How to Build an Effective Theoretical Framework
When working on complex academic projects, students usually start with a formal theoretical framework that serves as the basis for a dissertation and allows the audience to get a grasp on the rationale of the research and its main problem. The main purpose of a theoretical framework is to describe the project and its goals. It is a conceptual model that determines the nature of your project and the most effective approach that you should use. In this guide, College Writers team will explain what a theoretical framework is and how you should work on it.
A theoretical framework must support your research by providing the necessary background and helping your readers evaluate the importance of your study. A good theoretical framework must be based on relevant theories so that it will be stronger. You should include measurable variables. Not only do you need to present the research problem and explain it, but also to describe the underlying theory properly so that you can investigate it.
What a Theoretical Framework Is
The main purpose of a theoretical framework is to build the basis for a future academic project. You can use it to find an analytical and methodological foundation for your discussion and to demonstrate your knowledge of the subject. Here are some of the most common theories used in different disciplines:
Organize all the information in your paper, including questions, variables, concepts, and constructs to create a theoretical framework that will help you plan your research and choose the most effective methods.
Once you’ve defined your research questions and problem statement, you need to look for theories and ideas related to the topic of your project. Such data will help you focus your work and demonstrate your understanding of the key models, concepts, and theories used in your area of study. In turn, these definitions and models will set the direction for your work. You should develop them and use these theories to support your research and to justify your project scientifically.
Theoretical Framework Elements
You should identify the main concepts, questions, and terms, and to cite the existing theories and ideas. To do this, you have to find the right sources. We recommend that you use a literature review to see how your key concepts were defined by others. Compare the existing definitions and choose the ones that you can use in your work. If there is any connection between different definitions, make sure to describe it. Besides, you should explain why you’ve chosen certain concepts and why they are useful.
Depending on your area of study, you may also include a detailed review of the current situation in your research area. Keep in mind your professor’s expectations. You need to look for similar studies and to consider your qualitative or quantitative research in the context of the already existing knowledge. To write a good overview, make sure to:
- explain the methods, theories, and models used by other researchers;
- describe relevant discussions in reliable academic papers and books;
- explain how you can contribute to the knowledge about your subject;
- analyze what your research and other studies have in common and how they differ.
Your theoretical framework can help you analyze your hypothesis and answer descriptive questions. A theoretical framework can also serve as the basis for your hypothesis so you can test and study it later.
The Structure of a Theoretical Framework
There are no strict guidelines that you should follow. However, you need to create a logical structure based on your hypotheses and key terms. Devote one paragraph or one section to each question, hypothesis, or concept to create a comprehensive framework. Consider relevant theories and models.
There are also no strict rules regarding the word count. However, most teachers agree that a theoretical framework must be 3 to 5 pages long. We recommend that you also use some graphics and include them in the appendix section.
Keep in mind that there is a difference between a theoretical and conceptual framework. Some students may realize that a theoretical framework doesn’t fulfill their needs so they can make a conceptual framework. When writing a conceptual framework, you can use findings and ideas that are not based on theories. In this case, you will rely on various interconnected assumptions, beliefs, and concepts that can support your arguments and conclusions.
The Writing Process
First, you should write a catchy introduction that will grab your readers’ attention. After this, you need to explain the background of your problem and describe a case for your study. Finally, you need to connect the problem, the results of your research, and your audience.
The main purpose of the introduction is to make your readers interested in your topic. You should mention previous research, as well as gaps in knowledge that explain the purpose of your work. Describe how your project will contribute to the knowledge about the subject and explain the connection between your study and previous research.
When presenting a case for your study, you must provide relevant references. Don’t forget that a literature review is a very important part of your thesis or dissertation. Your theoretical framework can introduce the literature review by considering the key themes of your study. Connect your project, the research problem, and the audience so that your readers can understand the content and context of your work, as well as its possible implications. A successful theoretical framework has a unique research idea, strong thesis application, and references to relevant sources.
What Data You Need
To describe the theoretical framework of your project properly, you should know the names of the authors who came up with the theory, the date when they published such materials, references, and the most important findings related to the theory. Given that the main purpose of your theoretical framework is to explain the nature of your project to examiners, keep in mind the things they want to know:
- your understanding of the theoretical basis;
- reasons why you’ve chosen a certain approach;
- your knowledge of different theories;
- the way you use these theories;
- possible challenges.
You can interpret theories in different ways. We recommend that you explain why you’ve made certain choices by describing the strengths of a theory and explaining its benefits for your academic project. Consider materials from other researchers who used similar methods and think of what you can use in your work.
Select the most important aspects of your theory and think about its possible shortcomings. If you’re using several approaches, you need to clearly indicate how you will do it and why you’ve chosen them. You should also figure out whether these approaches are related to each other and consider them in the context of the gaps in existing research. Identify your target audience and make sure that your theoretical framework will look impressive.
Your theoretical framework is a concise summary of your research. It must contain a quick review of past research and outline the way you’re going to investigate and interpret findings. Don’t be afraid to use your suspicions so that you can ask interesting questions and answer them. At the same time, your readers should understand your perspective and see that your study is based on solid facts.
When developing your theoretical framework, you can better understand the nature of your study and focus on the most effective methods. You need to make sure that your study is unbiased so don’t forget to consider alternative theories and opposite opinions. Address possible limitations so that you can conceptualize your problem. Your theoretical framework determines the way you perceive and interpret data, so make sure that your readers will understand the context of your work.
How to Develop a Successful Theoretical Framework
Make sure to develop your theoretical framework based on the existing knowledge about the subject and your review. First of all, you should formulate your research problem. After this, review the literature from your area of study and identify the gaps in knowledge. To create an impressive theoretical framework, you should develop it based on the analytical summary of previous research. Describe the most interesting variables to help your readers understand important connections and the context of your work.
First, describe current knowledge and consider other researchers’ theories to explain your key points. These theories must support your point because you need to demonstrate that your variables are relevant. Support your arguments with references to other scholars and explain what your readers should expect from your study. Make your predictions and describe the possible applications of your research.
You should also figure out how your research relates to a quantitative method. Your research design depends on the chosen theories and goals of your project. First, determine the best theoretical framework to set the direction for your research and create the right structure. It will help you build the basis for your study. You should also make sure that the chosen methodology will enable your audience to draw strong conclusions related to your theories.
A Helpful Checklist
We hope that this checklist will help you create an impressive and effective theoretical framework.
- Your theoretical framework must include existing theories and concepts.
- Its structure must be focused on your theory.
- It should describe the used theories and explain how they relate to your research.
- It should also provide a unique perspective.
- There is no right or wrong way to study your subject because you can use different perspectives.
- Be clear about the original theories and the way they might change.
- Connect your theoretical framework to your literature review and methodology.
- Your theoretical framework must set the tone for the entire paper.
- It must enable your readers to evaluate your research.
- It must help you identify the generalization limits.
- It must include a good choice of research approaches.
- It must address important questions.
Creating a theoretical framework can be a challenging task so we recommend that you don’t hesitate to ask for help. College-Writers.com can provide you with all kinds of academic assistance. Our writing services are available 24/7 so feel free to make your order if you experience any problems.