What is scope

What is scope?
Scope and delimitation are two elements of a research paper. The scope identifies what topic the
researcher intends to cover. The scope names the information or subject matter that the individual
plans to evaluate. For instance, a person might choose to study the impact of deforestation on species
loss in the Amazon. However, it is not possible for the researcher to cover every aspect of the chosen
subject. In this case, the scope might be narrowed down to a select group of species or an evaluation of
population decline over a certain period of time. Delimitations define what factors the researcher
consciously controls for and why they have been eliminated from the study.
The Role of Delimitations
Delimitations are parameters that the researcher makes to narrow his or her scope of research.
Delimitations are a conscious choice to control for certain factors in the study. Since the study cannot
address all relevant elements, delimitations narrow the scope and purpose to focus on certain aspects.
Common delimitations are population or sample size, the setting in which the study takes place, and the
design or setup of the study, along with an explanation for its structure. An individual might also choose
to use some research tools and methodologies to collect data but not others. The researcher might
impose delimitations for practical reasons, such as lack of time or financial resources to carry out a more
thorough investigation. For each delimiting factor, the researcher discusses why he or she made those
exclusions and explains how they might affect the outcome of the research. Delimitations should be
stated clearly so that the audience understands why certain elements were excluded from the study.
The researcher might state up front, for example, which species he or she has chosen to study and not
study, and provide reasons for that selection.
Limitations are similar to delimitations, but they are unplanned factors that narrow the scope that the
researcher did not see, and therefore account for, beforehand. In this case, the researcher might
discover that a species he or she chose to study was also affected by a devastating disease at the same
time that habitat destruction took place, which might also explain population loss.
Summarizing the Research
When structuring the paper, the researcher should note any delimitations in the introduction section, at
the beginning of the discussion section, and again briefly in the conclusion. For each one, the researcher
should clearly state why the study included and excluded certain delimitation factors. Researchers can
also expand on the results of their study to say how, with those delimitations, the study's results
translate to the broader population. The researcher can also include a discussion of how external
validity is affected by the delimitations. If possible, he or she can then discuss future plans for
undertaking a future study that includes some previous delimitations for greater validity.
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