Limitations of the Study and Critical Reflection

If the study were to be repeated, what would you do differently? What are some of the ways in which the project may be limited?

Often, criteria for examination include an awareness of the limitations of the project. You should reflect on areas of your minor thesis that could have led to better outcomes if you had, for example, more resources, a greater range of data collection procedures, or a larger sample size. You should also reflect on your scope, and in particular on what lies outside it. Where might Anouck’ s results on bilingualism be of low relevance? In what circumstances could Mickey’s method be unreliable, or inapplicable?

Maintain a sense of confidence and maturity as you write about the limitations of your study. This is not meant to be an occasion for exposing failings or presenting your shortcomings, but is simply an opportunity to show that you understand your work—which includes knowing what it did not achieve. Your examiners will be well aware that any project has limitations, mistakes, and errors of judgment, and an acknowledgement of such limitations shows a reflective, insightful mind. It also helps guide others to not repeat your mistakes.

To spark your thinking in this area, revisit the ‘aim and scope’ section of your introduction so that you yourself understand how you set the initial boundaries of your own work. If you have worked well within those boundaries, then discuss some of the shortcomings. However, do not take responsibility for shortcomings that were beyond your initial boundaries or scope. Again, reflect on the scope you developed early in your project, and perhaps revise it before submission.

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