What is the Difference Between Research Problem and Research Gap?

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By Admin Desk

It has been found that students are often confused between the terms “research problem” and “research gap”. There shouldn’t be any confusion between the two as both terms have different meanings and contexts. The research gap and research problem are closely related and are two similar fundamentals of a research study. Both play a critical role in research. As a matter of fact, it is not possible to formulate a research problem without a research gap, and without both, a research study cannot be conducted.

In the process of research, after conducting a thorough literature review, the researcher must identify a research gap first which can be an area that has not been studied or explored in previous research and literature on the topic. Thereafter, a clear research problem is formulated from this research gap. To elaborate on the difference between a research gap and a research problem, our penmypaper expert has curated this article. So, continue reading further.

What Distinguishes the Research Gap and the Problem in Research?

Research gap: The gap between existing theory and practice is referred to as the “research gap.” After a thorough literature review, a gap can be identified; if there is no gap, your research questions have already been answered by others, so continuing will only result in duplicate work.

Research problem: The formulation of a problem statement is the next step a researcher must take after identifying a research gap. A problem statement is a description of a gap in research. It can be made from the gap in research that the researcher wants to fill and clearly states the goals of the research. It is a precise or unambiguous expression or statement about a problem to be fixed, a challenge to eliminate, a problem to be solved, or a concerning question that is found in theory, scholarly literature, or practice and indicates the need for deliberation and meaningful comprehension.

What is a Research Gap?

A crucial component of any research study is a research gap, says the managementpaper writer. It is the focal point of a research project and identifies the area in which crucial information is lacking. A research gap can be defined as a question that has not been addressed or a topic of interest that has not been investigated in prior research. The long-term effects of Covid-19 vaccines, for instance, can be studied by health or medical researchers to fill a gap in the existing body of knowledge.

The researcher must examine all pertinent books, reports, and journal articles on the subject to identify the research gap. After conducting their literature review, researchers typically can determine their research gap. When there are no studies on a new idea or concept, there may be a research gap.

What Is a Research Problem?

A research problem is an issue or gap that the researcher is trying to answer with his or her research. Readers are introduced to the topic being discussed by research problems. It also defines the scope of the investigation and places the issue in a particular context.

A research problem must be specific and cover the most important issues at hand. In addition, the researcher must present it clearly and logically. Also, the research problem needs to make sure that the research is not based on beliefs and opinions but on actual facts and evidence.

According to EduHelpHub, a researcher is more likely to produce a focused and manageable research study with a well-defined research problem.

There are four broad categories of research problems:

  • Descriptive research problems define the significance of a state, situation, or phenomenon.
  • Casuist research problems involve the determination of right and wrong in questions of conduct or conscience.
  • Relational research problems show a relationship between two or more
  • Different research problems compare and contrast two or more phenomena.

Comparing Research Gap and Research Problem


A research problem can be summarized as “an area of concern that indicates the need for a comprehensive investigation and meaningful understanding”. On the other hand, a research gap is “an area of interest which has not been investigated in previous literature on the topic.”

Order of conduct

In the first place, the researcher must identify a gap in the area of his study and then formulate their research problem based on it.


A research gap identifies a knowledge gap in relation to a subject, whereas a research problem recognizes and explains why more research is required.


After conducting an exhaustive literature review, a researcher finds a research gap. From this research gap, he or she then develops a distinct research problem. As a result, the sequence of events distinguishes the research gap from the research problem.