least important at the bottom.
- Analyze how you can use your strengths to minimize weaknesses and use the best available opportunities to avoid or eliminate threats.
Fig: SWOT Analysis Matrix
Learn more: Strategic Analysis for business research
- McKinsey 7s
McKinsey 7s can help you with the following gap analysis purpose:
- To help you understand the gaps that are evident and that may appear
- To help you identify the areas to optimize and boost performance
- To align the respective processes during a merger or an acquisition, if you have had one recently or are planning to have one.
- Helps you examine the results of future changes within the business.
Learn more: How to do Market Research for a Business Plan
The 7s refers to the key interrelated elements of an organization. They are:
- Shared values
These elements are divided into two distinct groups: hard elements (tangible factors that can be controlled) and soft elements (intangible factors that cannot be controlled)
Hard elements are as follows:
- Strategy – the plan that will help your company gain an advantage over any of your competitors .
- Structure – the plan or the layout that will define your entire organizational chart structure.
- Systems – business and technical knowledge your employees already use to complete their daily tasks.
Learn more: Employee Evaluation Survey
Soft elements are as follows:
- Shared values – these are the set of beliefs or traits that the organization values.
- Style – A leadership style that defines the organization’s culture.
- Staff – people who are the backbone or the asset of an organization.
- Skills – The tool that the employees have to help you succeed.
How to apply McKinsey 7s?
- Start with gathering a competent team.
- Look for gaps and weaknesses and align the relationship between the elements.
- State where the elements will be optimally aligned. When we speak about elements, we are referring to the 7s.
- Come up with a suitable plan of action to realign the elements.
- Implement the changes or the solution you have come up with and reduce the gap.
Learn more: Human Resource Surveys
- Nadler-Tushman’s Congruence Model
This model is based on the principle that business performance is the result of 4 key elements: work, people, structure, and culture .
How to apply this model?
- First and foremost, gather all the data that point you toward any or all symptoms of poor performance.
- Specify inputs i.e, whether it’s environment, resources, or history that is causing these poor performances.
- Identify which outputs are required at the organizational level so that the organization can meet all strategic objectives.
- Now assess the degree of congruence among all the mentioned components.
- Strategize and put down a plan of action.
Learn more: Qualitative Market Research
QuestionPro market research survey software is a platform that helps you identify gaps in your business by making available the gap analysis template. A new question type has been added to the QuestionPro survey system to run comparisons between expectation and delivery specifically.
LEARN ABOUT: Market research industry
In most cases, this realizes itself by asking customers/potential respondents to rate different attributes (Customer Service, On-Time delivery, etc.) on the importance and a satisfaction rating scale . We call this the side-by-side matrix question (the alternative name is a multi-dimensional matrix) — basically two (or more) matrix questions placed next to each other. Follow these simple steps to run a it .
How can you access Gap Analysis?
- Login » Surveys » Reports » Choice Modelling
- Select GAP Analysis .
Select the question from the drop-down menu and select the Gap analysis option.
Once you have analyzed the question, you can also download the report in excel, PowerPoint, or even print it.
Learn more: Trend Analysis
Gap analysis is one of the most effective ways to find growth opportunities. It gives your company a strategy based on data and the standards of your industry.
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Meeting people’s expectations is never easy, but the analysis helps you make a plan by taking things one step at a time. It is a thorough, step-by-step process that gives you a detailed action plan. You can use it to fix a specific problem or just be proactive about making new strategies.
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Effective ways of conducting research gap analysis and its impact over future research.
The existence of research gaps appears to be in the open to interpretation. The gap of one scholar may be the non-gap of another. Many scholars will make the argument that a gap is either one idea or another. Most doctoral scholars, still find it difficult to identify and interpret gaps in their research. However, every research scientist aspires to be an innovator in a field by finding a new topic that no other researcher has addressed. This is an area of research that needs to be filled. Contact PhD Assistance for PhD Research Gap Analysis .
Research gaps are especially beneficial to the advancement of knowledge in broad sense. Finding a gap in research and possessing the resources to conduct a comprehensive and long-term study on it can be incredibly rewarding for the researcher, not to consider how its latest discoveries can benefit our entire civilization. Experts at PhD Assistance have decades of experience in Research Gap identification.
How to Find a Gap in Research
We at PhD Assistance offer best services for Gap analysis for PhD literature reviews . Because it is unthinkable to go through all of the survey and data currently findable, there are a few measures that can be taken to help detect research gaps:
- Choose a topic or issue that inspires you: Because research can require a significant amount of tangible, erudite, and psychological effort, select a topic that will keep you inspired all through the phase.
- Look for key phrases and similar things to your chosen topic.
- Conduct a literature search using the recognized keywords.
- Look for incomplete or unaddressed issues under discussion related to your main topic.
- Go over systematic reviews. They occasionally help identify areas or topics that require more interest from scholars and scientists.
You can trust us for PhD Dissertation Writing Help .
Seven Core Research Gaps
PhD Assistance is well- acclaimed in offering Best PhD Research Gap Analysis. Miles (2017) suggested a framework with seven core research gaps renamed: Evidence Gap; Knowledge Gap; Practical-Knowledge Gap; Methodological Gap; Empirical Gap; and Theoretical Gap; and Population Gap.
Evidence Gap: An evidence gap occurs when a new study finding appears to contradict commonly held beliefs. This gap is caused by inconsistencies in previous observations. It takes place when research findings enable for inferences in and of themselves, but are conflicting when viewed from a more conceptual perspective. We at PhD Assistance offer best services for PhD Research Process.
Knowledge Gap: For starters, awareness of theories and literature from related studies contexts may not exist in the real field. Second, it is possible that the findings of a survey vary from what was anticipated. Experts at PhD Assistance have decades of experience in Conducting Research Gap Analysis,
Practical-Knowledge Gap: This type of gap seems to be a variance that can inspire new study in this area. A practical–knowledge gap occurs when experts’ actual behavior differs from their endorsed behavior. In this particular instance, study could try to ascertain the context of the conflict as well as the explanations for its occurrence.
Methodological Gap: A methodological gap is one that deals with the conflict that arises as a result of the impact of research methods on study outcomes. This gap identifies the discord with prior research papers’ research techniques and proposes a new field of enquiry that is distinct from those methodologies. PhD Assistance experts has experience in handling to Publish the journal papers in all research subjects with assured 2:1 distinction. Talk to Experts Now
Empirical Gap: An empirical gap is one that engages with gaps in previous research. This disagreement is about the need for research results or proposals to be assessed or tested experientially. For example, the empirical gap frequently identifies conﬂict arising from the fact that no research has directly tried to assess a specific subject using an experimental method to date. PhD Assistance has vast experience in developing dissertation research topics for student’s pursuing the UK dissertation in computer science. Order Now
Theoretical Gap: A theoretical gap is one that engages with theoretical gaps in relation to previous research. A theoretical conflict may exist, for example, if one phenomenon is explained using variety of theoretical frameworks, similar to a Research Methodology Gap conflict. Scholars and researchers could investigate which of these hypotheses is better in terms of the gap in previous research. Theoretical gaps are prevalent when reviewing prior research on a concept. PhD Assistance is well- acclaimed in offering Future Research Help.
Population Gap: A population gap is a well-known gap among researchers. There are always underserved and under-researched communities. This gap represents the type of population studies that is not properly portrayed or under-researched in the scientific basis or scholarly findings. You can trust us for Future PhD Research Services .
Research Gap for Future Studies
The term “gaps in the literature” refers to missing or insufficient information in the research literature. These are aspects where more research is needed because they are undiscovered, inadequately researched, or obsolete. The gap is critical because its omission would result in a repetition of the research process. The groundwork of studies is built on making statements and discovering new areas of research predicated on gaps in past studies. This is a motivating factor in the pursuit of new knowledge. Contact PhD Assistance for Literature Gap and Future Research.
- Miles, D.A. (2017). A Taxonomy of Research Gaps: Identifying and Defining the Seven Research Gaps, Doctoral Student Workshop: Finding Research Gaps – Research Methods and Strategies, Dallas, Texas, 2017.
- Müller-Bloch, C. & Kranz, J., (2014). A Framework for Rigorously Identifying Research Gaps in Qualitative Literature Reviews, The Thirty Sixth International Conference on Information Systems, Fort Worth 2015, pp. 1–19.
- Miles, D. A. (2017, August). A taxonomy of research gaps: Identifying and defining the seven research gaps. In Doctoral Student Workshop: Finding Research Gaps-Research Methods and Strategies, Dallas, Texas (pp. 1-15).
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How to identify research gaps and include them in your thesis?
A thesis is an investigation that adheres to the principles of academic writing . It is critically evaluated on its reliability and significance for the industry (Chandra, 2017). The thesis research provides new insights into academia by reviewing existing research.
In this process, it is essential to identify the research gap. Research gaps are the centre of any research, determining the areas which lack crucial information.
Research gaps also help to frame:
The purpose of identifying research gaps in a thesis
A research gap is a problem that has not been addressed or answered in previous studies in the form of books, journal articles or reports. For instance, presently, there is a lack of research on the long-term effects of the Covid-19 vaccine. This can be a research gap in many studies such as social sciences, biotechnology, and medicine. Such problems need citation analysis and systematic review (Tsoulfas, 2021). To formulate an information-driven thesis, it is important to recognize the area or the topic that is unexplored or has insufficient information. Often research gaps in a thesis are confused with research questions and problem statements. However, there are fundamental differences in these concepts. The sole purpose of a research gap is to summarise problems with outdated or primitive studies. It is a part of the thesis introduction chapter and can range from 200 to 1000 words in length.
How to devote a section for research gaps in a thesis?
The first step in preparing the research gaps section is to outline the general state of knowledge and research in the field of study. This step helps in building the outline for the aspects that could be relevant to the research field.
The second step involves a thorough reading of earlier research and publication on the topic. For this, the researcher can refer to journal articles, library books, or reports. This step also involves consulting your supervisor.
Further, as per the reviewed articles, a viewpoint about the given topic must be framed by listing all relevant information.
Lastly, the need or significance of addressing the listed gaps should be presented.
Start the research gaps in a thesis with a summary of existing research findings. It does not need a detailed elaboration of the situation. For instance, statistics can be skipped. Similarly, you do not need to explain concepts or theories in this section. Next, state the limitations or lacuna in the area of research. This section needs more elaboration like who, what, when, where, why and how should be discussed. Each gap must be stated separately. For instance, consider these 3 gaps:
- there is a lack of research in your country’s context,
- there is a lack of empirical evidence and,
- there is a lack of consensus,
each should be explained separately. It should be structured in the form of citations wherever necessary. The writing pattern should move from generic to specific thus targeting the research problem for the thesis.
Points to avoid
- Too much description and analysis of the previously done studies must be avoided to keep the thesis research gap indicative and emblematic.
- Avoid giving too much statistical information.
- Avoid not reading enough. Identifying a research gap needs thorough reading, not skimping through facts.
- Avoid failing to accurately identify the need for further study and the lack of a persuasive framework for the identification of the research gap.
- Avoid not using enough citations for supporting the identified lacuna.
- Avoid not stating the significance of the identified gaps.
An example of research gaps in a thesis
Case topic: Impact of transformative heritage destinations on changing personal values of tourists
Travel behaviour today has shifted from global consumerism to a more meaningful and personalized experience. This has amplified the demand for heritage tourism, i.e. the movement of a person to places of cultural attraction away from their normal residential place to gain new experiences and information for satisfying cultural needs (G Richards, 2003; Rosenfeld, 2008). Tourists are also seeking transformative travel experiences which lead to positive changes in their values and attitudes. PineII & Gilmore (1999) have identified that heritage tourism is responding towards fulfilling the transformation needs of tourists. However, the lack of empirical evidence on the contribution of transformative heritage tourism in changing the personal values of tourists is restricting the formulation of strategies that can boost its growth.
Moreover, researchers have determined that authenticity, awareness, nostalgia, and satisfaction have a relationship with transformative effects and heritage tourism. Therefore, these factors may be interlinked. But despite this, not many academic studies have focused on addressing these tourist factors’ impact on the linkage between heritage tourism and transformative effect. This is another critical research gap.
- Chandra. (2017). How to Write a Thesis : A Working Guide . Retrieved from https://www.student.uwa.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/1919239/How-to-write-a-thesis-A-working-guide.pdf
- Oulu. (2012). GUIDELINES FOR WRITING A THESIS . Retrieved from https://www.oulu.fi/sites/default/files/content/Guidelines.pdf
- Pubrica. (2021). Framework for the Identirication Of the Research Gap. Retrieved September 30, 2021, from Pubrica website: http://pubrica.com/academy/uncategorized/a-framework-for-the-identification-of-the-research-gap/
- Tsoulfas, G. (2021). The Importance of Research. Journal of the American College of Surgeons , 232 (5), 680–681. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2021.02.003
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What is a research gap.
A research gap is a question or a problem that has not been answered by any of the existing studies or research within your field. Sometimes, a research gap exists when there is a concept or new idea that hasn't been studied at all. Sometimes you'll find a research gap if all the existing research is outdated and in need of new/updated research (studies on Internet use in 2001, for example). Or, perhaps a specific population has not been well studied (perhaps there are plenty of studies on teenagers and video games, but not enough studies on toddlers and video games, for example). These are just a few examples, but any research gap you find is an area where more studies and more research need to be conducted. Please view this video clip from our Sage Research Methods database for more helpful information: How Do You Identify Gaps in Literature?
How do I find one?
It will take a lot of research and reading. You'll need to be very familiar with all the studies that have already been done, and what those studies contributed to the overall body of knowledge about that topic. Make a list of any questions you have about your topic and then do some research to see if those questions have already been answered satisfactorily. If they haven't, perhaps you've discovered a gap! Here are some strategies you can use to make the most of your time:
- One useful trick is to look at the “suggestions for future research” or conclusion section of existing studies on your topic. Many times, the authors will identify areas where they think a research gap exists, and what studies they think need to be done in the future.
- As you are researching, you will most likely come across citations for seminal works in your research field. These are the research studies that you see mentioned again and again in the literature. In addition to finding those and reading them, you can use a database like Web of Science to follow the research trail and discover all the other articles that have cited these. See the FAQ: I found the perfect article for my paper. How do I find other articles and books that have cited it? on how to do this. One way to quickly track down these seminal works is to use a database like SAGE Navigator, a social sciences literature review tool. It is one of the products available via our SAGE Knowledge database.
- In the PsycINFO and PsycARTICLES databases, you can select literature review, systematic review, and meta analysis under the Methodology section in the advanced search to quickly locate these. See the FAQ: Where can I find a qualitative or quantitative study? for more information on how to find the Methodology section in these two databases.
- In CINAHL , you can select Systematic review under the Publication Type field in the advanced search.
- In Web of Science , check the box beside Review under the Document Type heading in the “Refine Results” sidebar to the right of the list of search hits.
- If the database you are searching does not offer a way to filter your results by document type, publication type, or methodology in the advanced search, you can include these phrases (“literature reviews,” meta-analyses, or “systematic reviews”) in your search string. For example, “video games” AND “literature reviews” could be a possible search that you could try.
Please give these suggestions a try and contact a librarian for additional assistance.
Content authored by: GS
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These examples below illustrate how researchers from different disciplines identified gaps in existing literature. For additional examples, try a NavigatorSearch using this search string: ("Literature review") AND (gap*)
- Addressing the Recent Developments and Potential Gaps in the Literature of Corporate Sustainability
- Applications of Psychological Science to Teaching and Learning: Gaps in the Literature
- Attitudes, Risk Factors, and Behaviours of Gambling Among Adolescents and Young People: A Literature Review and Gap Analysis
- Do Psychological Diversity Climate, HRM Practices, and Personality Traits (Big Five) Influence Multicultural Workforce Job Satisfaction and Performance? Current Scenario, Literature Gap, and Future Research Directions
- Entrepreneurship Education: A Systematic Literature Review and Identification of an Existing Gap in the Field
- Evidence and Gaps in the Literature on HIV/STI Prevention Interventions Targeting Migrants in Receiving Countries: A Scoping Review
- Homeless Indigenous Veterans and the Current Gaps in Knowledge: The State of the Literature
- A Literature Review and Gap Analysis of Emerging Technologies and New Trends in Gambling
- A Review of Higher Education Image and Reputation Literature: Knowledge Gaps and a Research Agenda
- Trends and Gaps in Empirical Research on Open Educational Resources (OER): A Systematic Mapping of the Literature from 2015 to 2019
- Where Should We Go From Here? Identified Gaps in the Literature in Psychosocial Interventions for Youth With Autism Spectrum Disorder and Comorbid Anxiety
What is a ‘gap in the literature’?
The gap, also considered the missing piece or pieces in the research literature, is the area that has not yet been explored or is under-explored. This could be a population or sample (size, type, location, etc.), research method, data collection and/or analysis, or other research variables or conditions.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that just because you identify a gap in the research, it doesn't necessarily mean that your research question is worthy of exploration. You will want to make sure that your research will have valuable practical and/or theoretical implications. In other words, answering the research question could either improve existing practice and/or inform professional decision-making (Applied Degree), or it could revise, build upon, or create theoretical frameworks informing research design and practice (Ph.D Degree). See the Dissertation Center for additional information about dissertation criteria at NU.
For a additional information on gap statements, see the following:
- How to Find a Gap in the Literature
- Write Like a Scientist: Gap Statements
How do you identify the gaps?
Conducting an exhaustive literature review is your first step. As you search for journal articles, you will need to read critically across the breadth of the literature to identify these gaps. You goal should be to find a ‘space’ or opening for contributing new research. The first step is gathering a broad range of research articles on your topic. You may want to look for research that approaches the topic from a variety of methods – qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods.
See the videos below for further instruction on identifying a gap in the literature.
Identifying a Gap in the Literature - Dr. Laurie Bedford
How Do You Identify Gaps in Literature? - SAGE Research Methods
Literature Gap & Future Research - Library Workshop
This workshop presents effective search techniques for identifying a gap in the literature and recommendations for future research.
Where can you locate research gaps?
As you begin to gather the literature, you will want to critically read for what has, and has not, been learned from the research. Use the Discussion and Future Research sections of the articles to understand what the researchers have found and where they point out future or additional research areas. This is similar to identifying a gap in the literature, however, future research statements come from a single study rather than an exhaustive search. You will want to check the literature to see if those research questions have already been answered.
Identifying the gap in the research relies on an exhaustive review of the literature. Remember, researchers may not explicitly state that a gap in the literature exists; you may need to thoroughly review and assess the research to make that determination yourself.
However, there are techniques that you can use when searching in NavigatorSearch to help identify gaps in the literature. You may use search terms such as "literature gap " or "future research" "along with your subject keywords to pinpoint articles that include these types of statements.
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How to do gap analysis for business and management research from literature review
The main reason for conducting gap analysis is to identify the problem statement and determine a research question that helps create an original project.
- Gap analysis is designed to look at recent happenings rather than waiting till the end of the project or activity to see what did not work. It helps to move forward.
Research gap is a research problem that has not been appropriately answered or not considered in the field of study. Writing a literature review for a research is a critical stage that is difficult to progress with. The main objective of writing a literature review is to identify the research gap, later that gap itself will become an essential aspect of your research. It is also considered the missing piece of research, and the area has not been evaluated or un-explored for a long time. Our team of experienced experts guides you in choosing suitable research journals to identify research gaps. You can also get help from literature review writing services uk to get the best literature review.
There are also tools and more complicated approaches which can save your research time and give you a better summary of the existing trends and areas of interests in your research field:
Thomson Reuters develop one such tool which is also called as “Essential Science Indicator”. Some of the research institutions have access to these websites; it helps identify the most cited paper in your research field, the new field of study, or areas emerging in that field. It also helps recognize the influential individuals, institutions, articles, publications, and countries related to that field.
“Google trends” is another platform that helps determine the popularity or interest towards a topic is increasing or decreasing. These tools are used to compare various issues and help identify the difference between them in popularity and scope. It also facilitates “regional interest” index, which shows the top’s popularity and how country it is popularly being used.
Another piece of data provided by Google Trends is “related searches” which offers questions similar to your research and the name of the authors who are active in the topic you have searched.
Read the blog: writing a literature review for a dissertation
Importance of gap analysis.
There are two general guidelines to conduct a gap analysis:
- Strategic — which covers the planning side of a business
- Operational — which guides the execution of the project or the way the organization need to function
It focuses on business like human resources, financial objectives, product development, sales, and IT. It is also called “gap assessment”.Here some of the reasons why gap analysis is essential.
- It shows your strengths and weaknesses in real-time
- It enables you to move resources in a smarter way
- It helps management make better decisions
- It provides an objective perspective to develop processes for the future
Analyze your current state
Before writing a literature review for a research paper , you need to understand the previous research work, which has been carried out in a particular research field. Gap analysis is designed to look at recent happenings rather than waiting till the end of the project or activity to see what did not work. It helps to move forward. It is not just summarising previous works or just talking about stocks of what was, It is about looking ahead to develop the future.
Identify Your Target and Goals
After deciding on the area, you need to carry out the research, and the next major step is to set up goals or targets. The goals must be realistic, achievable within a certain period. The goals must be aligned in a way to improve the business process.
Determine the Current State of Things
Before moving forward, you need to discover the current state of the field. In this step, you need to figure out your research area’s current state, about the recent technologies and methodologies being used. It can be done with reports or process documentation, journal article, conference papers, doing interviews, brainstorming, etc. It can gather data as much as possible to clarify how they are performing at present.
Find the gap and evaluate solutions
After you gained knowledge about the attributes, methodologies of the current state and deciding on the future state, it is easier to recognize the things that hinder you from reaching your goals. After identifying these gaps, come up with an idea you need to take to close them.
Implement a plan to bridge the gap
The literature review helps analyze the current state, the type of Methodologies currently being used in a particular research field. It helps identify the problem statement and research question. Which helps the researcher build a plan, and also they can modify the current methodology so that they can achieve the result they desire.
A gap analysis sheds focus on the current use of sources and shows how insufficient information can hold back your research work, which helps meet the performance goal and implement changes to close the gap. Writing a literature review for a research project is a long and complicated process. If you found any difficulty with the writing part, you can get help from online literature review service providers.
- Økland, A. (2015). Gap analysis for incorporating sustainability in project management. Procedia Computer Science , 64 , 103-109.
- Langhammer, P. F., Bakarr, M. I., Bennun, L., & Brooks, T. M. (2007). Identification and gap analysis of key biodiversity areas: targets for comprehensive protected area systems (No. 15). IUCN.
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Write Like a Scientist
A Guide to Scientific Communication
A gap is something that remains to be done or learned in an area of research; it’s a gap in the knowledge of the scientists in the field of research of your study. Every research project must, in some way, address a gap–that is, attempt to fill in some piece of information missing in the scientific literature. Otherwise, it is not novel research and is therefore not contributing to the overall goals of science.
Identify the gap.
A gap statement is found in the Introduction section of a journal article or poster or in the Goals and Importance section of a research proposal and succinctly identifies for your audience the gap that you will attempt to address in your project.
A gap might be a lack of understanding about how well a particular instrument works in a certain situation. It could be introducing a new method that needs to be tested. Or it could be that you are studying a whole new organism, system, or part of a process. Your project may also address multiple gaps, in which case you should be sure to identify each of them clearly!
In a class, you might not always be studying something brand “new.” But, in most cases, you should still try to come up with something unique about your project, however small. Talk to your professor about what they expect for your gap statement if nothing seems to work.
Here, the authors signal to us that this is a gap because they use the words “has not yet been clarified.” Other phrases that might help you identify (or form!) a gap statement are:
- …has/have not been… (studied/reported/elucidated)
- …is required/needed…
- …the key question is/remains…
- …it is important to address…
Fill the gap.
Once you identify the gap in the literature, you must tell your audience how you attempt to at least somewhat address in your project this lack of knowledge or understanding . In a journal article or poster, this is often done in a new paragraph and should be accomplished in one summary statement, such as:
Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the effects of lead on the hepatobiliary system, especially on the liver and on the gallbladder (adapted from Sipos et al. 2003 ).
You’ll often find that the first sentence of the last paragraph in a paper’s introduction will start somewhat like this, indicating the gap fill.
Remember–always keep your voice professional! Colloquial phrases such as “we looked into” or “we checked if” should be avoided when introducing your gap fill.
So let’s look at this idea in context by looking at some examples from a couple of types of papers. The gap statements are underlined; the fills are italicized.
In the second and third examples, the gap may be a little less obvious–it doesn’t use any phrases to signal to you that there’s something missing, such as “has not been clarified” or “have not been reported.” But because of the way the paragraph is laid out–following the conventions of our move structures–we can see that the underlined section of text is indeed the missing information in the literature that the group sought to address in their project.
Research Gap Analysis
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