Social Work and Human Services

When developing a research proposal, three important elements of a proposal include the assumptions, limitations, and delimitations. As researchers, we assume certain things about our study; however, those assumptions cannot be verified. We must recognize the limitations of the study; in other words, we must identify the weaknesses in the study. We must also identify the delimitations that set boundaries around the study. Some examples of delimitations include the time of year the study is conducted or the characteristics of the participants.

Assumptions: Assumptions are facts assumed to be true, but not verified. For example, the researcher assumes that the participants fully understood the questions being asked.

Limitations: Limitations are weaknesses in the study. As researchers, we want to presume that our study is perfectly designed. Unfortunately, all studies have limitations. An example of a limitation would be the use of purposive sampling, which limits the researcher’s ability to generalize the findings to all areas of social work.

Delimitations: The delimitations of the study establish the boundaries of the study. Unfortunately, researchers do not have the time or the resources to interview or survey everyone. Therefore, parameters must be established. For example, the researcher for a domestic violence study will use a purposive sampling method that includes only women and not men. In other words, the study excludes men from participating.

Write a one-page summary of the abstract. In paragraph form, discuss what you learned from the research article regarding these points:

  • Identify the Assumptions of the research study in the article
  • Explore the Limitations of the research study in the article
  • Examine the Delimitations of the research study in the article
  • Your paper should align with APA style, including in-text citations, and a reference page.

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