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Context of the Study – Writing Guide and Examples

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Context of the Study

Context of the Study

The context of a study refers to the set of circumstances or background factors that provide a framework for understanding the research question , the methods used, and the findings . It includes the social, cultural, economic, political, and historical factors that shape the study’s purpose and significance, as well as the specific setting in which the research is conducted. The context of a study is important because it helps to clarify the meaning and relevance of the research, and can provide insight into the ways in which the findings might be applied in practice.

Structure of Context of the Study

The structure of the context of the study generally includes several key components that provide the necessary background and framework for the research being conducted. These components typically include:

  • Introduction : This section provides an overview of the research problem , the purpose of the study, and the research questions or hypotheses being tested.
  • Background and Significance : This section discusses the historical, theoretical, and practical background of the research problem, highlighting why the study is important and relevant to the field.
  • Literature Review: This section provides a comprehensive review of the existing literature related to the research problem, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of previous studies and identifying gaps in the literature.
  • Theoretical Framework : This section outlines the theoretical perspective or perspectives that will guide the research and explains how they relate to the research questions or hypotheses.
  • Research Design and Methods: This section provides a detailed description of the research design and methods, including the research approach, sampling strategy, data collection methods, and data analysis procedures.
  • Ethical Considerations : This section discusses the ethical considerations involved in conducting the research, including the protection of human subjects, informed consent, confidentiality, and potential conflicts of interest.
  • Limitations and Delimitations: This section discusses the potential limitations of the study, including any constraints on the research design or methods, as well as the delimitations, or boundaries, of the study.
  • Contribution to the Field: This section explains how the study will contribute to the field, highlighting the potential implications and applications of the research findings.

How to Write Context of the study

Here are some steps to write the context of the study:

  • Identify the research problem: Start by clearly defining the research problem or question you are investigating. This should be a concise statement that highlights the gap in knowledge or understanding that your research seeks to address.
  • Provide background information : Once you have identified the research problem, provide some background information that will help the reader understand the context of the study. This might include a brief history of the topic, relevant statistics or data, or previous research on the subject.
  • Explain the significance: Next, explain why the research is significant. This could be because it addresses an important problem or because it contributes to a theoretical or practical understanding of the topic.
  • Outline the research objectives : State the specific objectives of the study. This helps to focus the research and provides a clear direction for the study.
  • Identify the research approach: Finally, identify the research approach or methodology you will be using. This might include a description of the data collection methods, sample size, or data analysis techniques.

Example of Context of the Study

Here is an example of a context of a study:

Title of the Study: “The Effectiveness of Online Learning in Higher Education”

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many educational institutions to adopt online learning as an alternative to traditional in-person teaching. This study is conducted in the context of the ongoing shift towards online learning in higher education. The study aims to investigate the effectiveness of online learning in terms of student learning outcomes and satisfaction compared to traditional in-person teaching. The study also explores the challenges and opportunities of online learning in higher education, especially in the current pandemic situation. This research is conducted in the United States and involves a sample of undergraduate students enrolled in various universities offering online and in-person courses. The study findings are expected to contribute to the ongoing discussion on the future of higher education and the role of online learning in the post-pandemic era.

Context of the Study in Thesis

The context of the study in a thesis refers to the background, circumstances, and conditions that surround the research problem or topic being investigated. It provides an overview of the broader context within which the study is situated, including the historical, social, economic, and cultural factors that may have influenced the research question or topic.

Context of the Study Example in Thesis

Here is an example of the context of a study in a thesis:

Context of the Study:

The rapid growth of the internet and the increasing popularity of social media have revolutionized the way people communicate, connect, and share information. With the widespread use of social media, there has been a rise in cyberbullying, which is a form of aggression that occurs online. Cyberbullying can have severe consequences for victims, such as depression, anxiety, and even suicide. Thus, there is a need for research that explores the factors that contribute to cyberbullying and the strategies that can be used to prevent or reduce it.

This study aims to investigate the relationship between social media use and cyberbullying among adolescents in the United States. Specifically, the study will examine the following research questions:

  • What is the prevalence of cyberbullying among adolescents who use social media?
  • What are the factors that contribute to cyberbullying among adolescents who use social media?
  • What are the strategies that can be used to prevent or reduce cyberbullying among adolescents who use social media?

The study is significant because it will provide valuable insights into the relationship between social media use and cyberbullying, which can be used to inform policies and programs aimed at preventing or reducing cyberbullying among adolescents. The study will use a mixed-methods approach, including both quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis, to provide a comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon of cyberbullying among adolescents who use social media.

Context of the Study in Research Paper

The context of the study in a research paper refers to the background information that provides a framework for understanding the research problem and its significance. It includes a description of the setting, the research question, the objectives of the study, and the scope of the research.

Context of the Study Example in Research Paper

An example of the context of the study in a research paper might be:

The global pandemic caused by COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the mental health of individuals worldwide. As a result, there has been a growing interest in identifying effective interventions to mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic on mental health. In this study, we aim to explore the impact of a mindfulness-based intervention on the mental health of individuals who have experienced increased stress and anxiety due to the pandemic.

Context of the Study In Research Proposal

The context of a study in a research proposal provides the background and rationale for the proposed research, highlighting the gap or problem that the study aims to address. It also explains why the research is important and relevant to the field of study.

Context of the Study Example In Research Proposal

Here is an example of a context section in a research proposal:

The rise of social media has revolutionized the way people communicate and share information online. As a result, businesses have increasingly turned to social media platforms to promote their products and services, build brand awareness, and engage with customers. However, there is limited research on the effectiveness of social media marketing strategies and the factors that contribute to their success. This research aims to fill this gap by exploring the impact of social media marketing on consumer behavior and identifying the key factors that influence its effectiveness.

Purpose of Context of the Study

The purpose of providing context for a study is to help readers understand the background, scope, and significance of the research being conducted. By contextualizing the study, researchers can provide a clear and concise explanation of the research problem, the research question or hypothesis, and the research design and methodology.

The context of the study includes information about the historical, social, cultural, economic, and political factors that may have influenced the research topic or problem. This information can help readers understand why the research is important, what gaps in knowledge the study seeks to address, and what impact the research may have in the field or in society.

Advantages of Context of the Study

Some advantages of considering the context of a study include:

  • Increased validity: Considering the context can help ensure that the study is relevant to the population being studied and that the findings are more representative of the real world. This can increase the validity of the study and help ensure that its conclusions are accurate.
  • Enhanced understanding: By examining the context of the study, researchers can gain a deeper understanding of the factors that influence the phenomenon under investigation. This can lead to more nuanced findings and a richer understanding of the topic.
  • Improved generalizability: Contextualizing the study can help ensure that the findings are applicable to other settings and populations beyond the specific sample studied. This can improve the generalizability of the study and increase its impact.
  • Better interpretation of results: Understanding the context of the study can help researchers interpret their results more accurately and avoid drawing incorrect conclusions. This can help ensure that the study contributes to the body of knowledge in the field and has practical applications.

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Scope and Delimitations – Explained & Example

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  • By DiscoverPhDs
  • October 2, 2020

Scope and Delimitation

What Is Scope and Delimitation in Research?

The scope and delimitations of a thesis, dissertation or research paper define the topic and boundaries of the research problem to be investigated.

The scope details how in-depth your study is to explore the research question and the parameters in which it will operate in relation to the population and timeframe.

The delimitations of a study are the factors and variables not to be included in the investigation. In other words, they are the boundaries the researcher sets in terms of study duration, population size and type of participants, etc.

Difference Between Delimitations and Limitations

Delimitations refer to the boundaries of the research study, based on the researcher’s decision of what to include and what to exclude. They narrow your study to make it more manageable and relevant to what you are trying to prove.

Limitations relate to the validity and reliability of the study. They are characteristics of the research design or methodology that are out of your control but influence your research findings. Because of this, they determine the internal and external validity of your study and are considered potential weaknesses.

In other words, limitations are what the researcher cannot do (elements outside of their control) and delimitations are what the researcher will not do (elements outside of the boundaries they have set). Both are important because they help to put the research findings into context, and although they explain how the study is limited, they increase the credibility and validity of a research project.

Guidelines on How to Write a Scope

A good scope statement will answer the following six questions:

Delimitation Scope for Thesis Statement

  • Why – the general aims and objectives (purpose) of the research.
  • What – the subject to be investigated, and the included variables.
  • Where – the location or setting of the study, i.e. where the data will be gathered and to which entity the data will belong.
  • When – the timeframe within which the data is to be collected.
  • Who – the subject matter of the study and the population from which they will be selected. This population needs to be large enough to be able to make generalisations.
  • How – how the research is to be conducted, including a description of the research design (e.g. whether it is experimental research, qualitative research or a case study), methodology, research tools and analysis techniques.

To make things as clear as possible, you should also state why specific variables were omitted from the research scope, and whether this was because it was a delimitation or a limitation. You should also explain why they could not be overcome with standard research methods backed up by scientific evidence.

How to Start Writing Your Study Scope

Use the below prompts as an effective way to start writing your scope:

  • This study is to focus on…
  • This study covers the…
  • This study aims to…

Guidelines on How to Write Delimitations

Since the delimitation parameters are within the researcher’s control, readers need to know why they were set, what alternative options were available, and why these alternatives were rejected. For example, if you are collecting data that can be derived from three different but similar experiments, the reader needs to understand how and why you decided to select the one you have.

Your reasons should always be linked back to your research question, as all delimitations should result from trying to make your study more relevant to your scope. Therefore, the scope and delimitations are usually considered together when writing a paper.

How to Start Writing Your Study Delimitations

Use the below prompts as an effective way to start writing your study delimitations:

  • This study does not cover…
  • This study is limited to…
  • The following has been excluded from this study…

Examples of Delimitation in Research

Examples of delimitations include:

  • research objectives,
  • research questions,
  • research variables,
  • target populations,
  • statistical analysis techniques .

Examples of Limitations in Research

Examples of limitations include:

  • Issues with sample and selection,
  • Insufficient sample size, population traits or specific participants for statistical significance,
  • Lack of previous research studies on the topic which has allowed for further analysis,
  • Limitations in the technology/instruments used to collect your data,
  • Limited financial resources and/or funding constraints.

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How To Write Scope and Delimitation of a Research Paper (With Examples)

How To Write Scope and Delimitation of a Research Paper (With Examples)

An effective research paper or thesis has a well-written Scope and Delimitation.  This portion specifies your study’s coverage and boundaries.

Not yet sure about how to write your research’s Scope and Delimitation? Fret not, as we’ll guide you through the entire writing process through this article.

Related: How To Write Significance of the Study (With Examples)

Table of Contents

What is the scope and delimitation of a research paper.

how to write scope and delimitation 1

The “Scope and Delimitation” section states the concepts and variables your study covered. It tells readers which things you have included and excluded in your analysis.

This portion tells two things: 1

  • The study’s “Scope” – concepts and variables you have explored in your research and;
  • The study’s “Delimitation” – the “boundaries” of your study’s scope. It sets apart the things included in your analysis from those excluded.

For example, your scope might be the effectiveness of plant leaves in lowering blood sugar levels. You can “delimit” your study only to the effect of gabi leaves on the blood glucose of Swiss mice.

Where Should I Put the Scope and Delimitation?

This portion is in Chapter 1, usually after the “Background of the Study.”

Why Should I Write the Scope and Delimitation of My Research Paper?

There’s a lot to discover in a research paper or thesis. However, your resources and time dedicated to it are scarce. Thus, given these constraints, you have to narrow down your study. You do this in the Scope and Delimitation.

Suppose you’re studying the correlation between the quantity of organic fertilizer and plant growth . Experimenting with several types of plants is impossible because of several limitations. So, you’ve decided to use one plant type only. 

Informing your readers about this decision is a must. So, you have to state it in your Scope and Delimitation. It also acts as a “disclaimer” that your results are inapplicable to the entire plant kingdom.

What Is the Difference Between Delimitation and Limitation?

how to write scope and delimitation 2

People often use the terms “Delimitation” and “Limitation” interchangeably. However, these words differ 2 .

Delimitation refers to factors you set to limit your analysis. It delineates those that are included in your research and those that are excluded. Remember, delimitations are within your control. 

Meanwhile, limitations are factors beyond your control that may affect your research’s results.  You can think of limitations as the “weaknesses” of your study. 

Let’s go back to our previous example. Due to some constraints, you’ve only decided to examine one plant type: dandelions. This is an example of a delimitation since it limits your analysis to dandelions only and not other plant types. Note that the number of plant types used is within your control. 

Meanwhile, your study cannot state that a higher quantity of organic fertilizer is the sole reason for plant growth. That’s because your research’s focus is only on correlation. Since this is already beyond your control, then this is a limitation. 

How To Write Scope and Delimitation: Step-by-Step Guide

To write your research’s Scope and Delimitation section, follow these steps:

1. Review Your Study’s Objectives and Problem Statement

how to write scope and delimitation 3

Your study’s coverage relies on its objectives. Thus, you can only write this section if you know what you’re researching. Furthermore, ensure that you understand the problems you ought to answer. 

Once you understand the abovementioned things, you may start writing your study’s Scope and Delimitation.

2. State the Key Information To Explain Your Study’s Coverage and Boundaries

how to write scope and delimitation 4

a. The Main Objective of the Research

This refers to the concept that you’re focusing on in your research. Some examples are the following:

  • level of awareness or satisfaction of a particular group of people
  • correlation between two variables
  • effectiveness of a new product
  • comparison between two methods/approaches
  • lived experiences of several individuals

It’s helpful to consult your study’s Objectives or Statement of the Problem section to determine your research’s primary goal.

b. Independent and Dependent Variables Included

Your study’s independent variable is the variable that you manipulate. Meanwhile, the dependent variable is the variable whose result depends upon the independent variable. Both of these variables must be clear and specific when indicated. 

Suppose you study the relationship between social media usage and students’ language skills. These are the possible variables for the study:

  • Independent Variable: Number of hours per day spent on using Facebook
  • Dependent Variable: Grade 10 students’ scores in Quarterly Examination in English. 

Note how specific the variables stated above are. For the independent variable, we narrow it down to Facebook only. Since there are many ways to assess “language skills,” we zero in on the students’ English exam scores as our dependent variable. 

c. Subject of the Study

This refers to your study’s respondents or participants. 

In our previous example, the research participants are Grade 10 students. However, there are a lot of Grade 10 students in the Philippines. Thus, we have to select from a specific school only—for instance, Grade 10 students from a national high school in Manila. 

d. Timeframe and Location of the Study

Specify the month(s), quarter(s), or year(s) as the duration of your study. Also, indicate where you will gather the data required for your research. 

e. Brief Description of the Study’s Research Design and Methodology

You may also include whether your research is quantitative or qualitative, the sampling method (cluster, stratified, purposive) applied, and how you conducted the experiment.

Using our previous example, the Grade 10 students can be selected using stratified sampling. Afterward, the researchers may obtain their English quarterly exam scores from their respective teachers. You can add these things to your study’s Scope and Delimitation. 

3. Indicate Which Variables or Factors Are Not Covered by Your Research

how to write scope and delimitation 5

Although you’ve already set your study’s coverage and boundaries in Step 2, you may also explicitly mention things you’ve excluded from your research. 

Returning to our previous example, you can state that your assessment will not include the vocabulary and oral aspects of the English proficiency skill. 

Examples of Scope and Delimitation of a Research Paper

1. scope and delimitation examples for quantitative research.

how to write scope and delimitation 6

a. Example 1

Research Title

    A Study on the Relationship of the Extent of Facebook Usage on the English Proficiency Level of Grade 10 Students of Matagumpay High School

Scope and Delimitation

(Main Objective)

This study assessed the correlation between the respondents’ duration of Facebook usage and their English proficiency level. 

(Variables used)

The researchers used the number of hours per day of using Facebook and the activities usually performed on the platform to assess the respondents’ extent of Facebook usage. Meanwhile, the respondents’ English proficiency level is limited to their quarterly English exam scores. 

(Subject of the study)

A sample of fifty (50) Grade 10 students of Matagumpay High School served as the study’s respondents. 

(Timeframe and location)

This study was conducted during the Second Semester of the School Year 2018 – 2019 on the premises of Matagumpay High School in Metro Manila. 

(Methodology)

The respondents are selected by performing stratified random sampling to ensure that there will be ten respondents from five Grade 10 classes of the school mentioned above. The researchers administered a 20-item questionnaire to assess the extent of Facebook usage of the selected respondents. Meanwhile, the data for the respondents’ quarterly exam scores were acquired from their English teachers. The collected data are handled with the utmost confidentiality. Spearman’s Rank Order Correlation was applied to quantitatively assess the correlation between the variables.

(Exclusions)

This study didn’t assess other aspects of the respondents’ English proficiency, such as English vocabulary and oral skills. 

Note: The words inside the parentheses in the example above are guides only. They are not included in the actual text.

b. Example 2

  Level of Satisfaction of Grade 11 Students on the Implementation of the Online Learning Setup of Matagumpay High School for SY 2020 – 2021

This study aims to identify students’ satisfaction levels with implementing online learning setups during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students’ satisfaction was assessed according to teachers’ pedagogy, school policies, and learning materials used in the online learning setup. The respondents included sixty (60) Grade 11 students of Matagumpay High School who were randomly picked. The researchers conducted the study from October 2020 to February 2021. 

Online platforms such as email and social media applications were used to reach the respondents. The researchers administered a 15-item online questionnaire to measure the respondents’ satisfaction levels. Each response was assessed using a Likert Scale to provide a descriptive interpretation of their answers. A weighted mean was applied to determine the respondents’ general satisfaction. 

This study did not cover other factors related to the online learning setup, such as the learning platform used, the schedule of synchronous learning, and channels for information dissemination.

2. Scope and Delimitation Examples for Qualitative Research

how to write scope and delimitation 7

  Lived Experiences of Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Drivers of Antipolo City Amidst the Continuous June 2022 Oil Price Hikes

This research focused on the presentation and discussion of the lived experiences of PUV drivers during the constant oil price hike in June 2022.

The respondents involved are five (5) jeepney drivers from Antipolo City who agreed to be interviewed. The researchers assessed their experiences in terms of the following: (1) daily net income; (2) duration and extent of working; (3) alternative employment opportunity considerations; and (4) mental and emotional status. The respondents were interviewed daily at their stations on June 6 – 10, 2022. 

In-depth one-on-one interviews were used for data collection.  Afterward, the respondents’ first-hand experiences were drafted and annotated with the researchers’ insights. 

The researchers excluded some factors in determining the respondents’ experiences, such as physical and health conditions and current family relationship status. 

 A Study on the Perception of the Residents of Mayamot, Antipolo City on the Political and Socioeconomic Conditions During the Post-EDSA Period (1986 – 1996)

This research aims to discuss the perception of Filipinos regarding the political and socioeconomic economic conditions during the post-EDSA period, specifically during the years 1986 – 1996. 

Ten (10) residents of Mayamot, Antipolo City, who belonged to Generation X (currently 40 – 62 years old), were purposively selected as the study’s respondents. The researchers asked them about their perception of the following aspects during the period mentioned above (1) performance of national and local government; (2) bureaucracy and government services; (3) personal economic and financial status; and (4) wage purchasing power. 

The researchers conducted face-to-face interviews in the respondents’ residences during the second semester of AY 2018 – 2019. The responses were written and corroborated with the literature on the post-EDSA period. 

The following factors were not included in the research analysis: political conflicts and turmoils, the status of the legislative and judicial departments, and other macroeconomic indicators. 

Tips and Warnings

1. use the “5ws and 1h” as your guide in understanding your study’s coverage.

  • Why did you write your study?  
  • What variables are included?
  • Who are your study’s subject
  • Where did you conduct the study?
  • When did your study start and end?
  • How did you conduct the study?

2. Use key phrases when writing your research’s scope

  • This study aims to … 
  • This study primarily focuses on …
  • This study deals with … 
  • This study will cover …
  • This study will be confined…

3. Use key phrases when writing factors beyond your research’s delimitations

  • The researcher(s) decided to exclude …
  • This study did not cover….
  • This study excluded … 
  • These variables/factors were excluded from the study…

4. Don’t forget to ask for help

Your research adviser can assist you in selecting specific concepts and variables suitable to your study. Make sure to consult him/her regularly. 

5. Make it brief

No need to make this section wordy. You’re good to go if you meet the “5Ws and 1Hs”. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. what are scope and delimitation in tagalog.

In a Filipino research ( pananaliksik ), Scope and Delimitation is called “ Saklaw at Delimitasyon”. 

Here’s an example of Scope and Delimitation in Filipino:

Pamagat ng Pananaliksik

Epekto Ng Paggamit Ng Mga Digital Learning Tools Sa Pag-Aaral Ng Mga Mag-Aaral Ng Mataas Na Paaralan Ng Matagumpay Sa General Mathematics

Sakop at Delimitasyon ng Pag-aaral

Nakatuon ang pananaliksik na ito sa epekto ng paggamit ng mga digital learning aids sa pag-aaral ng mga mag-aaral.

Ang mga digital learning tools na kinonsidera sa pag-aaral na ito ay Google Classroom, Edmodo, Kahoot, at mga piling bidyo mula YouTube. Samantala, ang epekto sa pag-aaral ng mga mag-aaral ng mga nabanggit na digital learning tools ay natukoy sa pamamagitan ng kanilang (1) mga pananaw hinggil sa benepisyo nito sa kanilang pag-aaral sa General Mathematics at (2) kanilang average grade sa asignaturang ito.

Dalawampu’t-limang (25) mag-aaral mula sa Senior High School ng Mataas na Paaralan ng Matagumpay ang pinili para sa pananaliksik na ito. Sila ay na-interbyu at binigyan ng questionnaire noong Enero 2022 sa nasabing paaralan. Sinuri ang resulta ng pananaliksik sa pamamagitan ng mga instrumentong estadistikal na weighted mean at Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). Hindi saklaw ng pananaliksik na ito ang ibang mga aspeto hinggil sa epekto ng online learning aids sa pag-aaral gaya ng lebel ng pag-unawa sa aralin at kakayahang iugnay ito sa araw-araw na buhay. 

2. The Scope and Delimitation should consist of how many paragraphs?

Three or more paragraphs will suffice for your study’s Scope and Delimitation. Here’s our suggestion on what you should write for each paragraph:

Paragraph 1: Introduction (state research objective) Paragraph 2: Coverage and boundaries of the research (you may divide this section into 2-3 paragraphs) Paragraph 3 : Factors excluded from the study

  • University of St. La Salle. Unit 3: Lesson 3 Setting the Scope and Limitation of a Qualitative Research [Ebook] (p. 12). Retrieved from https://www.studocu.com/ph/document/university-of-st-la-salle/senior-high-school/final-sg-pr1-11-12-unit-3-lesson-3-setting-the-scope-and-limitation-of-a-qualitative-research/24341582
  • Theofanidis, D., & Fountouki, A. (2018). Limitations and Delimitations in the Research Process. Perioperative Nursing (GORNA), 7(3), 155–162. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.2552022

Written by Jewel Kyle Fabula

in Career and Education , Juander How

locale of the study in thesis sample

Jewel Kyle Fabula

Jewel Kyle Fabula is a Bachelor of Science in Economics student at the University of the Philippines Diliman. His passion for learning mathematics developed as he competed in some mathematics competitions during his Junior High School years. He loves cats, playing video games, and listening to music.

Browse all articles written by Jewel Kyle Fabula

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How to Write the Rationale of the Study in Research (Examples)

locale of the study in thesis sample

What is the Rationale of the Study?

The rationale of the study is the justification for taking on a given study. It explains the reason the study was conducted or should be conducted. This means the study rationale should explain to the reader or examiner why the study is/was necessary. It is also sometimes called the “purpose” or “justification” of a study. While this is not difficult to grasp in itself, you might wonder how the rationale of the study is different from your research question or from the statement of the problem of your study, and how it fits into the rest of your thesis or research paper. 

The rationale of the study links the background of the study to your specific research question and justifies the need for the latter on the basis of the former. In brief, you first provide and discuss existing data on the topic, and then you tell the reader, based on the background evidence you just presented, where you identified gaps or issues and why you think it is important to address those. The problem statement, lastly, is the formulation of the specific research question you choose to investigate, following logically from your rationale, and the approach you are planning to use to do that.

Table of Contents:

How to write a rationale for a research paper , how do you justify the need for a research study.

  • Study Rationale Example: Where Does It Go In Your Paper?

The basis for writing a research rationale is preliminary data or a clear description of an observation. If you are doing basic/theoretical research, then a literature review will help you identify gaps in current knowledge. In applied/practical research, you base your rationale on an existing issue with a certain process (e.g., vaccine proof registration) or practice (e.g., patient treatment) that is well documented and needs to be addressed. By presenting the reader with earlier evidence or observations, you can (and have to) convince them that you are not just repeating what other people have already done or said and that your ideas are not coming out of thin air. 

Once you have explained where you are coming from, you should justify the need for doing additional research–this is essentially the rationale of your study. Finally, when you have convinced the reader of the purpose of your work, you can end your introduction section with the statement of the problem of your research that contains clear aims and objectives and also briefly describes (and justifies) your methodological approach. 

When is the Rationale for Research Written?

The author can present the study rationale both before and after the research is conducted. 

  • Before conducting research : The study rationale is a central component of the research proposal . It represents the plan of your work, constructed before the study is actually executed.
  • Once research has been conducted : After the study is completed, the rationale is presented in a research article or  PhD dissertation  to explain why you focused on this specific research question. When writing the study rationale for this purpose, the author should link the rationale of the research to the aims and outcomes of the study.

What to Include in the Study Rationale

Although every study rationale is different and discusses different specific elements of a study’s method or approach, there are some elements that should be included to write a good rationale. Make sure to touch on the following:

  • A summary of conclusions from your review of the relevant literature
  • What is currently unknown (gaps in knowledge)
  • Inconclusive or contested results  from previous studies on the same or similar topic
  • The necessity to improve or build on previous research, such as to improve methodology or utilize newer techniques and/or technologies

There are different types of limitations that you can use to justify the need for your study. In applied/practical research, the justification for investigating something is always that an existing process/practice has a problem or is not satisfactory. Let’s say, for example, that people in a certain country/city/community commonly complain about hospital care on weekends (not enough staff, not enough attention, no decisions being made), but you looked into it and realized that nobody ever investigated whether these perceived problems are actually based on objective shortages/non-availabilities of care or whether the lower numbers of patients who are treated during weekends are commensurate with the provided services.

In this case, “lack of data” is your justification for digging deeper into the problem. Or, if it is obvious that there is a shortage of staff and provided services on weekends, you could decide to investigate which of the usual procedures are skipped during weekends as a result and what the negative consequences are. 

In basic/theoretical research, lack of knowledge is of course a common and accepted justification for additional research—but make sure that it is not your only motivation. “Nobody has ever done this” is only a convincing reason for a study if you explain to the reader why you think we should know more about this specific phenomenon. If there is earlier research but you think it has limitations, then those can usually be classified into “methodological”, “contextual”, and “conceptual” limitations. To identify such limitations, you can ask specific questions and let those questions guide you when you explain to the reader why your study was necessary:

Methodological limitations

  • Did earlier studies try but failed to measure/identify a specific phenomenon?
  • Was earlier research based on incorrect conceptualizations of variables?
  • Were earlier studies based on questionable operationalizations of key concepts?
  • Did earlier studies use questionable or inappropriate research designs?

Contextual limitations

  • Have recent changes in the studied problem made previous studies irrelevant?
  • Are you studying a new/particular context that previous findings do not apply to?

Conceptual limitations

  • Do previous findings only make sense within a specific framework or ideology?

Study Rationale Examples

Let’s look at an example from one of our earlier articles on the statement of the problem to clarify how your rationale fits into your introduction section. This is a very short introduction for a practical research study on the challenges of online learning. Your introduction might be much longer (especially the context/background section), and this example does not contain any sources (which you will have to provide for all claims you make and all earlier studies you cite)—but please pay attention to how the background presentation , rationale, and problem statement blend into each other in a logical way so that the reader can follow and has no reason to question your motivation or the foundation of your research.

Background presentation

Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, most educational institutions around the world have transitioned to a fully online study model, at least during peak times of infections and social distancing measures. This transition has not been easy and even two years into the pandemic, problems with online teaching and studying persist (reference needed) . 

While the increasing gap between those with access to technology and equipment and those without access has been determined to be one of the main challenges (reference needed) , others claim that online learning offers more opportunities for many students by breaking down barriers of location and distance (reference needed) .  

Rationale of the study

Since teachers and students cannot wait for circumstances to go back to normal, the measures that schools and universities have implemented during the last two years, their advantages and disadvantages, and the impact of those measures on students’ progress, satisfaction, and well-being need to be understood so that improvements can be made and demographics that have been left behind can receive the support they need as soon as possible.

Statement of the problem

To identify what changes in the learning environment were considered the most challenging and how those changes relate to a variety of student outcome measures, we conducted surveys and interviews among teachers and students at ten institutions of higher education in four different major cities, two in the US (New York and Chicago), one in South Korea (Seoul), and one in the UK (London). Responses were analyzed with a focus on different student demographics and how they might have been affected differently by the current situation.

How long is a study rationale?

In a research article bound for journal publication, your rationale should not be longer than a few sentences (no longer than one brief paragraph). A  dissertation or thesis  usually allows for a longer description; depending on the length and nature of your document, this could be up to a couple of paragraphs in length. A completely novel or unconventional approach might warrant a longer and more detailed justification than an approach that slightly deviates from well-established methods and approaches.

Consider Using Professional Academic Editing Services

Now that you know how to write the rationale of the study for a research proposal or paper, you should make use of our free AI grammar checker , Wordvice AI, or receive professional academic proofreading services from Wordvice, including research paper editing services and manuscript editing services to polish your submitted research documents.

You can also find many more articles, for example on writing the other parts of your research paper , on choosing a title , or on making sure you understand and adhere to the author instructions before you submit to a journal, on the Wordvice academic resources pages.

Power and sample size analysis for longitudinal mixed models of health in populations exposed to environmental contaminants: a tutorial

Add to collection, downloadable content.

locale of the study in thesis sample

  • Other Affiliation: Lifecourse Epidemiology of Adiposity and Diabetes (LEAD) Center, University of Colorado - Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, United States
  • Other Affiliation: Health Outcomes & Biomedical Informatics, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, United States
  • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Epidemiology
  • Other Affiliation: Lifecourse Epidemiology of Adiposity and Diabetes (LEAD) Center, University of Colorado - Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO 80045, United States
  • Other Affiliation: Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado, Aurora, CO, United States
  • Background: When evaluating the impact of environmental exposures on human health, study designs often include a series of repeated measurements. The goal is to determine whether populations have different trajectories of the environmental exposure over time. Power analyses for longitudinal mixed models require multiple inputs, including clinically significant differences, standard deviations, and correlations of measurements. Further, methods for power analyses of longitudinal mixed models are complex and often challenging for the non-statistician. We discuss methods for extracting clinically relevant inputs from literature, and explain how to conduct a power analysis that appropriately accounts for longitudinal repeated measures. Finally, we provide careful recommendations for describing complex power analyses in a concise and clear manner. Methods: For longitudinal studies of health outcomes from environmental exposures, we show how to [1] conduct a power analysis that aligns with the planned mixed model data analysis, [2] gather the inputs required for the power analysis, and [3] conduct repeated measures power analysis with a highly-cited, validated, free, point-and-click, web-based, open source software platform which was developed specifically for scientists. Results: As an example, we describe the power analysis for a proposed study of repeated measures of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in human blood. We show how to align data analysis and power analysis plan to account for within-participant correlation across repeated measures. We illustrate how to perform a literature review to find inputs for the power analysis. We emphasize the need to examine the sensitivity of the power values by considering standard deviations and differences in means that are smaller and larger than the speculated, literature-based values. Finally, we provide an example power calculation and a summary checklist for describing power and sample size analysis. Conclusions: This paper provides a detailed roadmap for conducting and describing power analyses for longitudinal studies of environmental exposures. It provides a template and checklist for those seeking to write power analyses for grant applications.
  • Persistent chemicals
  • General linear mixed model
  • Free software
  • Sample size
  • Longitudinal study design
  • Repeated measurements
  • Power analysis
  • https://doi.org/10.17615/3h1a-jd66
  • https://doi.org/10.1186/s12874-022-01819-y
  • In Copyright
  • Attribution 4.0 International
  • BMC Medical Research Methodology
  • National Institutes of Health, NIH
  • University of Colorado Denver
  • National Cancer Institute, NCI: K07CA088811
  • National Institute of General Medical Sciences, NIGMS: 3R25GM111901-04S1, 5R01GM121081–08
  • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIEHS: R21ES029394
  • University of Florida, UF: R01GM121081, R25GM111901
  • National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, NIDCR: 1 R01 DE020832-01A1
  • BioMed Central Ltd

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Sample Local Studies of Chapter 2 (Thesis Writing)

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  15. Chapter-3 Final

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    The rationale of the study is the justification for taking on a given study. It explains the reason the study was conducted or should be conducted. This means the study rationale should explain to the reader or examiner why the study is/was necessary. It is also sometimes called the "purpose" or "justification" of a study.

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