University of New England - Innovation for a Healthier Planet

Research Help

Gaps in the Literature

Gaps in the literature are missing pieces or insufficient information in the published research on a topic. These are areas that have opportunities for further research because they are unexplored, under-explored, or outdated. 

Identifying Research Gaps

Finding Gaps

Gaps can be missing or incomplete:

  • Population or sample: size, type, location etc…
  • Research methods: qualitative, quantitative, or mixed
  • Data collection or analysis
  • Research variables or conditions

Conduct a thorough literature search to find a broad range of research articles on your topic. Search research databases;  you can find recommended databases for your subject area in research by subject for your course or program.

Identifying Gaps

If you do not find articles in your literature search, this may indicate a gap.

If you do find articles, the goal is to find a gap for contributing new research. Authors signal that there is a gap using phrases such as:

  • Has not been clarified, studied, reported, or elucidated
  • Further research is required or needed
  • Is not well reported
  • Suggestions for further research
  • Key question is or remains
  • It is important to address
  • Poorly understood or known
  • Lack of studies


  • These findings provide valuable insights into the potential benefits of mindfulness-based interventions for stress management,however,further study is needed to address several limitations and extend our understanding in this area .
  • While this study provides preliminary evidence of the potential efficacy of VRET in reducing PTSD symptoms, several aspects related to its implementation and specific treatment outcomes remain inadequately clarified, highlighting the need for further research.
  • Although the studies reviewed provide valuable insights into the potential effects of climate change on species composition and ecosystem functioning. The question of how climate change will interact with other anthropogenic stressors to influence the resilience and adaptive capacity of tropical rainforest ecosystems remains unanswered, highlighting the need for further research.

Questions & Help

If you have questions on this, or another, topic, contact a librarian for help!