1.7 Limitations of the Study

The term limitation is different from delimitation. A limitation would be anything beyond the ability of the researcher to control that may affect the internal validity of the study. The internal validity of an experiment is the extent to which the researcher has controlled extraneous variables, so that any observed effect can be attributed solely to the treatment variable. An experiment is internally valid to the extent that it shows a cause-effect relationship between the independent and dependent variables (Gall et al., 1996, p. 466 – 473). Limitations need to be thought out and defined carefully.

In this section, you should discuss the things that would affect the internal validity of the study, for instance statement of what extent the time, funds, location, type of samples selected, design issues could affect the study. Every research has a boundary and there is nothing much that a researcher can do. In other words, limitation of a study refer to the constraints or drawbacks, both theoretical and practical that the researcher has little or no control over. Limitations are normally stated in the proposal and accounted for in the final research report.

Example

The following were the limitations of the study:

  • The study limited itself to only one private school in Embu municipality. For more conclusive results, more private schools in Embu municipality should have been studied. However, this was not possible due to time and financial constraints.
  • It was not possible to cover a larger number of parents because getting them required considerable time, resources and other logistics.

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By Anthony M. Wanjohi

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