It is important for researchers to determine the research gap we are addressing. It sets the urgency of the conduct of the study, as well as gives direction to our academic journey. In this article, I have listed down the types of research gaps that Miles (2017) proposes, which emerged from a compendium of literature he collated from various authors.
Meanwhile, as researchers, we always start with our thesis statement. It is an unproved statement put forward as a premise in an argument. If this statement contradicts the literature cited, an evidence gap can be the target.
On the other hand, researchers hope to add to the growing body of knowledge continually. When your readings do not satisfy the desired research findings, considering the nature and context of your study, this knowledge gap can be addressed.
We always contextualize the application of the findings into our setting, practice, and field. If the literature deviates from your context, then it can be that you are addressing an action-knowledge conflict gap.
Each research method requires different nature of the data to be collected and interpreted, as well as analysis of data treatment procedures. Suppose the present readings employed a specific methodology and argue that another approach may give off more concrete recommendations or offer a different lens to investigate the phenomenon at hand. There, you can determine the research gap by introducing another route to take.
In that case, you are addressing a method and research design gap.
Some models and theories may emerge as a result of one research, and empirical methods need to be applied to verify the results. Some phenomena have realities with no firm base of evidence of their existence; thus, to fill in the empirical gaps, you can highlight this as the urgency in pursuing the objectives of your study.
Some phenomena or relationships of variables cannot find any theoretical anchorage. Thus, a researcher is challenged to perform the seven stages of conducting a grounded theory qualitative method. By doing this, you are addressing a theoretical gap.
Expanding the target respondents and participants is not always about achieving data saturation; it can also address the population gap in the literature you have cited. It means widening the scope of the study, adjusting the set inclusion criteria for better interpretation of results, and expanding the target beneficiaries.
There you have it! Instead of repeatedly saying that “you have not come across any duplicates in your study, you may want to incorporate these terms that mirror the specific type you are addressing.
Enjoy doing research!