The Yellow River Basin involves a vast area, complex and diverse issues, and the corresponding research contents are relatively rich. There is a problem of inconsistency in the scope and partition of spatial research. Based on the Yellow River’s major national strategic objectives, tasks and different research needs, considering the relevance of the river basin and administrative regions in terms of resources utilization, economic development and ecological protection, the defined spatial research scope of the Yellow River Basin covers the Yellow River Basin, the administrative regions that the Yellow River mainstream flows through, prefectural regions involved in the Yellow River Basin, and the entire provincial regions that the Yellow River flows through, and other research scopes and divisions are also expounded. Then, four regional definition schemes are compared and analyzed from multiple aspects (i.e., spatial scope, research object and content, administrative management), and the relationship between different schemes is further clarified. According to the principles of pertinence and purpose, we systematically sort out the selection of different research contents on the spatial scale, and solve the problem of under what circumstances a spatial scale can or should be selected. The research results can provide a unified standard and reference basis for subsequent studies in the Yellow River Basin.