Every research work is aimed at addressing contributing something new to knowledge. Oftentimes, students or upcoming scholars find it difficult to identify a unique area to study so as to come up with interesting findings. One thing you should learn to do is how to identify a gap in knowledge which your study would fill.
Whether it is in communication research or other disciplines, identifying a research gap, or gap in knowledge is a crucial aspect of serious research work. It is in fact, the first step in conducting a study. This is the time you identify a previously unexplored area of research which your study would fill. The best way to identify a problem of study and then formulate a topic that will address that problem is to identify a research gap. The video below could help you understand how to identify research gap or gap in knowledge in your area of study.
A gap is something that remains to be done or learned in an area of research. This refers to a gap in the knowledge of the researchers in the specific field of your study.
Every research work must, in some way, address a gap. The research work attempts to fill a gap in some piece of information missing in a specific area of study.
What is Gap in Knowledge?
Gap in Knowledge/ Research gap/Knowledge gap: discrepancy between what is known and what should be known
Unsolved need area. Your thesis hypothesis should address the research gap you identified in the literature review.
This refers to the gap you will fill with your research approach.
Research gap is an area of study that is either unexplored or under-explored and has scope for further research. It is an untapped area your study seeks to explore. It refers to a question that has not been addressed adequately or that has not been addressed at all.
How to identify Gap in Knowledge
Most works you reviewed may have been done in the Western world, so the study has not been localized to your own country (for studies in Africa for instance). It could be that the methodology used in most works you reviewed are different from the one you want to use. You might want to combine methodologies the way other works in that area have not done before.
The theoretical framework you want to use for the study may be different from the ones used in previous studies.
Look at the area of study. It could be that the work has been done in Nigeria, for instance, but not in the community your own work is focused on.
It could be in the sample size or sampling technique. May be your work will be the first to adopt a particular sample size, sampling technique or a combination of sampling techniques. This is capable of significantly influencing the result.
Use Google search to look for topics related to yours and go through these works. You could identify the research gap by doing so. That is why literature review provides a very good avenue for identifying research gap (gap in literature).
Once you identify the untapped area in your research field (the gap) you will improve your chances of doing a study that will contribute something new to knowledge. Your work will be original