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.
Perhaps you’ll narrow your focus even more to elementary school teachers in a particular school district who have been teaching for a particular length of time. These are choices you will need to make, both for practical reasons (i.e., the population you have access to) and for the questions you are trying to answer. It just means that, for the purposes of your project and your research questions, you’re interested in the experience of the teachers, so you’re excluding anyone who does not meet those criteria.
Of course, for this particular example, this does not mean that it wouldn’t be interesting to also know what principals think about the new curriculum. Having delimitations to your population of interest also means that you won’t be able to answer any questions about the experiences of those other populations; this is ok because those populations are .
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.(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.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.You might think that would be a very interesting question, but it will have to wait for another study.In narrowing the focus of your research questions, you limit your ability to answer other questions, and again, that’s ok.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.occur in all types of research and are, for the most part, outside the researcher’s control (given practical constraints, such as time, funding, and access to populations of interest).They are threats to the study’s internal or external validity.