Giving Holyrood more powers while it remains in the UK could satisfy the aspirations of most people in Scotland, a report has found.
Greater devolution "would seem to be an option around which a majority consensus might be capable of being built", according to a study published by the Electoral Reform Society and ScotCen Social Research.
But next year's independence referendum will not ask voters if they favour more powers being transferred to Scotland. Instead, those going to the polls in the historic ballot will only be asked if they want Scotland to either become independent or remain in the UK.
Willie Sullivan, director of the Electoral Reform Society, warned: "The referendum risks squeezing out the real debate on Scotland's democratic future. Scots have real questions on where devolution goes from here. The answers cannot wait until the votes are counted in 2014."
The most recent Scottish Social Attitudes survey found a third of people (32%) back "devo max" which would see politicians in Scotland given responsibility for most areas apart from issues such as defence and foreign policy, compared with slightly more (35%) who support independence.
The Electoral Reform Society and ScotCen Social Research report found that "some scheme of enhanced devolution looks capable of satisfying the aspirations of most Scots because for some it would be more or less exactly what they want, while for others it would at least be a lot closer to the status they would prefer for their country".
Three-fifths (59%) of those questioned in the 2012 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey say defence and foreign affairs should be decided at Westminster but around two-thirds (64%) believe decisions on welfare benefits should be made at Holyrood, while just over half (56%) want taxation to be determined by the Scottish Parliament.
The report accepts that Scotland remaining within the UK but giving Holyrood responsibility for everything apart from defence and foreign affairs is "certainly not the first preference of a majority of people in Scotland, and may not even be the single most popular option" but "it does appear to be capable of securing the consent of a majority of people in Scotland".
Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson said the research is "yet another poll which shows that support for separation remains very much the minority view in Scotland".
An SNP spokeswoman said: "With Westminster's bedroom tax and other extremely damaging changes to the welfare state poised to hit tens of thousands of people across Scotland, a Yes vote in next year's referendum is the only way we will get the opportunity to shape a tax and welfare system that genuinely reflects the priorities of people living here."