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Continuing with the previous example, for instance, let’s suppose that the problem you are most interested in addressing is the fact that we know relatively little about elementary school teachers’ experiences of implementing a new curriculum.Perhaps you believe that knowing more about teachers’ experiences could inform their training or help administrators know more about how to support their teachers.
By choosing to focus your research on a particular problem or question, you are necessarily choosing not to examine other problems or questions.
Remember: You can’t answer all possible questions with one project.
In conducting either a quantitative or a qualitative study, you will have to define your population of interest.
Defining this population of interest means that you will need to articulate the boundaries of that population (i.e., who is included). For example, if you’re interested in understanding the experiences of elementary school teachers who have been implementing a new curriculum into their classrooms, you probably won’t be interviewing or sending a survey to any of the following people: non-teachers, high-school teachers, college professors, principals, parents of elementary school children, or the children themselves.
(i.e., as you’re designing the study) about where you’re going to draw the boundaries of your project. Like limitations, delimitations are a part of every research project, and this is not a bad thing. You have to draw the line somewhere, and the delimitations are where you choose to draw these lines.
One of the clearest examples of a delimitation that applies to almost every research project is participant exclusion criteria.You don’t have to (and can’t) do it all in one project.Similarly, the focus of the research problem itself (and the associated research questions) is another common source of delimitations.If you are working on a thesis, dissertation, or other formal research project, chances are your advisor or committee will ask you to address the delimitations of your study.When faced with this request, many students respond with a puzzled look and then go on to address what are actually the study’s limitations.As interesting as their experiences might be, you can save these questions for another study.That is the part of the beauty of research: there will always be more studies to do, more questions to ask.Furthermore, you probably won’t be talking to elementary school teachers who have not yet had the experience of implementing the curriculum in question.You would probably only choose to gather data from elementary school teachers who have had this experience because that is who you’re interested in for the purposes of your study.These other questions may be interesting and important, but, again, they are .Common Examples of Limitations While each study will have its own unique set of limitations, some limitations are more common in quantitative research, and others are more common in qualitative research.