Q: What are the limitations of a study and how to write them?

2 Answers to this question

The limitations of a study are its flaws or shortcomings which could be the result of unavailability of resources, small sample size, flawed methodology, etc. No study is completely flawless or inclusive of all possible aspects. Therefore, listing the limitations of your study reflects honesty and transparency and also shows that you have a complete understanding of the topic.

Generally speaking, the limitations are added in the Discussion section, just before the concluding paragraph. While you should definitely point out the limitations, do not get into an elaborate discussion about them. Keep this section short and crisp. The limitations of a study basically  discusses any unanswered questions that your study did not address. Could you have used another means or method of data collection? Could the research design have been better? Was the sample not representative of the target population? Being self-critical and acknowledging the study’s limitations will give the impression that you are aware of what the study was not able to cover. Moreover, it would prevent the peer reviewer from pointing them out. 

To learn in depth how to write an effective results section, check out this course designed exclusively for researchers: How to write the most effective results and discussion sections.

Related reading:


The limitations in a study are the challenges in design or methodology that affected the interpretation of your findings. All research studies have limitations. However, you must not shift the focus of your research paper to the limitations. Rather, you should briefly describe the limitations. If you do not capture the limitations in the methodology, you can include them in the conclusion. You can learn more about how to write a research paper conclusion on; How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper - Quest Writers .