There Can Be Many Types of Research Gaps in Literature: Know What You Have to Find Out!

Sam’s idea of research was around studying the information architecture decisions of educational websites and their effect on the learning behaviour of the visitors. On the basis of getting clarity on her research data, Sam first figured out that the data be collected from which sources (websites and target users) and then which research methods have to be deployed to get the appropriate answers to the research questions.

Having identified a promising area of interest, a scholar must find out those research questions that have not only been left unresolved but those that have the relevance to contribute meaningfully to the existing theory.

The different types of research gaps that can exist in literature review can be

Sometimes the research question may be answered in the literature review in the relevant area but not in your given domain. For example:

  1. The collaborative learning theories that exist in literature bring out the concept that peers make use of each other’s knowledge skill to gradually move in the direction of individual problem solving. In the present context, if one tries to identify the research gap here, it does not specifically talk about how email or long distance communication support collaborative learning? This could take up as a specific gap extracted from the relevant area of research.

Sometimes the question has been asked in the previous studies but the exploration is further needed because of the dynamism in the accepted theory or the technology changes demanding further probing in. For example:

  1. A new eye tracking software in the market helps to further identify in detail about the spatial language description directing the judgement of the people. Though there are previous studies on this, but development in new technology merits exploration.

Sometimes the previous research may have limited application of the output derived or may have significant limitations. This could be because of reliability, validity issues of the instrument in use or other limitation that may have caused the limitation to occur. It creates the scope for a replication study to be conducted as a verification study for the existing published research to understand whether the results match or no. For example:

  1. An existing research tests whether website content can be accessible and understood sufficiently well across different intellectual capacities. However, it did not take into consideration important variables such as word choice, difficulty of language, word count etc. a new study with incorporation of relevant variables can take out more authentic and applicable results.