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What is the scope and limitation of a study?

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Scope and limitation of study are two elements of a research paper that inform the reader what information is included in the research that is being presented and what factors limited the scope of the research reported on. Scope and limitation sections provide the reader with full disclosure regarding any limits or flaws in the study, adding credibility to the research.

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Within the paper the scope of study is a section that explains specifically what information or subject is being analyzed. For example, the scope of study section of a historical research paper explains what time period the writer is analyzing, and what subjects within that time period they will be focusing on. Since it is impossible to study every aspect of every subject, the scope of study tells the reader which aspects of a subject the writer has chosen to analyze. Most research is limited in scope by sample size, time and geographic area. The scope of study is usually followed by an explanation of the limitations of the research.

The limitation of study is the explanation of the scope of study, as well as the disclosure of any unexpected issues or limiting factors that came up while the research was underway. This section allows the writer to explain why certain aspects of a subject were chosen and why others were excluded. It is also common for a writer to explain the chosen research method in this section and explain why certain theories were applied to the data.

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