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How to Make a Conceptual Framework

How to Make a Conceptual Framework

  • 6-minute read
  • 2nd January 2022

What is a conceptual framework? And why is it important?

A conceptual framework illustrates the relationship between the variables of a research question. It’s an outline of what you’d expect to find in a research project.

Conceptual frameworks should be constructed before data collection and are vital because they map out the actions needed in the study. This should be the first step of an undergraduate or graduate research project.

What Is In a Conceptual Framework?

In a conceptual framework, you’ll find a visual representation of the key concepts and relationships that are central to a research study or project . This can be in form of a diagram, flow chart, or any other visual representation. Overall, a conceptual framework serves as a guide for understanding the problem being studied and the methods being used to investigate it.

Steps to Developing the Perfect Conceptual Framework

  • Pick a question
  • Conduct a literature review
  • Identify your variables
  • Create your conceptual framework

1. Pick a Question

You should already have some idea of the broad area of your research project. Try to narrow down your research field to a manageable topic in terms of time and resources. From there, you need to formulate your research question. A research question answers the researcher’s query: “What do I want to know about my topic?” Research questions should be focused, concise, arguable and, ideally, should address a topic of importance within your field of research.

An example of a simple research question is: “What is the relationship between sunny days and ice cream sales?”

2. Conduct a Literature Review

A literature review is an analysis of the scholarly publications on a chosen topic. To undertake a literature review, search for articles with the same theme as your research question. Choose updated and relevant articles to analyze and use peer-reviewed and well-respected journals whenever possible.

For the above example, the literature review would investigate publications that discuss how ice cream sales are affected by the weather. The literature review should reveal the variables involved and any current hypotheses about this relationship.

3. Identify Your Variables

There are two key variables in every experiment: independent and dependent variables.

Independent Variables

The independent variable (otherwise known as the predictor or explanatory variable) is the expected cause of the experiment: what the scientist changes or changes on its own. In our example, the independent variable would be “the number of sunny days.”

Dependent Variables

The dependent variable (otherwise known as the response or outcome variable) is the expected effect of the experiment: what is being studied or measured. In our example, the dependent variable would be “the quantity of ice cream sold.”

Next, there are control variables.

Control Variables

A control variable is a variable that may impact the dependent variable but whose effects are not going to be measured in the research project. In our example, a control variable could be “the socioeconomic status of participants.” Control variables should be kept constant to isolate the effects of the other variables in the experiment.

Finally, there are intervening and extraneous variables.

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Intervening Variables

Intervening variables link the independent and dependent variables and clarify their connection. In our example, an intervening variable could be “temperature.”

Extraneous Variables

Extraneous variables are any variables that are not being investigated but could impact the outcomes of the study. Some instances of extraneous variables for our example would be “the average price of ice cream” or “the number of varieties of ice cream available.” If you control an extraneous variable, it becomes a control variable.

4. Create Your Conceptual Framework

Having picked your research question, undertaken a literature review, and identified the relevant variables, it’s now time to construct your conceptual framework. Conceptual frameworks are clear and often visual representations of the relationships between variables.

We’ll start with the basics: the independent and dependent variables.

Our hypothesis is that the quantity of ice cream sold directly depends on the number of sunny days; hence, there is a cause-and-effect relationship between the independent variable (the number of sunny days) and the dependent and independent variable (the quantity of ice cream sold).

Next, introduce a control variable. Remember, this is anything that might directly affect the dependent variable but is not being measured in the experiment:

Finally, introduce the intervening and extraneous variables. 

The intervening variable (temperature) clarifies the relationship between the independent variable (the number of sunny days) and the dependent variable (the quantity of ice cream sold). Extraneous variables, such as the average price of ice cream, are variables that are not controlled and can potentially impact the dependent variable.

Are Conceptual Frameworks and Research Paradigms the Same?

In simple terms, the research paradigm is what informs your conceptual framework. In defining our research paradigm we ask the big questions—Is there an objective truth and how can we understand it? If we decide the answer is yes, we may be working with a positivist research paradigm and will choose to build a conceptual framework that displays the relationship between fixed variables. If not, we may be working with a constructivist research paradigm, and thus our conceptual framework will be more of a loose amalgamation of ideas, theories, and themes (a qualitative study). If this is confusing–don’t worry! We have an excellent blog post explaining research paradigms in more detail.

Where is the Conceptual Framework Located in a Thesis?

This will depend on your discipline, research type, and school’s guidelines, but most papers will include a section presenting the conceptual framework in the introduction, literature review, or opening chapter. It’s best to present your conceptual framework after presenting your research question, but before outlining your methodology.

Can a Conceptual Framework be Used in a Qualitative Study?

Yes. Despite being less clear-cut than a quantitative study, all studies should present some form of a conceptual framework. Let’s say you were doing a study on care home practices and happiness, and you came across a “happiness model” constructed by a relevant theorist in your literature review. Your conceptual framework could be an outline or a visual depiction of how you will use this model to collect and interpret qualitative data for your own study (such as interview responses). Check out this useful resource showing other examples of conceptual frameworks for qualitative studies .

Expert Proofreading for Researchers

Whether you’re a seasoned academic or not, you will want your research paper to be error-free and fluently written. That’s where proofreading comes in. Our editors are on hand 24 hours a day to ensure your writing is concise, clear, and precise. Submit a free sample of your writing today to try our services.

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What is the Conceptual Framework of a Dissertation?

Published by Anastasia Lois at August 13th, 2021 , Revised On August 22, 2023

Before you start researching your dissertation, it is recommended to develop a dissertation’s conceptual framework.

Conceptual Framework for Testing Research

The  type of research  you are performing will determine whether or not developing a conceptual framework will prove to be helpful. A conceptual framework for the  dissertation  provides the liberty to the theorists and researchers to test the  hypothesis  and see if they will verify an idea. You can also observe whether appropriate variables have been selected for the research purpose.

How Does the Conceptual Framework Relate to Cause-effect Relationship?

It is important to understand that the  conceptual framework in research  is just like test-drive before buying a car to see and check whether it is suitable for you or not? It involves the cause-effect relationship where we figure out the effect of one subject’s action on the other and vice versa.

Example of Cause-Effect Relationship – Let’s understand it by an illustration:

Sia is a university student who got a gold medal for her tremendous CGPA throughout her degree program. She received the gold medal for the continuous hard work she had been doing for 4 years. She came to know that the cause of getting a gold medal was hard work.

Use the conceptual framework to identify the expected results before methodologically showcasing a cause-effect relationship for your dissertation and recognise the relevant variables. Variables hold the attributes which describe the cause-effect relationship. In the example given above, two variables “Gold Medal” and “Hard Work” were used.

Dependent and Independent Variables

Two variables constitute a cause-effect relationship, i.e., the independent and dependent variables. If we look at our example, “hard work” is an independent variable, while the “gold medal” is the dependent variable. In simple words, to achieve a gold medal, you need to work hard. As a result, the gold medal is dependent on hard work.

There can be more than one independent variable that can affect the dependent variable. For instance, another independent variable that we can extract from the same example is; “CGPA”. This means that “excellent CGPA” resulted in achieving “gold medal”, which in this case “CGPA’ is the independent variable and “gold medal” is the dependent variable.

Developing a Conceptual Framework in Dissertation

Now that we have established the two types of variables (independent & dependent), we can  answer the question  of  a conceptual framework in the dissertation . At this stage, we start to construct a conceptual framework for the dissertation, including all of its components, including boxes, arrows, and lines.

Start by mentioning each variable in a box. To represent the cause-effect relationship, you can make use of arrows. Arrows would start from the independent variable and should point towards the dependent variable.

If there isn’t a cause-effect relationship, you should use a simple line instead of an arrow despite the correlation relationship between the variables.

These components are mentioned below:

Underneath is a conceptual framework describing the cause-effect relationship, starting from the independent variable (hard work) and pointing towards the dependent variable (gold medal).

Conceptual Framewrok in dissertation copy

Sample conceptual framework using an independent variable and a dependent variable

Students must make sure that deep down they know the academic basis for choosing certain research methods. “I figured out or In my opinion” will not be an acceptable justification. So you will need to come up with concrete academic reasons for your selection of research methods.

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Expanding the Conceptual Framework

There are some further types of variables that can be used for the  conceptual framework in research . These variables expand the scope of the conceptual framework depending on the type of research.

Moderator variables

A moderator variable is one which changes the effect on a dependent variable caused by an independent variable. It fluctuates the effect when being used in an effect-cause relationship between two variables.

Mediator variables

A mediator variable allows the cause-effect relationship to be understood in a better way. Mediator variables are not straightforward to understand and must to be supported by stats for the rational outcome.

Control variables

A control variable is a variable that, along with the independent variable, alters the effect on the dependent variable.

Also Read: Primary or Secondary Research in my Dissertation?

What to Do Next?

After completing the conceptual framework, you need to research to get to know about the relationships between variables. There are  numerous research methods  (qualitative and quantitative) from which you can choose:

  • Literature reviews

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do you write a conceptual framework for a dissertation.

To write a conceptual framework for a dissertation:

  • Define key concepts.
  • Identify relationships between them.
  • Connect to existing theories.
  • Explain the framework’s purpose.
  • Illustrate with diagrams if needed.
  • Align with research questions and guide study design.

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The list of figures and tables in dissertation help the readers find tables and figures of their interest without looking through the whole dissertation.

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  • What Is a Conceptual Framework? | Tips & Examples

What Is a Conceptual Framework? | Tips & Examples

Published on 4 May 2022 by Bas Swaen and Tegan George. Revised on 18 March 2024.

Conceptual-Framework-example

A conceptual framework illustrates the expected relationship between your variables. It defines the relevant objectives for your research process and maps out how they come together to draw coherent conclusions.

Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to help you construct your own conceptual framework.

Table of contents

Developing a conceptual framework in research, step 1: choose your research question, step 2: select your independent and dependent variables, step 3: visualise your cause-and-effect relationship, step 4: identify other influencing variables, frequently asked questions about conceptual models.

A conceptual framework is a representation of the relationship you expect to see between your variables, or the characteristics or properties that you want to study.

Conceptual frameworks can be written or visual and are generally developed based on a literature review of existing studies about your topic.

Your research question guides your work by determining exactly what you want to find out, giving your research process a clear focus.

However, before you start collecting your data, consider constructing a conceptual framework. This will help you map out which variables you will measure and how you expect them to relate to one another.

In order to move forward with your research question and test a cause-and-effect relationship, you must first identify at least two key variables: your independent and dependent variables .

  • The expected cause, ‘hours of study’, is the independent variable (the predictor, or explanatory variable)
  • The expected effect, ‘exam score’, is the dependent variable (the response, or outcome variable).

Note that causal relationships often involve several independent variables that affect the dependent variable. For the purpose of this example, we’ll work with just one independent variable (‘hours of study’).

Now that you’ve figured out your research question and variables, the first step in designing your conceptual framework is visualising your expected cause-and-effect relationship.

Sample-conceptual-framework-using-an-independent-variable-and-a-dependent-variable

It’s crucial to identify other variables that can influence the relationship between your independent and dependent variables early in your research process.

Some common variables to include are moderating, mediating, and control variables.

Moderating variables

Moderating variable (or moderators) alter the effect that an independent variable has on a dependent variable. In other words, moderators change the ‘effect’ component of the cause-and-effect relationship.

Let’s add the moderator ‘IQ’. Here, a student’s IQ level can change the effect that the variable ‘hours of study’ has on the exam score. The higher the IQ, the fewer hours of study are needed to do well on the exam.

Sample-conceptual-framework-with-a-moderator-variable

Let’s take a look at how this might work. The graph below shows how the number of hours spent studying affects exam score. As expected, the more hours you study, the better your results. Here, a student who studies for 20 hours will get a perfect score.

Figure-effect-without-moderator

But the graph looks different when we add our ‘IQ’ moderator of 120. A student with this IQ will achieve a perfect score after just 15 hours of study.

Figure-effect-with-moderator-iq-120

Below, the value of the ‘IQ’ moderator has been increased to 150. A student with this IQ will only need to invest five hours of study in order to get a perfect score.

Figure-effect-with-moderator-iq-150

Here, we see that a moderating variable does indeed change the cause-and-effect relationship between two variables.

Mediating variables

Now we’ll expand the framework by adding a mediating variable . Mediating variables link the independent and dependent variables, allowing the relationship between them to be better explained.

Here’s how the conceptual framework might look if a mediator variable were involved:

Conceptual-framework-mediator-variable

In this case, the mediator helps explain why studying more hours leads to a higher exam score. The more hours a student studies, the more practice problems they will complete; the more practice problems completed, the higher the student’s exam score will be.

Moderator vs mediator

It’s important not to confuse moderating and mediating variables. To remember the difference, you can think of them in relation to the independent variable:

  • A moderating variable is not affected by the independent variable, even though it affects the dependent variable. For example, no matter how many hours you study (the independent variable), your IQ will not get higher.
  • A mediating variable is affected by the independent variable. In turn, it also affects the dependent variable. Therefore, it links the two variables and helps explain the relationship between them.

Control variables

Lastly,  control variables must also be taken into account. These are variables that are held constant so that they don’t interfere with the results. Even though you aren’t interested in measuring them for your study, it’s crucial to be aware of as many of them as you can be.

Conceptual-framework-control-variable

A mediator variable explains the process through which two variables are related, while a moderator variable affects the strength and direction of that relationship.

No. The value of a dependent variable depends on an independent variable, so a variable cannot be both independent and dependent at the same time. It must be either the cause or the effect, not both.

Yes, but including more than one of either type requires multiple research questions .

For example, if you are interested in the effect of a diet on health, you can use multiple measures of health: blood sugar, blood pressure, weight, pulse, and many more. Each of these is its own dependent variable with its own research question.

You could also choose to look at the effect of exercise levels as well as diet, or even the additional effect of the two combined. Each of these is a separate independent variable .

To ensure the internal validity of an experiment , you should only change one independent variable at a time.

A control variable is any variable that’s held constant in a research study. It’s not a variable of interest in the study, but it’s controlled because it could influence the outcomes.

A confounding variable , also called a confounder or confounding factor, is a third variable in a study examining a potential cause-and-effect relationship.

A confounding variable is related to both the supposed cause and the supposed effect of the study. It can be difficult to separate the true effect of the independent variable from the effect of the confounding variable.

In your research design , it’s important to identify potential confounding variables and plan how you will reduce their impact.

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Swaen, B. & George, T. (2024, March 18). What Is a Conceptual Framework? | Tips & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved 20 May 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/research-methods/conceptual-frameworks/

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Home » Conceptual Framework – Types, Methodology and Examples

Conceptual Framework – Types, Methodology and Examples

Table of Contents

Conceptual Framework

Conceptual Framework

Definition:

A conceptual framework is a structured approach to organizing and understanding complex ideas, theories, or concepts. It provides a systematic and coherent way of thinking about a problem or topic, and helps to guide research or analysis in a particular field.

A conceptual framework typically includes a set of assumptions, concepts, and propositions that form a theoretical framework for understanding a particular phenomenon. It can be used to develop hypotheses, guide empirical research, or provide a framework for evaluating and interpreting data.

Conceptual Framework in Research

In research, a conceptual framework is a theoretical structure that provides a framework for understanding a particular phenomenon or problem. It is a key component of any research project and helps to guide the research process from start to finish.

A conceptual framework provides a clear understanding of the variables, relationships, and assumptions that underpin a research study. It outlines the key concepts that the study is investigating and how they are related to each other. It also defines the scope of the study and sets out the research questions or hypotheses.

Types of Conceptual Framework

Types of Conceptual Framework are as follows:

Theoretical Framework

A theoretical framework is an overarching set of concepts, ideas, and assumptions that help to explain and interpret a phenomenon. It provides a theoretical perspective on the phenomenon being studied and helps researchers to identify the relationships between different concepts. For example, a theoretical framework for a study on the impact of social media on mental health might draw on theories of communication, social influence, and psychological well-being.

Conceptual Model

A conceptual model is a visual or written representation of a complex system or phenomenon. It helps to identify the main components of the system and the relationships between them. For example, a conceptual model for a study on the factors that influence employee turnover might include factors such as job satisfaction, salary, work-life balance, and job security, and the relationships between them.

Empirical Framework

An empirical framework is based on empirical data and helps to explain a particular phenomenon. It involves collecting data, analyzing it, and developing a framework to explain the results. For example, an empirical framework for a study on the impact of a new health intervention might involve collecting data on the intervention’s effectiveness, cost, and acceptability to patients.

Descriptive Framework

A descriptive framework is used to describe a particular phenomenon. It helps to identify the main characteristics of the phenomenon and to develop a vocabulary to describe it. For example, a descriptive framework for a study on different types of musical genres might include descriptions of the instruments used, the rhythms and beats, the vocal styles, and the cultural contexts of each genre.

Analytical Framework

An analytical framework is used to analyze a particular phenomenon. It involves breaking down the phenomenon into its constituent parts and analyzing them separately. This type of framework is often used in social science research. For example, an analytical framework for a study on the impact of race on police brutality might involve analyzing the historical and cultural factors that contribute to racial bias, the organizational factors that influence police behavior, and the psychological factors that influence individual officers’ behavior.

Conceptual Framework for Policy Analysis

A conceptual framework for policy analysis is used to guide the development of policies or programs. It helps policymakers to identify the key issues and to develop strategies to address them. For example, a conceptual framework for a policy analysis on climate change might involve identifying the key stakeholders, assessing their interests and concerns, and developing policy options to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Logical Frameworks

Logical frameworks are used to plan and evaluate projects and programs. They provide a structured approach to identifying project goals, objectives, and outcomes, and help to ensure that all stakeholders are aligned and working towards the same objectives.

Conceptual Frameworks for Program Evaluation

These frameworks are used to evaluate the effectiveness of programs or interventions. They provide a structure for identifying program goals, objectives, and outcomes, and help to measure the impact of the program on its intended beneficiaries.

Conceptual Frameworks for Organizational Analysis

These frameworks are used to analyze and evaluate organizational structures, processes, and performance. They provide a structured approach to understanding the relationships between different departments, functions, and stakeholders within an organization.

Conceptual Frameworks for Strategic Planning

These frameworks are used to develop and implement strategic plans for organizations or businesses. They help to identify the key factors and stakeholders that will impact the success of the plan, and provide a structure for setting goals, developing strategies, and monitoring progress.

Components of Conceptual Framework

The components of a conceptual framework typically include:

  • Research question or problem statement : This component defines the problem or question that the conceptual framework seeks to address. It sets the stage for the development of the framework and guides the selection of the relevant concepts and constructs.
  • Concepts : These are the general ideas, principles, or categories that are used to describe and explain the phenomenon or problem under investigation. Concepts provide the building blocks of the framework and help to establish a common language for discussing the issue.
  • Constructs : Constructs are the specific variables or concepts that are used to operationalize the general concepts. They are measurable or observable and serve as indicators of the underlying concept.
  • Propositions or hypotheses : These are statements that describe the relationships between the concepts or constructs in the framework. They provide a basis for testing the validity of the framework and for generating new insights or theories.
  • Assumptions : These are the underlying beliefs or values that shape the framework. They may be explicit or implicit and may influence the selection and interpretation of the concepts and constructs.
  • Boundaries : These are the limits or scope of the framework. They define the focus of the investigation and help to clarify what is included and excluded from the analysis.
  • Context : This component refers to the broader social, cultural, and historical factors that shape the phenomenon or problem under investigation. It helps to situate the framework within a larger theoretical or empirical context and to identify the relevant variables and factors that may affect the phenomenon.
  • Relationships and connections: These are the connections and interrelationships between the different components of the conceptual framework. They describe how the concepts and constructs are linked and how they contribute to the overall understanding of the phenomenon or problem.
  • Variables : These are the factors that are being measured or observed in the study. They are often operationalized as constructs and are used to test the propositions or hypotheses.
  • Methodology : This component describes the research methods and techniques that will be used to collect and analyze data. It includes the sampling strategy, data collection methods, data analysis techniques, and ethical considerations.
  • Literature review : This component provides an overview of the existing research and theories related to the phenomenon or problem under investigation. It helps to identify the gaps in the literature and to situate the framework within the broader theoretical and empirical context.
  • Outcomes and implications: These are the expected outcomes or implications of the study. They describe the potential contributions of the study to the theoretical and empirical knowledge in the field and the practical implications for policy and practice.

Conceptual Framework Methodology

Conceptual Framework Methodology is a research method that is commonly used in academic and scientific research to develop a theoretical framework for a study. It is a systematic approach that helps researchers to organize their thoughts and ideas, identify the variables that are relevant to their study, and establish the relationships between these variables.

Here are the steps involved in the conceptual framework methodology:

Identify the Research Problem

The first step is to identify the research problem or question that the study aims to answer. This involves identifying the gaps in the existing literature and determining what specific issue the study aims to address.

Conduct a Literature Review

The second step involves conducting a thorough literature review to identify the existing theories, models, and frameworks that are relevant to the research question. This will help the researcher to identify the key concepts and variables that need to be considered in the study.

Define key Concepts and Variables

The next step is to define the key concepts and variables that are relevant to the study. This involves clearly defining the terms used in the study, and identifying the factors that will be measured or observed in the study.

Develop a Theoretical Framework

Once the key concepts and variables have been identified, the researcher can develop a theoretical framework. This involves establishing the relationships between the key concepts and variables, and creating a visual representation of these relationships.

Test the Framework

The final step is to test the theoretical framework using empirical data. This involves collecting and analyzing data to determine whether the relationships between the key concepts and variables that were identified in the framework are accurate and valid.

Examples of Conceptual Framework

Some realtime Examples of Conceptual Framework are as follows:

  • In economics , the concept of supply and demand is a well-known conceptual framework. It provides a structure for understanding how prices are set in a market, based on the interplay of the quantity of goods supplied by producers and the quantity of goods demanded by consumers.
  • In psychology , the cognitive-behavioral framework is a widely used conceptual framework for understanding mental health and illness. It emphasizes the role of thoughts and behaviors in shaping emotions and the importance of cognitive restructuring and behavior change in treatment.
  • In sociology , the social determinants of health framework provides a way of understanding how social and economic factors such as income, education, and race influence health outcomes. This framework is widely used in public health research and policy.
  • In environmental science , the ecosystem services framework is a way of understanding the benefits that humans derive from natural ecosystems, such as clean air and water, pollination, and carbon storage. This framework is used to guide conservation and land-use decisions.
  • In education, the constructivist framework is a way of understanding how learners construct knowledge through active engagement with their environment. This framework is used to guide instructional design and teaching strategies.

Applications of Conceptual Framework

Some of the applications of Conceptual Frameworks are as follows:

  • Research : Conceptual frameworks are used in research to guide the design, implementation, and interpretation of studies. Researchers use conceptual frameworks to develop hypotheses, identify research questions, and select appropriate methods for collecting and analyzing data.
  • Policy: Conceptual frameworks are used in policy-making to guide the development of policies and programs. Policymakers use conceptual frameworks to identify key factors that influence a particular problem or issue, and to develop strategies for addressing them.
  • Education : Conceptual frameworks are used in education to guide the design and implementation of instructional strategies and curriculum. Educators use conceptual frameworks to identify learning objectives, select appropriate teaching methods, and assess student learning.
  • Management : Conceptual frameworks are used in management to guide decision-making and strategy development. Managers use conceptual frameworks to understand the internal and external factors that influence their organizations, and to develop strategies for achieving their goals.
  • Evaluation : Conceptual frameworks are used in evaluation to guide the development of evaluation plans and to interpret evaluation results. Evaluators use conceptual frameworks to identify key outcomes, indicators, and measures, and to develop a logic model for their evaluation.

Purpose of Conceptual Framework

The purpose of a conceptual framework is to provide a theoretical foundation for understanding and analyzing complex phenomena. Conceptual frameworks help to:

  • Guide research : Conceptual frameworks provide a framework for researchers to develop hypotheses, identify research questions, and select appropriate methods for collecting and analyzing data. By providing a theoretical foundation for research, conceptual frameworks help to ensure that research is rigorous, systematic, and valid.
  • Provide clarity: Conceptual frameworks help to provide clarity and structure to complex phenomena by identifying key concepts, relationships, and processes. By providing a clear and systematic understanding of a phenomenon, conceptual frameworks help to ensure that researchers, policymakers, and practitioners are all on the same page when it comes to understanding the issue at hand.
  • Inform decision-making : Conceptual frameworks can be used to inform decision-making and strategy development by identifying key factors that influence a particular problem or issue. By understanding the complex interplay of factors that contribute to a particular issue, decision-makers can develop more effective strategies for addressing the problem.
  • Facilitate communication : Conceptual frameworks provide a common language and conceptual framework for researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to communicate and collaborate on complex issues. By providing a shared understanding of a phenomenon, conceptual frameworks help to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal.

When to use Conceptual Framework

There are several situations when it is appropriate to use a conceptual framework:

  • To guide the research : A conceptual framework can be used to guide the research process by providing a clear roadmap for the research project. It can help researchers identify key variables and relationships, and develop hypotheses or research questions.
  • To clarify concepts : A conceptual framework can be used to clarify and define key concepts and terms used in a research project. It can help ensure that all researchers are using the same language and have a shared understanding of the concepts being studied.
  • To provide a theoretical basis: A conceptual framework can provide a theoretical basis for a research project by linking it to existing theories or conceptual models. This can help researchers build on previous research and contribute to the development of a field.
  • To identify gaps in knowledge : A conceptual framework can help identify gaps in existing knowledge by highlighting areas that require further research or investigation.
  • To communicate findings : A conceptual framework can be used to communicate research findings by providing a clear and concise summary of the key variables, relationships, and assumptions that underpin the research project.

Characteristics of Conceptual Framework

key characteristics of a conceptual framework are:

  • Clear definition of key concepts : A conceptual framework should clearly define the key concepts and terms being used in a research project. This ensures that all researchers have a shared understanding of the concepts being studied.
  • Identification of key variables: A conceptual framework should identify the key variables that are being studied and how they are related to each other. This helps to organize the research project and provides a clear focus for the study.
  • Logical structure: A conceptual framework should have a logical structure that connects the key concepts and variables being studied. This helps to ensure that the research project is coherent and consistent.
  • Based on existing theory : A conceptual framework should be based on existing theory or conceptual models. This helps to ensure that the research project is grounded in existing knowledge and builds on previous research.
  • Testable hypotheses or research questions: A conceptual framework should include testable hypotheses or research questions that can be answered through empirical research. This helps to ensure that the research project is rigorous and scientifically valid.
  • Flexibility : A conceptual framework should be flexible enough to allow for modifications as new information is gathered during the research process. This helps to ensure that the research project is responsive to new findings and is able to adapt to changing circumstances.

Advantages of Conceptual Framework

Advantages of the Conceptual Framework are as follows:

  • Clarity : A conceptual framework provides clarity to researchers by outlining the key concepts and variables that are relevant to the research project. This clarity helps researchers to focus on the most important aspects of the research problem and develop a clear plan for investigating it.
  • Direction : A conceptual framework provides direction to researchers by helping them to develop hypotheses or research questions that are grounded in existing theory or conceptual models. This direction ensures that the research project is relevant and contributes to the development of the field.
  • Efficiency : A conceptual framework can increase efficiency in the research process by providing a structure for organizing ideas and data. This structure can help researchers to avoid redundancies and inconsistencies in their work, saving time and effort.
  • Rigor : A conceptual framework can help to ensure the rigor of a research project by providing a theoretical basis for the investigation. This rigor is essential for ensuring that the research project is scientifically valid and produces meaningful results.
  • Communication : A conceptual framework can facilitate communication between researchers by providing a shared language and understanding of the key concepts and variables being studied. This communication is essential for collaboration and the advancement of knowledge in the field.
  • Generalization : A conceptual framework can help to generalize research findings beyond the specific study by providing a theoretical basis for the investigation. This generalization is essential for the development of knowledge in the field and for informing future research.

Limitations of Conceptual Framework

Limitations of Conceptual Framework are as follows:

  • Limited applicability: Conceptual frameworks are often based on existing theory or conceptual models, which may not be applicable to all research problems or contexts. This can limit the usefulness of a conceptual framework in certain situations.
  • Lack of empirical support : While a conceptual framework can provide a theoretical basis for a research project, it may not be supported by empirical evidence. This can limit the usefulness of a conceptual framework in guiding empirical research.
  • Narrow focus: A conceptual framework can provide a clear focus for a research project, but it may also limit the scope of the investigation. This can make it difficult to address broader research questions or to consider alternative perspectives.
  • Over-simplification: A conceptual framework can help to organize and structure research ideas, but it may also over-simplify complex phenomena. This can limit the depth of the investigation and the richness of the data collected.
  • Inflexibility : A conceptual framework can provide a structure for organizing research ideas, but it may also be inflexible in the face of new data or unexpected findings. This can limit the ability of researchers to adapt their research project to new information or changing circumstances.
  • Difficulty in development : Developing a conceptual framework can be a challenging and time-consuming process. It requires a thorough understanding of existing theory or conceptual models, and may require collaboration with other researchers.

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Theoretical vs Conceptual Framework

What they are & how they’re different (with examples)

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Reviewed By: Eunice Rautenbach (DTech) | March 2023

If you’re new to academic research, sooner or later you’re bound to run into the terms theoretical framework and conceptual framework . These are closely related but distinctly different things (despite some people using them interchangeably) and it’s important to understand what each means. In this post, we’ll unpack both theoretical and conceptual frameworks in plain language along with practical examples , so that you can approach your research with confidence.

Overview: Theoretical vs Conceptual

What is a theoretical framework, example of a theoretical framework, what is a conceptual framework, example of a conceptual framework.

  • Theoretical vs conceptual: which one should I use?

A theoretical framework (also sometimes referred to as a foundation of theory) is essentially a set of concepts, definitions, and propositions that together form a structured, comprehensive view of a specific phenomenon.

In other words, a theoretical framework is a collection of existing theories, models and frameworks that provides a foundation of core knowledge – a “lay of the land”, so to speak, from which you can build a research study. For this reason, it’s usually presented fairly early within the literature review section of a dissertation, thesis or research paper .

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Let’s look at an example to make the theoretical framework a little more tangible.

If your research aims involve understanding what factors contributed toward people trusting investment brokers, you’d need to first lay down some theory so that it’s crystal clear what exactly you mean by this. For example, you would need to define what you mean by “trust”, as there are many potential definitions of this concept. The same would be true for any other constructs or variables of interest.

You’d also need to identify what existing theories have to say in relation to your research aim. In this case, you could discuss some of the key literature in relation to organisational trust. A quick search on Google Scholar using some well-considered keywords generally provides a good starting point.

foundation of theory

Typically, you’ll present your theoretical framework in written form , although sometimes it will make sense to utilise some visuals to show how different theories relate to each other. Your theoretical framework may revolve around just one major theory , or it could comprise a collection of different interrelated theories and models. In some cases, there will be a lot to cover and in some cases, not. Regardless of size, the theoretical framework is a critical ingredient in any study.

Simply put, the theoretical framework is the core foundation of theory that you’ll build your research upon. As we’ve mentioned many times on the blog, good research is developed by standing on the shoulders of giants . It’s extremely unlikely that your research topic will be completely novel and that there’ll be absolutely no existing theory that relates to it. If that’s the case, the most likely explanation is that you just haven’t reviewed enough literature yet! So, make sure that you take the time to review and digest the seminal sources.

Need a helping hand?

what is conceptual framework in dissertation writing

A conceptual framework is typically a visual representation (although it can also be written out) of the expected relationships and connections between various concepts, constructs or variables. In other words, a conceptual framework visualises how the researcher views and organises the various concepts and variables within their study. This is typically based on aspects drawn from the theoretical framework, so there is a relationship between the two.

Quite commonly, conceptual frameworks are used to visualise the potential causal relationships and pathways that the researcher expects to find, based on their understanding of both the theoretical literature and the existing empirical research . Therefore, the conceptual framework is often used to develop research questions and hypotheses .

Let’s look at an example of a conceptual framework to make it a little more tangible. You’ll notice that in this specific conceptual framework, the hypotheses are integrated into the visual, helping to connect the rest of the document to the framework.

example of a conceptual framework

As you can see, conceptual frameworks often make use of different shapes , lines and arrows to visualise the connections and relationships between different components and/or variables. Ultimately, the conceptual framework provides an opportunity for you to make explicit your understanding of how everything is connected . So, be sure to make use of all the visual aids you can – clean design, well-considered colours and concise text are your friends.

Theoretical framework vs conceptual framework

As you can see, the theoretical framework and the conceptual framework are closely related concepts, but they differ in terms of focus and purpose. The theoretical framework is used to lay down a foundation of theory on which your study will be built, whereas the conceptual framework visualises what you anticipate the relationships between concepts, constructs and variables may be, based on your understanding of the existing literature and the specific context and focus of your research. In other words, they’re different tools for different jobs , but they’re neighbours in the toolbox.

Naturally, the theoretical framework and the conceptual framework are not mutually exclusive . In fact, it’s quite likely that you’ll include both in your dissertation or thesis, especially if your research aims involve investigating relationships between variables. Of course, every research project is different and universities differ in terms of their expectations for dissertations and theses, so it’s always a good idea to have a look at past projects to get a feel for what the norms and expectations are at your specific institution.

Want to learn more about research terminology, methods and techniques? Be sure to check out the rest of the Grad Coach blog . Alternatively, if you’re looking for hands-on help, have a look at our private coaching service , where we hold your hand through the research process, step by step.

what is conceptual framework in dissertation writing

Psst... there’s more!

This post was based on one of our popular Research Bootcamps . If you're working on a research project, you'll definitely want to check this out ...

19 Comments

CIPTA PRAMANA

Thank you for giving a valuable lesson

Muhammed Ebrahim Feto

good thanks!

Benson Wandago

VERY INSIGHTFUL

olawale rasaq

thanks for given very interested understand about both theoritical and conceptual framework

Tracey

I am researching teacher beliefs about inclusive education but not using a theoretical framework just conceptual frame using teacher beliefs, inclusive education and inclusive practices as my concepts

joshua

good, fantastic

Melese Takele

great! thanks for the clarification. I am planning to use both for my implementation evaluation of EmONC service at primary health care facility level. its theoretical foundation rooted from the principles of implementation science.

Dorcas

This is a good one…now have a better understanding of Theoretical and Conceptual frameworks. Highly grateful

Ahmed Adumani

Very educating and fantastic,good to be part of you guys,I appreciate your enlightened concern.

Lorna

Thanks for shedding light on these two t opics. Much clearer in my head now.

Cor

Simple and clear!

Alemayehu Wolde Oljira

The differences between the two topics was well explained, thank you very much!

Ntoks

Thank you great insight

Maria Glenda O. De Lara

Superb. Thank you so much.

Sebona

Hello Gradcoach! I’m excited with your fantastic educational videos which mainly focused on all over research process. I’m a student, I kindly ask and need your support. So, if it’s possible please send me the PDF format of all topic provided here, I put my email below, thank you!

Pauline

I am really grateful I found this website. This is very helpful for an MPA student like myself.

Adams Yusif

I’m clear with these two terminologies now. Useful information. I appreciate it. Thank you

Ushenese Roger Egin

I’m well inform about these two concepts in research. Thanks

Omotola

I found this really helpful. It is well explained. Thank you.

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Conceptual and Theoretical Frameworks for Thesis Studies: What you must know

what is conceptual framework in dissertation writing

A theoretical framework is a conceptual model that provides a systematic and structured way of thinking about a research problem or question. It helps to identify key variables and the relationships between them and to guide the selection and interpretation of data. Theoretical frameworks draw on existing theories and research and can be used to develop new hypotheses or test existing ones. They provide a foundation for research design, data collection, and analysis and can help to ensure that research is relevant, rigorous, and coherent. Theoretical frameworks are common in many disciplines, including social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities, and are essential for building knowledge and advancing understanding in a field.

This article explains the importance of frameworks in a thesis study and the differences between conceptual frameworks and theoretical frameworks. It provides guidelines on how to write a thesis framework, definitions of variable types, and examples of framework types.

What is a research framework and why do I need one?

When planning your thesis study, you need to justify your research and explain its design to your readers. This is called the research framework.

When planning your thesis study, you need to justify your research and explain its design to your readers. This is called the research framework. Think of it as the foundation of a building. A good building needs a strong foundation. Similarly, your research needs to be supported by reviewing and explaining the existing knowledge in the field, describing how your research study will fit within or contribute to the existing literature (e.g., it could challenge or test an existing theory or address a knowledge gap), and informing the reader how your study design aligns with your thesis question or hypothesis.

Important components of the framework are a literature review of recent studies associated with your thesis topic as well as theories/models used in your field of research. The literature review acts as a filtering tool to select appropriate thesis questions and guide data collection, analysis, and interpretation of your findings. Think broadly! Apart from reviewing relevant published papers in your field of research, also explore theories that you have come across in your undergraduate courses, other published thesis studies, encyclopedias, and handbooks.

There are two types of research frameworks: theoretical and conceptual .

What is a conceptual framework?

A conceptual framework is a written or visual representation that explains the study variables and their relationships with each other. The starting point is a literature review of existing studies and theories about your topic.

Steps to develop a conceptual framework

  • Clarify your study topic by identifying and defining key concepts in your thesis problem statement and thesis question. Essentially, your thesis should address a knowledge gap.
  • Perform a literature review to provide a background to interpret and explain the study findings. Also, draw on empirical knowledge that you have gained from personal experience.
  • Identify crucial variables from the literature review and your empirical knowledge, classify them as dependent or independent variables, and define them.
  • Brainstorm all the possible factors that could affect each dependent variable.
  • Propose relationships among the variables and determine any associations that exist between all variables.
  • Use a flowchart or tree diagram to present your conceptual framework.

Types of variables

When developing a conceptual framework, you will need to identify the following:

  • Independent variables
  • Dependent variables
  • Moderating variables
  • Mediating variables
  • Control variables

First, identify the independent (cause) and dependent (effect) variables in your study. Then, identify variables that influence this relationship, such as moderating variables, mediating variables, and control variables. A moderating variable changes the relationship between independent and dependent variables when its value increases or decreases. A mediating variable links independent and dependent variables to better explain the relationship between them. A control variable could potentially impact the cause-and-effect relationship but is kept constant throughout the study so that its effects on the findings/outcomes can be ruled out.

Example of a conceptual framework

You want to investigate the hours spent exercising (cause) on childhood obesity (effect).

what is conceptual framework in dissertation writing

Now, you need to consider moderating variables that affect the cause-and-effect relationship. In our example, the amount of junk food eaten would affect the level of obesity.

what is conceptual framework in dissertation writing

Next, you need to consider mediating variables. In our example, the maximum heart rate during exercise would affect the child’s weight.

what is conceptual framework in dissertation writing

Finally, you need to consider control variables. In this example, because we do not want to investigate the role of age in obesity, we can use this as a control variable. Thus, the study subjects would be children of a specific age (e.g., aged 6–10 years).

what is conceptual framework in dissertation writing

What is a theoretical framework?

A theoretical framework provides a general framework for data analysis. It defines the concepts used and explains existing theories and models in your field of research.

A theoretical framework provides a general framework for data analysis. It defines the concepts used and explains existing theories and models in your field of research. It also explains any assumptions that were used to inform your approach and your choice of specific rationales. Theoretical frameworks are often used in the fields of social sciences.

Purpose of a theoretical framework

  • Test and challenge existing theories
  • Establish orderly connections between observations and facts
  • Predict and control situations
  • Develop hypotheses

Steps to develop a theoretical framework

  • Identify and define key concepts in your thesis problem statement and thesis question.
  • Explain and evaluate existing theories by writing a literature review that describes the concepts, models, and theories that support your study.
  • Choose the theory that best explains the relationships between the key variables in your study.
  • Explain how your research study fills a knowledge gap or fits into existing studies (e.g., testing if an established theory applies to your thesis context).
  • Discuss the relevance of any theoretical assumptions and limitations.

A thesis topic can be approached from a variety of angles, depending on the theories used.

  • In psychology, a behavioral approach would use different methods and assumptions compared with a cognitive approach when treating anxiety.
  • In literature, a book could be analyzed using different literary theories, such as Marxism or poststructuralism.

Structuring a theoretical framework

The structure of a theoretical framework is fluid, and there are no specific rules that need to be followed, as long as it is clearly and logically presented.

The theoretical framework is a natural extension of your literature review. The literature review should identify gaps in the field of your research, and reviewing existing theories will help to determine how these can be addressed. The structure of a theoretical framework is fluid, and there are no specific rules that need to be followed, as long as it is clearly and logically presented. The theoretical framework is sometimes integrated into the literature review chapter of a thesis, but it can also be included as a separate chapter, depending on the complexity of the theories.

Example of a theoretical framework

The sales staff at Company X are unmotivated and struggling to meet their monthly targets. Some members of the management team believe that this could be achieved by implementing a comprehensive product-training program, but others believe that introducing a sales commission structure will help.

Company X is not achieving their monthly sales targets

To increase monthly sales.

Research question:

How can Company X motivate their sales team to achieve its monthly sales targets?

Sub-questions:

  • Why do the sales staff feel unmotivated?
  • What is the relationship between motivation and monetary rewards?
  • Do the sales staff feel that they have sufficient product knowledge?

Theoretical framework:

A literature search will need to be performed to understand the background of the many different theories of motivation in psychology. For example, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (basic human needs—physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization—have to be fulfilled before one can live up to their true potential), Vroom’s Theory of Expectancy (people decide upon their actions based on the outcomes they expect), and Locke’s Goal-Setting Theory (goals are a key driver of one’s behavior). These theories would need to be investigated to determine which would be the best approach to increase the motivation of the sales staff in Company X so that the monthly sales targets are met.

A robust conceptual or theoretical framework is crucial when writing a thesis/dissertation. It defines your research gap, identifies your approach, and guides the interpretation of your results.

A thesis is the most important document you will write during your academic studies. For professional thesis editing and thesis proofreading services, check out Enago's Thesis Editing service s for more information.

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What type of framework is used in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) domain? +

Theoretical frameworks are typically used in the HSS domain, while conceptual frameworks are used in the Sciences domain.

What is the difference between mediating versus moderating variables? +

The difference between mediators and moderators can be confusing. A moderating variable is unaffected by the independent variable and can increase or decrease the strength of the relationship between the independent and dependent variables. A mediating variable is affected by the independent variable and can explain the relationship between the independent and dependent variables. T he statistical correlation between the independent and dependent variables is higher when the mediating variable is excluded.

What software should I use to present my conceptual framework? +

The software program Creately provides some useful templates that can help you get started. Other recommended programs are SmartDraw , Inkscape , and diagrams.net .

Conceptual Framework: A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Make One

What is a conceptual framework? How do you prepare one? This article defines the conceptual framework and lists the steps on how to prepare it. A simplified example is added to strengthen the reader’s understanding.

In preparing your research paper as one requirement for your course as an undergraduate or graduate student, you will need to write the conceptual framework of your study. The conceptual framework steers the whole research activity. The conceptual framework serves as a “map” or “rudder” that will guide you towards realizing your study’s objectives or intent.

What, then, is a conceptual framework in empirical research? The next section defines and explains the term.

Table of Contents

Definition of conceptual framework.

A conceptual framework represents the researcher’s synthesis of the literature on how to explain a phenomenon. It maps out the actions required in the study’s course, given the researcher’s previous knowledge of other researchers’ point of view and his or her observations about the phenomenon studied.

The conceptual framework is the researcher’s understanding of how the particular  variables  in the study connect. Thus, it identifies the variables required in the research investigation. It is the researcher’s “map” in pursuing the investigation.

As McGaghie  et al . (2001) put it: The conceptual framework “sets the stage” to present the particular research question that drives the investigation being reported based on the problem statement. The problem statement of a thesis gives the context and the issues that caused the researcher to conduct the study.

The conceptual framework lies within a much broader framework called a theoretical framework . The latter draws support from time-tested theories that embody many researchers’ findings on why and how a particular phenomenon occurs.

I expounded on this definition, including its purpose, in my recent post titled “ What is a Conceptual Framework? Expounded Definition and Five Purposes .”

4 Steps on How to Make the Conceptual Framework

Before you prepare your conceptual framework, you need to do the following things:

Choose your topic

Decide on what will be your research topic. The topic should be within your field of specialization. (Generate your research topic using brainstorming tips ).

Do a literature review

Review relevant and updated research on the theme that you decide to work on after scrutiny of the issue at hand. Preferably use peer-reviewed , and well-known scientific journals as these are reliable sources of information.

Isolate the important variables

Identify the specific variables described in the literature and figure out how these are related. Some research abstracts contain the variables, and the salient findings thus may serve the purpose. If these are not available, find the research paper’s summary.

If the variables are not explicit in summary, get back to the methodology or the results and discussion section and quickly identify the study variables and the significant findings. Read  the TSPU Technique  to skim articles efficiently and get to the essential points with little fuss.

Generate the conceptual framework

Build your conceptual framework using your mix of the variables from the scientific articles you have read. Your problem statement or research objective serves as a reference for constructing it. In effect, your study will attempt to answer the question that other researchers have not explained yet. Your research should address a knowledge gap .

Example of a Conceptual Framework

Research topic.

Statement number 5 introduced in an earlier post titled How to Write a Thesis Statement  will serve as the basis of the illustrated conceptual framework in the following examples.

The youth, particularly students who need to devote a lot of time using their mobile phones to access their course modules, laptops, or desktops, are most affected. Also, they spend time interacting with their mobile phones as they communicate with their friends on social media channels like Facebook, Messenger, and the like.

When free from schoolwork, many students spend their time viewing films on Netflix, YouTube, or similar sites. These activities can affect their sleeping patterns and cause health problems in the long run because light-emitting diode (LED) exposure reduces the number of hours spent sleeping.

Thesis Statement

Related to the students’ activity, we can write the thesis statement thus:

Thesis statement : Chronic exposure to blue light from LED screens (of computer monitors ,  mobile phones, tablets, and television) deplete melatonin levels, thus reducing the number of sleeping hours among the youth, particularly students who need to work on their academic requirements.

Review of Literature

The literature review supports the thesis statement as among those that catch one’s attention is a paper that warns against the use of LED devices at night. Although we can save a lot of electrical energy by using the efficient LED where the inventors Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura received a Nobel prize in physics in 2014, there is growing evidence that it can cause human health problems, particularly cancer.

Haim & Zubidat (2015) of the Israeli Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Chronobiology synthesized the literature about LEDs. They found out that blue light from the light-emitting diodes (LED) inhibits melatonin production, particularly during active secretion at night. Melatonin is a neuro-hormone that regulates sleep and wake cycles. Also, it can slow down aging and prevent cancer (Srinivasan et al., 2011).

Thus, looking directly at your laptop, mobile phone, or television at night not only can severely damage your eyes but also prevent the achievement of sound sleeping patterns. As a countermeasure, sleep experts recommend limiting the use of digital devices until 8 o’clock in the evening.

Those affected experience insomnia (see 10 Creative Ways on How to Get Rid of Insomnia ); they sleep less than required (usually less than six hours), and this happens when they spend too much time working on their laptops doing some machine learning stuff, monitoring conversations or posts on social media sites using their mobile phones, or viewing the television at night.

Variables Isolated from the Literature

Using the background information backed by evidence in the literature review, we can now develop the study’s paradigm on the effect of LED exposure to sleep. We will not include all the variables mentioned and select or isolate only those factors that we are interested in.

Figure 1 presents a visual representation, the paradigm, of what we want to correlate in this study. It shows measurable variables that can produce data we can analyze using a statistical test such as either the parametric test Pearson’s Product-Moment Correlation or the nonparametric test Spearman Rho (please refresh if you cannot see the figure).

conceptualframeworkguide

Notice that the variables of the study are explicit in the paradigm presented in Figure 1. In the illustration, the two variables are:

1) the number of hours devoted in front of the computer, and 2) the number of hours slept through the night until dawn.

The former is the independent variable, while the latter is the dependent variable. Both variables are easy to measure. It is just counting the number of hours spent in front of the computer and the number of hours slept through the night in the study subjects.

Assuming that other things are constant during the study’s performance, it will be possible to relate these two variables and confirm that, indeed, blue light emanated from computer screens can affect one’s sleeping patterns. (Please read the article titled “ Do you know that the computer can disturb your sleeping patterns ?” to find out more about this phenomenon). A correlation analysis will show if the relationship is significant.

Related Reading :

  • How the conceptual framework guides marketing research

Evolution of a Social Theory as Basis of Conceptual Framework Development

Related to the development of the conceptual framework, I wrote a comprehensive article on how a social theory develops by incisively looking at current events that the world is facing now — the COVID-19 pandemic. It shows how society responds to a threat to its very survival.

Specifically, this article focuses on the COVID-19 vaccine, how it develops and gets integrated into the complex fabric of human society. It shows how the development of the vaccine is only part of the story. A major consideration in its development resides in the supporters of the vaccine’s development, the government, and the recipients’ trust, thus the final acceptance of the vaccine.

Social theory serves as the backdrop or theoretical framework of the more focused or variable level conceptual framework. Hence, the paradigm that I develop at the end of that article can serve as a lens to examine how the three players of vaccine development interact more closely at the variable level. It shows the dynamics of power and social structure and how it unfolds in response to a pandemic that affects everyone.

Check out the article titled “ Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine: More Than 90% Effective Against the Coronavirus .” This article shall enrich your knowledge of how an abstract concept narrows down into blocks of researchable topics.

Haim, A., & Zubidat, A. E. (2015). LED light between Nobel Prize and cancer risk factor. Chronobiology International , 32 (5), 725-727.

McGaghie, W. C.; Bordage, G.; and J. A. Shea (2001). Problem Statement, Conceptual Framework, and Research Question. Retrieved on January 5, 2015 from http://goo.gl/qLIUFg

Srinivasan, V., R Pandi-Perumal, S., Brzezinski, A., P Bhatnagar, K., & P Cardinali, D. (2011). Melatonin, immune function and cancer. Recent patents on endocrine, metabolic & immune drug discovery , 5 (2), 109-123.

©2015 January 5 P. A. Regoniel

Cite as: Regoniel, P. A. (2015, January 5). Conceptual framework: a step-by-step guide on how to make one. Research-based Articles. https://simplyeducate.me/wordpress_Y/2015/01/05/conceptual-framework-guide/

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About the author, patrick regoniel.

Dr. Regoniel, a faculty member of the graduate school, served as consultant to various environmental research and development projects covering issues and concerns on climate change, coral reef resources and management, economic valuation of environmental and natural resources, mining, and waste management and pollution. He has extensive experience on applied statistics, systems modelling and analysis, an avid practitioner of LaTeX, and a multidisciplinary web developer. He leverages pioneering AI-powered content creation tools to produce unique and comprehensive articles in this website.

104 Comments

hallo! I would like to study “the socio-economic and environmental Impact of urban forests on livelihood: The perception of urban residents” how can my conceptual framework be like?

Hello Jesse, there are many free alternatives online if you are diligent enough in finding them. The reason I wrote this article is that in 2015, when I originally wrote it, I could not find an easy-to-understand explanation of the conceptual framework which will help my students. I also have a vague knowledge of the concept at that time, even with the available literature. Hence, I painstakingly gathered all materials I could from online and offline literature, synthesized them, and wrote about the concept in the simplest way I could without losing the essence. Now, I have seen many articles and even videos using the ideas I have rigorously prepared. If you find the tedious work I did irrelevant, then perhaps the ebook is expensive notwithstanding the many expenses on hosting, domain name, time and effort in maintaining the site that I incur in keeping this website online and make this ebook available to everyone.

I read the article how still struggling to come up with a conceptual framework, may you please assist, how should I go about as a new researcher my topic; INVESTIGATE THE DECISION TO TRANSFER NINE (9) FUNCTIONS OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT . Purpose: The purpose of this research is to review the delivery of EHS at the local government with a view to understanding the variation in performance and their causes. questions are: 1.2.1 What factors explain the performance variation in the delivery of EHS across municipalities? 1.2.2 How has devolution of the EH function aided or harmed the delivery of EHS?

Hello Mr. Siyabonga. I think what you want to find out is how environmental health services (EHS) performed at the local government level. In doing so, you need to have a set of indicators of successful transition. How is performance assessed? Once you already have a measure of success, then you need to define which variables in the local government have significantly influenced performance. After you have done so, then you can try to correlate local government characteristics and their performance.

I hope that helps.

My name is Jobson, my research topic is: The scope of Ugandan nurses and midwives in using the nursing process in the care of patients

our topic is Neutrophil and Lymphocyte Ratio as a Diagnostic Biomarker for Kidney Stones (experimental) How do I come up with a conceptual framework? What would be the variables?

My topic: E-commerce Platform for Agricultural and Construction Supplies with e-KYC Identification, Feed Page, and Products Bidding Will you please help me to make Conceptual Framework written with visual representation. thank you so much in advance.

Good day Jomar, I am not so clear about what you want to do. Can you write the objectives of your study? You can read about framing the research objectives here: https://simplyeducate.me/wordpress_Y/2020/03/15/research-objective/

My topic is; Mitigating against Childmaltreatment in earlychildhood through positive parenting: Chronicles of first time parents in XYZ City”

How do I come up with a conceptual framework? What would be variables?

Hello Phathi, Apparently, you are trying to relate parenting and child behavior?

Assessing the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as a storage information tool in estate management:

How do i come up with a conceptual framework. What would be variables??

Dear Mbuso, Why will you assess the GIS use in estate management? What is it for?

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What is a Conceptual Framework?

We know based on the word ‘conceptual’ that this framework will deal with concepts (or simply put, ideas). This type of framework will provide your readers with an idea of what you expect to find through your research by focusing on the variables you will study and how they connect.

what is conceptual framework in dissertation writing

Steps to Creating the Conceptual Framework:

  • Read through prevalent literature on your topic to determine what is already known
  • Based on what you have found, identify what you expect to be the finding of your study
  • Indicate what your variables are
  • Explain how they could connect to one another

Example of a Conceptual Framework (Follow the Steps)

For this example, please note: Research topic: Due to the influx of technology, people are spending more and more time indoors. Being indoors prevents individuals from breathing fresh air, being in nature, and being exposed to the sun. A lack of nature can negatively impact one’s mood.

Step One: Read through prevalent literature on your topic to determine what is already known

Reading through the literature will allow you to determine what reasonable connections you can make between variables or concepts. It is essential that you do not make connections out of thin air but have a rationale behind the type of relationship you expect the variables to have.

Literature has shown the connection between time outside and lowered levels of cortisol, the stress hormone (Pearson, 2020; McKinley et al., 2020). When an individual is stressed, the body is in a state of flight or fight. Stress hormones, such as cortisol, help the body to limit certain functions that are not essential to an emergency response. When the body has high levels of cortisol, this can result in fatigue, mood changes, anger response, and irritability (Smith, 2019).

Being outdoors provides individuals with exposure to the sun, which increases the supply of vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for the body to function properly, and a deficiency of this vitamin can cause fatigue and depression (Hung, 2020). Rodriguez and Sherman (2018) found that natural environments, even limited in scope, directly influence anger response time. In the study, there was a 56% decrease in anger response for those who lived in an apartment complex that had trees compared to those who did not.

Step Two: Based on what you have found, identify what you expect to be the finding of your study

I would assume that if time outside lowers cortisol levels and feelings of stress and anger, then time outside would improve one’s mood.

Step Three: Indicate what your variables are

First identify the independent and dependent variables. After this initial indication, you can then expand the scope of the framework.

Independent variable: Variable you would identify as the ‘cause’ Dependent variable: Variable that is the ‘effect’

To determine my variables, I would ask, what is the object of my study? Or, what am I studying? In this case, I am studying the number of hours outside and how that impacts a person’s mood.

The number of hours outside is my independent variable as this is something I would manipulate throughout the study. I would have a person go outside for the duration of one hour, two hours, three hours, and so on. in order to assess the difference in impact on mood. Notice that I do not manipulate the mood, which is why, that is the dependent variable .

Step Four: Explain how they could connect to one another

It is important to note that many conceptual frameworks are represented using a visual graphic with a short textual explanation to help the reader grasp the ideas it represents.

When expanding the scope of the framework and how the variables will connect to one another, additional variables can be considered. For the example given, with a cause-and-effect relationship, additional considerations could be:

Moderator variable. This type of variable can impact the effect that the independent variable has on the dependent variable. In this case, something that could have impacted how effective the number of hours outside were on a person’s mood is serotonin levels. Each person has a different level of serotonin in their body, which is something biological that they cannot control. Thus, if a person comes into the study with extremely low levels of serotonin, it will take them longer to feel a positive shift in their mood.

what is conceptual framework in dissertation writing

Mediator variable. This type of variable helps us to understand the connection between the independent and dependent variable (and generally requires an explanation to show the readers how). In this case, UV rays could be my mediator variable because it shows how the two are connected. Consider the fact that, the longer a participant is outside, the more UV rays they would be getting. The more UV rays they are getting, the more that will impact their mood.

Control variable. This type of variable is what you need to keep constant so that you are not measuring something that is not related to your study.

what is conceptual framework in dissertation writing

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Writing theoretical frameworks, analytical frameworks and conceptual frameworks

Three of the most challenging concepts for me to explain are the interrelated ideas of a theoretical framework, a conceptual framework, and an analytical framework. All three of these tend to be used interchangeably. While I find these concepts somewhat fuzzy and I struggle sometimes to explain the differences between them and clarify their usage for my students (and clearly I am not alone in this challenge), this blog post is an attempt to help discern these analytical categories more clearly.

A lot of people (my own students included) have asked me if the theoretical framework is their literature review. That’s actually not the case. A theoretical framework , the way I define it, is comprised of the different theories and theoretical constructs that help explain a phenomenon. A theoretical framework sets out the various expectations that a theory posits and how they would apply to a specific case under analysis, and how one would use theory to explain a particular phenomenon. I like how theoretical frameworks are defined in this blog post . Dr. Cyrus Samii offers an explanation of what a good theoretical framework does for students .

For example, you can use framing theory to help you explain how different actors perceive the world. Your theoretical framework may be based on theories of framing, but it can also include others. For example, in this paper, Zeitoun and Allan explain their theoretical framework, aptly named hydro-hegemony . In doing so, Zeitoun and Allan explain the role of each theoretical construct (Power, Hydro-Hegemony, Political Economy) and how they apply to transboundary water conflict. Another good example of a theoretical framework is that posited by Dr. Michael J. Bloomfield in his book Dirty Gold, as I mention in this tweet:

In Chapter 2, @mj_bloomfield nicely sets his theoretical framework borrowing from sociology, IR, and business-strategy scholarship pic.twitter.com/jTGF4PPymn — Dr Raul Pacheco-Vega (@raulpacheco) December 24, 2017

An analytical framework is, the way I see it, a model that helps explain how a certain type of analysis will be conducted. For example, in this paper, Franks and Cleaver develop an analytical framework that includes scholarship on poverty measurement to help us understand how water governance and poverty are interrelated . Other authors describe an analytical framework as a “conceptual framework that helps analyse particular phenomena”, as posited here , ungated version can be read here .

I think it’s easy to conflate analytical frameworks with theoretical and conceptual ones because of the way in which concepts, theories and ideas are harnessed to explain a phenomenon. But I believe the most important element of an analytical framework is instrumental : their purpose is to help undertake analyses. You use elements of an analytical framework to deconstruct a specific concept/set of concepts/phenomenon. For example, in this paper , Bodde et al develop an analytical framework to characterise sources of uncertainties in strategic environmental assessments.

A robust conceptual framework describes the different concepts one would need to know to understand a particular phenomenon, without pretending to create causal links across variables and outcomes. In my view, theoretical frameworks set expectations, because theories are constructs that help explain relationships between variables and specific outcomes and responses. Conceptual frameworks, the way I see them, are like lenses through which you can see a particular phenomenon.

A conceptual framework should serve to help illuminate and clarify fuzzy ideas, and fill lacunae. Viewed this way, a conceptual framework offers insight that would not be otherwise be gained without a more profound understanding of the concepts explained in the framework. For example, in this article, Beck offers social movement theory as a conceptual framework that can help understand terrorism . As I explained in my metaphor above, social movement theory is the lens through which you see terrorism, and you get a clearer understanding of how it operates precisely because you used this particular theory.

Dan Kaminsky offered a really interesting explanation connecting these topics to time, read his tweet below.

I think this maps to time. Theoretical frameworks talk about how we got here. Conceptual frameworks discuss what we have. Analytical frameworks discuss where we can go with this. See also legislative/executive/judicial. — Dan Kaminsky (@dakami) September 28, 2018

One of my CIDE students, Andres Ruiz, reminded me of this article on conceptual frameworks in the International Journal of Qualitative Methods. I’ll also be adding resources as I get them via Twitter or email. Hopefully this blog post will help clarify this idea!

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Posted in academia .

Tagged with analytical framework , conceptual framework , theoretical framework .

By Raul Pacheco-Vega – September 28, 2018

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Thanks, this had some useful clarifications for me!

I GOT CONFUSED AGAIN!

No need to be confused!

Thanks for the Clarification, Dr Raul. My cluttered mind is largely cleared, now.

Thanks,very helpful

I too was/am confused but this helps 🙂

Thank you very much, Dr.

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  • Section 1: Home
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Defining The Conceptual Framework

Making a conceptual framework, conceptual framework for dmft students, conceptual framework guide, example frameworks, additional framework resources.

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What is it?

  • The researcher’s understanding/hypothesis/exploration of either an existing framework/model or how existing concepts come together to inform a particular problem. Shows the reader how different elements come together to facilitate research and a clear understanding of results.
  • Informs the research questions/methodology (problem statement drives framework drives RQs drives methodology)
  • A tool (linked concepts) to help facilitate the understanding of the relationship among concepts or variables in relation to the real-world. Each concept is linked to frame the project in question.
  • Falls inside of a larger theoretical framework (theoretical framework = explains the why and how of a particular phenomenon within a particular body of literature).
  • Can be a graphic or a narrative – but should always be explained and cited
  • Can be made up of theories and concepts

What does it do?

  • Explains or predicts the way key concepts/variables will come together to inform the problem/phenomenon
  • Gives the study direction/parameters
  • Helps the researcher organize ideas and clarify concepts
  • Introduces your research and how it will advance your field of practice. A conceptual framework should include concepts applicable to the field of study. These can be in the field or neighboring fields – as long as important details are captured and the framework is relevant to the problem. (alignment)

What should be in it?

  • Variables, concepts, theories, and/or parts of other existing frameworks

How to make a conceptual framework

  • With a topic in mind, go to the body of literature and start identifying the key concepts used by other studies. Figure out what’s been done by other researchers, and what needs to be done (either find a specific call to action outlined in the literature or make sure your proposed problem has yet to be studied in your specific setting). Use what you find needs to be done to either support a pre-identified problem or craft a general problem for study. Only rely on scholarly sources for this part of your research.
  • Begin to pull out variables, concepts, theories, and existing frameworks explained in the relevant literature.
  • If you’re building a framework, start thinking about how some of those variables, concepts, theories, and facets of existing frameworks come together to shape your problem. The problem could be a situational condition that requires a scholar-practitioner approach, the result of a practical need, or an opportunity to further an applicational study, project, or research. Remember, if the answer to your specific problem exists, you don’t need to conduct the study.
  • The actionable research you’d like to conduct will help shape what you include in your framework. Sketch the flow of your Applied Doctoral Project from start to finish and decide which variables are truly the best fit for your research.
  • Create a graphic representation of your framework (this part is optional, but often helps readers understand the flow of your research) Even if you do a graphic, first write out how the variables could influence your Applied Doctoral Project and introduce your methodology. Remember to use APA formatting in separating the sections of your framework to create a clear understanding of the framework for your reader.
  • As you move through your study, you may need to revise your framework.
  • Note for qualitative/quantitative research: If doing qualitative, make sure your framework doesn’t include arrow lines, which could imply causal or correlational linkages.
  • Conceptural and Theoretical Framework for DMFT Students This document is specific to DMFT students working on a conceptual or theoretical framework for their applied project.
  • Conceptual Framework Guide Use this guide to determine the guiding framework for your applied dissertation research.

Let’s say I’ve just taken a job as manager of a failing restaurant. Throughout the first week, I notice the few customers they have are leaving unsatisfied. I need to figure out why and turn the establishment into a thriving restaurant. I get permission from the owner to do a study to figure out exactly what we need to do to raise levels of customer satisfaction. Since I have a specific problem and want to make sure my research produces valid results, I go to the literature to find out what others are finding about customer satisfaction in the food service industry. This particular restaurant is vegan focused – and my search of the literature doesn’t say anything specific about how to increase customer service in a vegan atmosphere, so I know this research needs to be done.

I find out there are different types of satisfaction across other genres of the food service industry, and the one I’m interested in is cumulative customer satisfaction. I then decide based on what I’m seeing in the literature that my definition of customer satisfaction is the way perception, evaluation, and psychological reaction to perception and evaluation of both tangible and intangible elements of the dining experience come together to inform customer expectations. Essentially, customer expectations inform customer satisfaction.

I then find across the literature many variables could be significant in determining customer satisfaction. Because the following keep appearing, they are the ones I choose to include in my framework: price, service, branding (branched out to include physical environment and promotion), and taste. I also learn by reading the literature, satisfaction can vary between genders – so I want to make sure to also collect demographic information in my survey. Gender, age, profession, and number of children are a few demographic variables I understand would be helpful to include based on my extensive literature review.

Note: this is a quantitative study. I’m including all variables in this study, and the variables I am testing are my independent variables. Here I’m working to see how each of the independent variables influences (or not) my dependent variable, customer satisfaction. If you are interested in qualitative study, read on for an example of how to make the same framework qualitative in nature.

Also note: when you create your framework, you’ll need to cite each facet of your framework. Tell the reader where you got everything you’re including. Not only is it in compliance with APA formatting, but also it raises your credibility as a researcher. Once you’ve built the narrative around your framework, you may also want to create a visual for your reader.

See below for one example of how to illustrate your framework:

what is conceptual framework in dissertation writing

If you’re interested in a qualitative study, be sure to omit arrows and other notations inferring statistical analysis. The only time it would be inappropriate to include a framework in qualitative study is in a grounded theory study, which is not something you’ll do in an applied doctoral study.

A visual example of a qualitative framework is below:

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Some additional helpful resources in constructing a conceptual framework for study:

  • Problem Statement, Conceptual Framework, and Research Question. McGaghie, W. C.; Bordage, G.; and J. A. Shea (2001). Problem Statement, Conceptual Framework, and Research Question. Retrieved on January 5, 2015 from http://goo.gl/qLIUFg
  • Building a Conceptual Framework: Philosophy, Definitions, and Procedure
  • https://www.scribbr.com/dissertation/conceptual-framework/
  • https://www.projectguru.in/developing-conceptual-framework-in-a-research-paper/

Conceptual Framework Research

A conceptual framework is a synthetization of interrelated components and variables which help in solving a real-world problem. It is the final lens used for viewing the deductive resolution of an identified issue (Imenda, 2014). The development of a conceptual framework begins with a deductive assumption that a problem exists, and the application of processes, procedures, functional approach, models, or theory may be used for problem resolution (Zackoff et al., 2019). The application of theory in traditional theoretical research is to understand, explain, and predict phenomena (Swanson, 2013). In applied research the application of theory in problem solving focuses on how theory in conjunction with practice (applied action) and procedures (functional approach) frames vision, thinking, and action towards problem resolution. The inclusion of theory in a conceptual framework is not focused on validation or devaluation of applied theories. A concise way of viewing the conceptual framework is a list of understood fact-based conditions that presents the researcher’s prescribed thinking for solving the identified problem. These conditions provide a methodological rationale of interrelated ideas and approaches for beginning, executing, and defining the outcome of problem resolution efforts (Leshem & Trafford, 2007).

The term conceptual framework and theoretical framework are often and erroneously used interchangeably (Grant & Osanloo, 2014). Just as with traditional research, a theory does not or cannot be expected to explain all phenomenal conditions, a conceptual framework is not a random identification of disparate ideas meant to incase a problem. Instead it is a means of identifying and constructing for the researcher and reader alike an epistemological mindset and a functional worldview approach to the identified problem.

Grant, C., & Osanloo, A. (2014). Understanding, Selecting, and Integrating a Theoretical Framework in Dissertation Research: Creating the Blueprint for Your “House. ” Administrative Issues Journal: Connecting Education, Practice, and Research, 4(2), 12–26

Imenda, S. (2014). Is There a Conceptual Difference between Theoretical and Conceptual Frameworks? Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi/Journal of Social Sciences, 38(2), 185.

Leshem, S., & Trafford, V. (2007). Overlooking the conceptual framework. Innovations in Education & Teaching International, 44(1), 93–105. https://doi-org.proxy1.ncu.edu/10.1080/14703290601081407

Swanson, R. (2013). Theory building in applied disciplines . San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Zackoff, M. W., Real, F. J., Klein, M. D., Abramson, E. L., Li, S.-T. T., & Gusic, M. E. (2019). Enhancing Educational Scholarship Through Conceptual Frameworks: A Challenge and Roadmap for Medical Educators . Academic Pediatrics, 19(2), 135–141. https://doi-org.proxy1.ncu.edu/10.1016/j.acap.2018.08.003

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  3. SAMPLE OF A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK IN A THESIS

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  4. The conceptual framework or theoretical framework describes and depicts

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  5. Developing a Conceptual Framework for a Quantitative Dissertation

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  6. How to Make Conceptual Framework (with Examples and Templates)

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COMMENTS

  1. What Is a Conceptual Framework?

    Conceptual frameworks are often represented in a visual format and illustrate cause-and-effect relationships. You can start conceptualizing this as you determine your relevant paper, thesis, or dissertation topic. Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to help you construct your own conceptual framework.

  2. Conceptual Framework: Step-by-Step Guide with Examples

    Writing a conceptual framework involves several steps to develop a logical and structured foundation for your dissertation. Discover our step-by-step guide. Step 1. Identification of the research problem. The initial step entails pinpointing the research issue the work intends to address.

  3. How to Make a Conceptual Framework (With Examples)

    Steps to Developing the Perfect Conceptual Framework. Pick a question. Conduct a literature review. Identify your variables. Create your conceptual framework. 1. Pick a Question. You should already have some idea of the broad area of your research project. Try to narrow down your research field to a manageable topic in terms of time and resources.

  4. What is the Conceptual Framework of a Dissertation?

    A conceptual framework for the dissertation provides the liberty to the theorists and researchers to test the hypothesis and see if they will verify an idea. You can also observe whether appropriate variables have been selected for the research purpose.

  5. What Is a Conceptual Framework?

    Developing a conceptual framework in research. A conceptual framework is a representation of the relationship you expect to see between your variables, or the characteristics or properties that you want to study. Conceptual frameworks can be written or visual and are generally developed based on a literature review of existing studies about ...

  6. Conceptual Framework

    A conceptual framework is a structured approach to organizing and understanding complex ideas, theories, or concepts. It provides a systematic and coherent way of thinking about a problem or topic, and helps to guide research or analysis in a particular field. A conceptual framework typically includes a set of assumptions, concepts, and ...

  7. PDF Building a Dissertation Conceptual and Theoretical Framework: A Recent

    lens of one doctoral student's qualitative dissertation. Using Ravitch and Carl's (2021) conceptual framework guide, each key component is explored, using my own dissertation as an example. Breaking down each framework section step-by-step, my journey illustrates the iterative process that conceptual framework development requires.

  8. Theoretical vs Conceptual Framework (+ Examples)

    Theoretical framework vs conceptual framework. As you can see, the theoretical framework and the conceptual framework are closely related concepts, but they differ in terms of focus and purpose. The theoretical framework is used to lay down a foundation of theory on which your study will be built, whereas the conceptual framework visualises ...

  9. What is a Conceptual Framework and How to Make It (with Examples)

    A conceptual framework in research is used to understand a research problem and guide the development and analysis of the research. It serves as a roadmap to conceptualize and structure the work by providing an outline that connects different ideas, concepts, and theories within the field of study. A conceptual framework pictorially or verbally ...

  10. Conceptual and Theoretical Frameworks for Thesis Studies: What ...

    A robust conceptual or theoretical framework is crucial when writing a thesis/dissertation. It defines your research gap, identifies your approach, and guides the interpretation of your results. A thesis is the most important document you will write during your academic studies.

  11. Conceptual Framework: 4 Step-by-Step Procedure That Works

    4 Steps on How to Make the Conceptual Framework. Choose your topic. Do a literature review. Isolate the important variables. Generate the conceptual framework. Example of a Conceptual Framework. Research Topic. Thesis Statement. Review of Literature.

  12. Conceptual Framework

    Helps the researcher organize ideas and clarify concepts. Introduces your research and how it will advance your field of practice. A conceptual framework should include concepts applicable to the field of study. These can be in the field or neighboring fields - as long as important details are captured and the framework is relevant to the ...

  13. Conceptual Framework

    We know based on the word 'conceptual' that this framework will deal with concepts (or simply put, ideas). This type of framework will provide your readers with an idea of what you expect to find through your research by focusing on the variables you will study and how they connect. Steps to Creating the Conceptual Framework:

  14. What Is a Theoretical Framework?

    A theoretical framework is a foundational review of existing theories that serves as a roadmap for developing the arguments you will use in your own work. Theories are developed by researchers to explain phenomena, draw connections, and make predictions. In a theoretical framework, you explain the existing theories that support your research ...

  15. PDF CHAPTER CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORKS IN RESEARCH distribute

    the conceptual framework, as well as the process of developing one, since a conceptual framework is a generative source of thinking, planning, conscious action, and reflection throughout the research process. A conceptual framework makes the case for why a study is significant and relevant

  16. Writing theoretical frameworks, analytical frameworks and conceptual

    A robust conceptual framework describes the different concepts one would need to know to understand a particular phenomenon, without pretending to create causal links across variables and outcomes. In my view, theoretical frameworks set expectations, because theories are constructs that help explain relationships between variables and specific ...

  17. How to Pick a Theoretical / Conceptual Framework For Your Dissertation

    First, figure out how your doctoral program deals with theoretical and conceptual frameworks. Go find the most recent 25 dissertations from your doctoral program. Try to find dissertations that are generally the same research design as you are pursuing: Quantitative or qualitative. Second, ask yourself: "Where, explicitly, is the theoretical ...

  18. PDF Understanding, Selecting, and Integrating a Theoretical Framework in

    Keywords: theoretical framework, dissertation, doctoral, academic writing, research methods T he dissertation is a labor of love requiring much work, sweat, and tears, as well as organization skills and extensive resources from others who are involved with the process. The final product is a document that one can

  19. Conceptual Framework

    Conceptual Framework Research. A conceptual framework is a synthetization of interrelated components and variables which help in solving a real-world problem. It is the final lens used for viewing the deductive resolution of an identified issue (Imenda, 2014).

  20. (Pdf) Theoretical and Conceptual Frameworks in Research: Conceptual

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    A conceptual framework is a structure which the researcher believes can best explain the natural progression of the phenomenon to be studied (Camp, 2001). It is linked with the concepts, empirical ...