Delimitation and Limitation:
There may be many aspects of the problem that need to be explored, but it is difficult to cover all aspects in a single research study because of Limited time, finance, facilities and other reasons. Delimitations indicate the cut off points beyond which the researcher does not intend to probe. 'It includes those restrictions that the researcher placed on the study prior to gathering data. Refer to the example of pre-operative teaching of breathing exercises where only adult of 20 to 55 years of age participated in the study. This means that any patient with less than 20 or more than 55 years was not included in the sample. Hence, one of the delimitations was age i.e. "the study was limited to adult patients between the age of 20 to 55 years. "Delimitations are considered at every decision point during planning stage of the study.
The limitations indicate the weaknesses of the entire study, as the researcher perceives them. The reader looks for the shortcomings for two reasons; one, to identify whether the researcher has recognized the flaws; second to know the difficulties the researcher has faced which are valuable for future researcher. Some of the common examples of limitations are "the reliability; the instrument developed was not satisfactory; "subject--mortality", i.e. some of the sample subjects who took the pretest were not available for post-test, "content of the data indicate subjective bias".
Therefore the delimitations are set during the planning stage whereas the limitations are experienced during implementation stage and these uncontrollable elements are reported in the third stage of research process i.e. while writing.