Conceptual Framework For Descriptive Design

It provides the background that supports your investigation and offers the reader a justification for your study of a particular research problem. It includes the variables you intend to measure and the relationships you seek to understand. Essentially, this is where you develop a “theory” and build your case for investigating that theory. The theoretical framework is your presentation of a theory that explains a particular problem.

  • Certainly, given the level of elaboration, experiential learning is undoubtedly provided as a framework, and is in itself underpinned by a concept of learning.
  • Rather than taking a position that objectivism can lead to truth, post-positivism is concerned with how to research in order to move closer to truth.
  • The content of conceptual frameworks include reading process, reading aptitude, and the learning-to-read process.
  • As a good little doctoral or thesis candidate, you go into the recent research literature to see what others have turned up on these matters.
  • As a minimum, for a qualitative study to have an adequate theoretical framework, the basic assumptions of the researcher must be elucidated to provide an intellectual context for the research.

Further clarifying, they also proposed that a concept represents a “complex mental formulation of experience” (p. 252). On the other hand, Liehr and Smith suggested that a concept is “an image or symbolic representation of an abstract idea” (p. 7). So, let’s get out of this land of abstraction and metaphor, and start talking about how you actually go about picking out a theoretical framework and developing this to align with your research problem and purpose. A literature review is a discussion on the already existing material in the subject area. Thus, this will require a collection of published work concerning the selected research area.

How Do You Select An Appropriate Theoretical Framework?

For example, Collins, Joseph and Bielaczyc questioned whether a methodological approach using design research, underpinned by pragmatism, was appropriate and could be developed for analysing evaluative needs to support developments such as communities of learners. Similarly, Wang and Collins questioned appropriateness and future challenges in using a design-based research approach in developing technology-enhanced learning environments. Second, one or more theories can inform the entire research process. In other words, theory is an all-informing conceptualization that permeates all facets of the study.24 In this approach, the refinement of these existing theories or the development of a new theory may be a major output of the research project. A conceptual framework is finalized before the study and is rarely modified once data collection has started. The difference between theoretical and conceptual frameworks is scale — referring to the Big Ideas and the smaller ones.

The definition of conceptual is something having to do with the mind, or with mental concepts or philosophical or imaginary ideas. An example of conceptual is when you formulate an abstract philosophy to explain the world which cannot be proven or seen. A conceptual framework illustrates what you expect to find through your research. It defines the relevant variables for your study and maps out how they might relate to each other. You should construct a conceptual framework before you begin collecting data.

Therefore, a literature review is backwards-looking while theory framework is forward-looking. In the subjectivist inductive approach, theory not only exists as an abstract description that researchers read and debate, but it can also reside within the researcher as a cognitive frame that shapes his or her thinking and research design choices. It is constantly evolving, informed by researchers’ experience, values, and perceptions.

Some subjectivist inductive research—notably researchers working in Glaser and Strauss’s grounded theory tradition20—generates theory from the data. Thus, theory is not used to inform study design but is the major output of the research project and evolves out of a systematic inductive approach to data analysis.

Passey , for example, argues that the concept of technology enhanced learning itself has not been developed in contemporary contexts and that this in itself is a potential limitation to understanding how underpinnings can be appropriately considered and selected. This means that knowledge is subjective—one person’s understanding of a phenomenon may not be the same as another person’s understanding. By collecting data from a multitude of perspectives, we can gain a richer and more nuanced understanding of the phenomenon.

Conceptual Models

A professional development programme for supporting teachers in the design, development, and implementation of Technology Enhanced Learning activities for teaching Arabic as a foreign language. Staff development needs of academic staff involved in blended and online course delivery in higher education institutions in the United Kingdom.

Objectivist deductive research rests on the assumptions that there is an external reality (i.e., a real world that exists independent of the researcher) and reality can be understood by collecting objective, unbiased data about that reality. Research questions in this approach tend to focus on testing underlying assumptions about how something works by testing a cause-and-effect relationship underpinning a phenomenon. Unlike the conceptual frameworks that can be put to use after a consensus is reached, accounting standards are disadvantaged in flexibility. Conceptual frameworks, on the other hand, function to assist in the formulation of future International Financial Reporting Standards. They also promote the harmonization of the regulations and the standards of accounting through the reduction of alternative financial accounting methods. The conceptual framework also serves to assist auditors and preparers of financial reports, in the application of IFRS. The theoretical assumptions provide a premise for the study so that a coherent argument can be made for the research questions.

What Are The Types Of Conceptual Framework?

This lack of guidance leads many novice researchers to seek out a dissertation consultant to partner in this challenging work. Moreover, the literature review explores what has already been written difference between conceptual framework and theoretical framework about the topic under investigation in order to highlight a gap, whereas the theoretical framework is the conceptual and analytical approach the researcher is going to take to fill that gap.

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For example, if a model has been developed from research in one context, then whether it could be applied in another different context is in itself a significant question. Additionally, if a model is gained from a limited context and range of participants, whether using such a model as it stands would then limit the findings of another piece of research just to the major features of influence that have been identified is another notable question. Considering whether outcomes from those cases have potential or wider applicability, and how any wider generalisation might be viewed and gained, can be a key question.

Which Framework Should A Researcher Use?

What you need to do, then, is find a way to work control over the stimulation in the environment into your framework. You start digging again through theoretical literature, searching on the term “control,” and you find self-determination theory pops up as a hit.

In the case of Topol , it was the argument arising from a concern for understanding the philosophical underpinning that led to subsequent uses of models and frameworks for the research design. By contrast, Essam and Kotsovoulou focused the majority of their argument on the underpinnings of their research design and methods. This initial section asks what a conceptual or theoretical framework for a research study might be. The ways that universities define a doctoral study’s contribution to knowledge or theory can vary quite widely.

Theoretical frameworks are often used to confirm a gap in knowledge and to provide a justification for conducting a study. A researcher could think of a theoretical framework as being the way to delineate the “why” or the “how” of a study (Ravitch & Riggan, 2012, p.13). The first, Social Creative Constructionism (Passey et al., 2019), is a theoretical framework developed from an analysis of a number of existing theories and frameworks, including Social Constructivism and Constructionism .

The Conceptual Framework may also assist preparers of financial statements in developing accounting policies for transactions or events not covered by existing standards. Reducing this seemingly intimidating topic to two factors may help simplify the concept.

Hold in mind that theoretical assumptions can be at the level of the Grand Theory, Middle-Range Theory, or Substantive Theory. The higher up that continuum one can go, the better; but many meaningful studies simply are not based on generally accepted grand theories or even middle-range theories. Let me give three examples that might clarify how to formulate a theoretical framework beginning at each of these three levels. According to Creswell , the researcher examines the discipline-based literature related to the study topic as well as related studies in the research literature. From those sources, the researcher attempts to identify an overarching theory that “explains the central hypothesis or research question in the study” ( p. 90 ). Guiding that process, Creswell suggested the use of a “rainbow question” ( p. 90 ), seeking an understanding of why the independent variable should be expected to affect the dependent variable.

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The authors argue that theoretical frameworks can strengthen the likelihood that the research has produced meaningful findings that have addressed the research problem. Frameworks have also been used to explain conflict theory and the balance necessary to reach what amounts to resolution. Within these conflict frameworks, visible and invisible variables function under concepts of relevance. Boundaries form and within these boundaries, tensions regarding laws and chaos are mitigated. These frameworks often function like cells, with sub-frameworks, stasis, evolution and revolution. Anomalies may exist without adequate “lenses” or “filters” to see them and may become visible only when the tools exist to define them.

  • He contended that the precepts of mastery learning lead directly to the requirement for a list of discrete, incrementally sequenced competencies.
  • A conceptual or theoretical framework is therefore, as you can see, a big component of what gives coherence and focus to a research project and the subsequent thesis/report/papers.
  • It is also the conceptual and analytical approach the researcher is going to take to fill the research gap identified by the literature review.
  • Ary, Jacobs, and Razavieh’s criteria will form much of the basis for the discussion on evaluating theoretical frameworks later in this paper.
  • You’ve always been one to offer help where it’s needed, and so learning more about optimal learning environments is of deep concern for you.

Also called research paradigm, conceptual framework makes things easier by delineating the input as well as output of the research project. One gets to know the variables that need to be tested in a conceptual framework. Academics refer to their theoretical frameworks when publishing papers or experiments to explicitly identify the assumptions that inform their work. This allows readers in the field immediate familiarity with the ideas on which a study is based, and a beginning point for critical analysis.

In his dissertation, Dobbins intended to identify essential clinical experiences that should be provided for future teachers of agricultural education during their preservice educational programs. He showed how behavioral science leads directly to the middle-level theory of mastery learning. He contended that the precepts of mastery learning lead directly to the requirement for a list of discrete, incrementally sequenced competencies. That theoretical framework lead directly to his research objective, which was to determine the competencies that should be included in the early field experience and student teaching components of agricultural teacher education programs. A conceptual framework represents the researcher’s synthesis of literature on how to explain a phenomenon. It maps out the actions required in the course of the study given his previous knowledge of other researchers’ point of view and his observations on the subject of research. There is a link between theoretical framework and quantitative research design.

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We cannot afford to be seduced by the oversimplification that all research must derive directly from grand theory. Substantive theoretical propositions based on appropriate discipline-based and research-based literature provide adequate theoretical frameworks for most research in career and technical education. Applied research based on theoretical assumptions falling well short of grand theory can have important implications for practice in our field and can be perfectly legitimate. Indeed, given the scientific immaturity of educational research in general and career and technical education in particular, substantive theory may well form the theoretical frameworks of much of our research for some time to come. As can be seen from Table 5, using models, frameworks or theories to underpin research studies neither involves a singular approach, nor is it necessarily a simple choice.

Writing Theoretical Frameworks, Analytical Frameworks And Conceptual Frameworks

When in doubt, refer to your professor or to a source within your field of research to determine which term to use. Financial statements are used by many people such that, no single conceptual framework can help to meet their financial accounting needs. On the other hand, accounting standards have different benefits from those of the conceptual framework. A conceptual or theoretical framework is therefore, as you can see, a big component of what gives coherence and focus to a research project and the subsequent thesis/report/papers. It’s no wonder that supervisors are anxious that PhDers get one.

Accounting standards describe the problem that needs to be solved. They then provide a platform to discuss the best way to handle the problem, and finally describe the solution that is in tandem with the accounting practices. You arrive at a framework somewhere in the middle of the project, when you have enough data to know what is needed but not so much that you are committed to the higgle and piggle. The benefit with this approach is that you have time to consider what might work best for your particular topic and you can make sure that you do generate the necessary data. The risks include generating at least some data which doesn’t fit and being distracted from the actual data you are generating by the continued pressure to arrive at a suitable framework.

While conceptual frameworks offer longer-term perspectives compared to models, they can also be limited in terms of wider social context. Networked learning, for example, is aligned to the context of learning and education. A theoretical framework can go beyond a single context, and cover wider social practices. Ngai, Tao and Moon , for example, explored how previous research into social media and its applications had been underpinned by theory.

This example illustrates that underpinnings do not need to be ‘taken off the shelf’, and indeed that underpinnings need to be questioned in terms of their applicability. Rather, underpinnings should be selected carefully or even developed to relate to contexts and circumstances. The second example, Human Motivation, was a theoretical framework that was developed by Maslow , based upon a number of existing theories. This framework is perhaps best recognised through what has been called Maslow’s model of a hierarchy of needs, and this is often the form in which the theoretical framework is used in research studies. The creation and use of this model for underpinning research has been strongly questioned (Bridgman, Cummings, & Ballard, 2019); again, the background theories that led to this framework contextualise it in important ways. 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.

Consider several theories that intersect nicely with your epistemological values and broaden your way of thinking about the concepts in your study. It is proposed that inquiry, regardless of the inquirer’s chosen paradigm or method, is governed by six pursuits that integrate qualitative and quantitative research methods. Design-based research and technology-enhanced learning environments.

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