Research Gap
September 22, 2022
Author : Charlie Harris

If you're a young researcher, or even if you're still in school, you'll definitely find that certain research subjects dominate your academic setting. These topics are often related to your department, mentor, and immediate co-workers' interests. It is only normal that you feel motivated to continue this line of research, for instance, if your department is currently doing research on the use of nanotechnology in medicine. Though your job may take several routes, it should be something you feel comfortable and enthusiastic about.

Many scientists go on to carry on the academic tradition throughout their professional lives by writing about their own real-world experiences and updating time-tested procedures. However, every researcher aspires to make a discovery that no other scientist has before explored to become a pioneer in their field.

Research Papers

What is the research gap?

A research gap is simply an area where the information currently available limits the ability to provide a solution. However, it must not be mistaken with a research question. For instance, if we searched for studies and potential solutions to the topic of the healthiest diet for humans, we would discover several. On the other hand, we would not discover a lot of information if we searched for studies on the effects of antidepressants on pregnant women. There is a research hole here. We choose a route for maybe novel and fascinating study when we notice a research gap. The advancement of science in general benefits greatly from the identification of research gaps. 

How to Spot a Research Gap?

How many times have you thought you had finally come up with a brand-new, intriguing question only to discover that it had already been addressed? More times than you can possibly imagine.

Since it is hard to review all the material and research accessible today, there are certain measures you may take to assist in identifying research gaps:

  • Pick a subject or issue that inspires you. Choose a topic that will keep you engaged throughout the research process because it can take a long time and undoubtedly require a lot of physical, mental, and emotional effort. If you find it difficult to come up with a topic, you can look at some research gap examples done by scholars on the internet.

  • Look for words and phrases associated with the subject you have chosen. This will assist you in the following stage, in addition to distilling the subject to its core.

  • Utilise the chosen keywords to read through the material. Determine pertinent articles and the literature they cite using the information you gathered in the previous phase.

  • Look for areas or issues that aren't covered by (or connected to) your core theme.

  • Review systematic studies. These studies delve deeply into academic literature to spot trends and paradigm shifts in several academic disciplines. They occasionally make clear areas or subjects that demand further study and attention from scientists and academics.

It is hard to keep up with all of the new literature that is published every day. Keep in mind that technology may help with many of your daily chores, including reviewing books. Online databases with current publication listings and good search tools include

  • Elsevier's Scope
  • Google Scholar
  • PubCrawler
  • Feedly.

The difficulties you could encounter while detecting research gaps

Finding gaps and developing unique and novel themes might be challenging for a variety of reasons. The following is a list of difficulties you could encounter when determining research gaps in your area of study:

  • Dealing with a massive volume of information requires effort. There could be many unresolved issues in a subject that interests you. 

  • Organized searching is challenging for some researchers, who may struggle to organize the data they have obtained. If ideas are not adequately noted, they might be lost very easily. If you need help with organizing your data, you can take the help of some research gap examples.

  • Hesitation when challenging accepted conventions. Some researchers may be hesitant to contradict what other researchers have asserted in their studies because they lack the confidence to do so.

How do we detect literature gaps?

You might be unsure about the ideal technique to generate original research questions. For this, you can seek research paper writing services. There is no set formula for locating a gap in the body of knowledge, but your curiosity, imagination, creativity, and judgement can assist you in doing so.

Look for ideas published in the literature

Read what interests you the most; it can be a book or an article. This will not only provide you with a better understanding of the breadth of the research being done on your subject, but it will also give you a chance to pose questions that can reveal a research need. You should pay particular attention to the Introduction section of research articles when reading them since this is where the authors discuss the significance of their study topic and the holes they have found and tried to fill with their research.

Ask your research advisor for assistance

With the help of your research advisor, brainstorm research questions based on the difficulties and issues in your area of study. It may be helpful to identify your study field or even uncover flaws in your approach if you can express your ideas and are aware of what others think and are working on. You can discuss an issue with your advisor and obtain their advice if you believe it would be interesting to work on.

Look for the most referenced academic papers using digital tools

Use internet technologies to reduce time and expand the scope of your search for a research gap while becoming familiar with the popular questions in your field. To find out more about the most often asked questions about your research area, visit Google Trends. This will facilitate your quest for an unexplored region in your subject of study.

Visit the websites of reputable journals

Experts in a field emphasize the main concepts in that discipline in a section titled "Key Concepts", frequently found on well-known journals' websites. You can learn a lot from reading this area and come up with many new ideas. Additionally, you ought to read the reference list in these papers because it may direct you to crucial sources on the subject.

Keep a list of your questions

Writing down any questions you have when you read any published literature is a good idea. Map the query to the source it is based on, if at all possible.

Investigate each query

Once you have a list of potential research questions, you must extensively study each one. Why does this matter? For each uncertainty or question you have, read more. Find out whether other scientists have raised comparable issues and whether they have come up with solutions. This will assist you in avoiding the repetition of effort.

literature gap


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About the Author

Charlie Harris

“Best researcher” is the phrase his peers use for Lucas. From chemistry to law and management to economics, Lucas has the experience and expertise to become the “best researcher in the industry”. He is known for his blogs and articles of the highest level of quality and precision. With the help of his instinctive researching skills, he has made it simpler for students to work upon various research papers. He has joined My Assignment Services recently and now helps students in carrying out extensive research in diverse academic fields.


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