Start your dissertation by identifying relevant research gaps

By Abhinash on December 9, 2022

One of the most challenging aspects of starting a dissertation is figuring out where to begin. There is so much literature out there on every conceivable topic that it can be overwhelming to try and narrow it down. A good place to start is by identifying research gaps and problems. This will help you focus your research and make sure that you are making a valuable contribution to the field.

As you start writing your dissertation report, think of the report as a conversation between you and your readers. They want to know what you’ve learned and how it can be applied in the real world. In this article, we will explore how to start your dissertation report by identifying relevant research gaps and problems.

Why establish existing research gaps?

A research gap is a problem or question that has not been addressed by previous research. A dissertation report should start by identifying relevant research gaps and problems in the field of study. This will help to focus the research and make it more likely to contribute to new knowledge in the field.


In the field of medicine, there can be several research gaps in the area of treatments for a certain disease.

There are many ways to identify research gaps and problems. One way is to search the literature for keywords related to the topic of interest. Another way is to attend conferences and talk to scholars in the field to get their perspectives on current debates and areas of need for further research. When you are conducting a literature review as part of your research, it is important to identify any gaps in the existing research. This will help you to focus your own research and make a contribution to the field. In addition, by highlighting the importance of the problem or gap in research, you can demonstrate to your committee the significance of your study and its potential impact.

Steps to follow

Steps to follow to identify research gaps for a dissertation
Steps to follow to identify research gaps for a dissertation
  1. Read widely in your field. This will give you a good overview of the existing research.
  2. Identify both what has been researched and what has not been researched.
  3. Talk to other scholars in your field. They may be able to point out areas that have not been adequately explored or may be aware of upcoming research.
  4. Examine the methods used in existing studies. This can help you to identify any areas where further research is needed or where different methodologies could be used to yield new insights.
  5. Another way is to look at the research that has been done in related fields and see if there are any gaps that could be applied to your field of study.

Are the identified gaps relevant to your study?

Once you have identified potential research gaps and problems, it is important to assess whether they are worth investigating further. This includes considering whether the gap is significant enough that it could make a meaningful contribution to the field and whether there is enough evidence or data available to conduct a thorough investigation. Once you have decided that a particular gap or problem is worth addressing, you can then begin to develop a methodology to mathematically support your investigation. This will involve designing a questionnaire that will collect data to address the gap or problem. The design of your study will need to be appropriate for the type of data you want to collect and the resources you have available. Once you have designed your study, write a proposal outlining your methodology and how it will address the research gap or problem.

I am currently working as a Research Associate. My work is centered on Macroeconomics with modern econometric approach. Broadly, the methodological research focuses on Panel data and Times series data analysis for causal inference and prediction. I also served as a reviewer to Journals of Taylor & Francis Group, Emerald, Sage.