Q: What is the meaning of scope and delimitations of a study?
Scope and delimitations are two elements of a research paper or thesis. The scope of a study explains the extent to which the research area will be explored in the work and specifies the parameters within which the study will be operating. For example, let's say a researcher wants to study the impact of mobile phones on behavior patterns of elementary school children. However, it is not possible for the researcher to cover every aspect of the topic.
So the scope will have to be narrowed down to a certain section of the target population. In this case, the scope might be narrowed down to a group of 50 children in grades 3-5 of one specific school. Their behavior patterns in school may have been observed for a duration of 6 months. These would form the delimitations of the study.
Thus, delimitations are the characteristics that limit the scope and describe the boundaries of the study, such as the sample size, geographical location or setting in which the study takes place, population traits, etc. Additionally, the researcher might also choose to use some research tools and methodologies to collect data but not others. These delimitations might be imposed for practical reasons, such as lack of time or financial resources to carry out a more thorough investigation. The delimitation section of the study should explain why specific choices were made while others were excluded and how this might affect the outcome of the research.
In the example mentioned above, the researcher might state why he/she chose to study a sample population of 50 students, why he/she selected students from Grades 3-5 and not grades 1-2, and why he/she chose students of Billabong Elementary Public School over other schools.