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Identifying a Research Gap

What is a research gap? Missing pieces or areas in the literature that have not yet been explored or are under-explored.

The gap could be in: population or sample (e.g., size, type, location, etc.); methodology; data collection and/or analysis; other research variables.

How to identify a gap:

  1. Figure out your topic or research area.
  2. Read the literature (articles, literature reviews, meta-analysis, systematic reviews).
    1. Tip: Read the "introduction," conclusion," and "suggestions for future research" sections which often mention the reasons why that research was done as well as where additional research is needed.
  3. Find additional articles.
    1. Tip: Mine the bibliography. Look at who has cited the article (Google Scholar, Web of Science).