Some Basic Tips For Identifying The Literature Gap

Some Basic Tips For Identifying The Literature Gap

A research study provides new information on the topic. New information means the information which prior studies have failed to answer.  Because the issue was not the same, or present at that time. Suppose the research study doesn’t provide new information. In this case, there will be fewer chances to accept or publish it. 

Hence, researchers have to develop new information to pursue their research study. The new information needs developing through prior literature studies. Those prior research studies must be relevant to the topic under study. But here a question arises. The question is, “How to identify a literature gap?” To answer this question, some basic tips are as follows;

  1. What is a Literature Gap?

When you read research papers, you can identify some lacking areas. These areas are the ones that have not provided enough information. The necessary information might not meet the study requirements. Besides this, some areas need to be explored further. From these unexplored areas, the researcher identifies the literature gap. The literature gap means limitations within the prior studies. The literature gap may be any of the following;

  • Population Gap.
  • Evidence Gap.
  • Theoretical Gap.
  • Knowledge Gap.
  • Methodological Gap.
  • Empirical Gap.
  • Practical Knowledge Gap.

The identification of the literature gap maybe don’t through the following aspects;

  • Meta-Analysis.
  • Systematic Literature Review (SLR).
  • Citation Analysis.
  • Content Analysis.
  • Future Research and Limitations.

These heads frame literature gaps. The literature gaps lead to problem identification. This identification of the problem provides a framework for the research study.

  1. Why is it necessary to identify a distinctive Literature Gap?

Suppose you have compiled a research study. Your time and resources are invested within it. Before publishing it, you came to know that someone had already published the same work. This will waste all the resources, and time spent in conducting the study. Besides this, it will hurt you, and give you stress. To avoid this, a distinctive literature gap is essential. The researcher needs to identify the literature gap with care. Care is very important in this aspect. This is because it avoids repetition within the research studies. Hence, the researcher is required to identify a distinctive literature gap. 

  1. What are some challenges in the identification of Literature Gap?

The identification of the literature gap is not a “One-time” process. A researcher has to study the prior studies again and again. The aim is to identify a distinctive literature gap. The gap provides new information to your research study. Besides this, that gap addresses limitations within prior relevant studies. This is in relation to the current research topic. Following are the challenges that can arise during literature gap’s identification;

  • Excessive Information Relevant to the Topic Exists

The researcher has to deal with loads of information. The information is excessive in amount. It consumes a lot of time for the researcher. The cost is also very high. It is incurred on gaining the information.

  • Information is not Specific, or Organised

According to a dissertation help firm, studying a Systematic Literature Review (SLR) does not provide specific, or organized information. Sometimes, the information can be irrelevant as well. 

  • Incompetency in Questioning the Prior Research Studies

Sometimes the researchers consider themselves incompetent. They cannot question unexplored areas within the prior studies. This is because experts conducted those prior researches. Hence incompetency in questioning the prior studies is a great challenge. The challenge makes it difficult for researchers in identifying a literature gap.

  1. Tips for identifying Literature Gap in the Prior studies

There is no ultimate way to identify a literature gap. A researcher has to identify the literature gap based on competencies. The competencies can include innovation and curiosity. They can also be that of knowledge, and imagination. The judgment ability can also assist you in identifying distinct literature gaps. Following are some of the tips that can help in this context;

  • Tip 1: Extensively Study the Prior studies relevant to your topic of interest

The researcher needs to study the topic of interest from prior studies. This will help in identifying the extent of studies conducted on the topic. The researcher can formulate the following questions as required;

  • Is the significance of this research study?
  • What is the author providing enough explanation for research questions of the study?
  • Is the data collection method appropriate?
  • Is there any factor that requires further clarification?
  • what is the adopted methodology justified?

The researcher can look into the significance of the study. The limitations and recommendations of the prior studies also provide a literature gap. 

The study of meta-analyses provides you with recent developments and trends. They can help identify literature gaps in the best manner.

  • Tip 2: Consult with your Supervisor

A researcher can consult with his/her respective supervisors. The supervisors are experienced persons. They can guide the researcher in an effective manner. They can also provide guidance. This is relevant to the identification of any gaps in the literature.

  • Tip 3: Use the Digital tools

Digital tools are an efficient way of identifying the gaps in the literature. They are both cost-effective, and efficient. They can help identify the recent trends, and queries on the topic of your interest. The following digital tools provide you with the most cited papers, trends, and queries;

  • Google Trends.
  • Essential Science Indicator.
  • Tip 4: Visit Websites of Recognised Journals

Well-recognized journals have key concept sections. From these key concepts, you can generate insights into the topic, and ideas. This will help in identifying the literature gap for your topic.

  • Tip 5: Note down your queries.

Noting down every query while reading prior studies is a good practice. This will guide you in generating new ideas. These will also be relevant to the topic of your interest.

  • Tip 6: Formulate Research Questions, and Research each of them

The researcher needs to formulate research questions from studying prior studies. After formulation, he/she should also research each of them. The aim is to find the extent of research within that domain.

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