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Build A Strong Theoretical Framework For Any Research

The theoretical framework is the foundation of any research project regardless of the subject and academic level. It is commonly used at the beginning of a dissertation to demonstrate your grounds for doing the research and identify the key issue of the paper.

The theoretical framework is often used as the description of the project and its goal, especially for people who have little to no knowledge about the subject. With a strong theoretical framework, you will provide a convincing background for your research and tell your audience why exactly you chose to investigate the subject of your paper. In order to build a theoretical framework, you need to have a solid knowledge of the subject and the theories that are relevant to your research. It will include the relations between the subjects and the related variables that are indispensable for your research.

What Is A Theoretical Framework

Besides the definition of a theoretical framework, it is also important to know how exactly it is used in research and why any dissertation cannot be imagined without this part. With a theoretical framework, you will demonstrate your deep knowledge of the subject and the epistemological, methodological, and analytical basis for your research. Some of the most common theories used in various disciplines include:

  • Situational
  • Cognitive
  • Behavioral
  • Critical
  • Transformational
  • Marxist
  • Gender
  • Feminist

Having a strong theoretical framework is essential for choosing the right research design or methods for your dissertation.

Why You Need A Theoretical Framework

Once you have chosen the problem statement of your study project and designed the study questions, it is time to find the thoughts and theories that may be relevant to the topic of your work. Building a theoretical framework for the dissertation helps you justify your project by serving as proof that there are existing theories closely connected to your own project. Plus, creating a theoretical framework will provide you with a sense of direction and purpose for continuing your work.

Contents Of A Theoretical Framework

Your theoretical framework will consist of several elements, including existing ideas, relevant theories, definitions of key terms and research concepts, as well as a presentation of the concepts. The best way to choose relevant elements for your theoretical framework is to do a literature review. With this review, you will get a clear idea about the way other researchers approached your subject. Compare the definitions of the key elements to see which one fits your narrative the best. Find out whether there are links between the different approaches and whether they can be used in your own work.

Other elements you can use

Depending on your area of research and other factors, there are other elements you can include in your theoretical framework. For example, an evaluation of the current state of the research can be very helpful for your audience to get better acquainted with the subject of your paper. Here are the other aspects of research you can include in your theoretical framework:

  • Relevant discussions taken from credible sources;
  • Differences and similarities between other studies and your own research;
  • A description of the methods, theories, and models used by other researchers and which one is the best fit for your project;
  • An explanation of how your project can benefit the scientific discussion around the subject.

Moreover, your theoretical framework can be used for formulating a stronger hypothesis, which will serve as the ground for your upcoming research

The structure of a theoretical framework

There is no set structure of a theoretical framework, which is both good and bad news for the researcher. Your main objective is to draw maximum attention to the key points of your research. Your theoretical framework section of the paper does not need to be extremely long, but it does need to be detailed and include information on the relevant theories, concepts, models, and questions that can help you define your own research. The ideal length of a theoretical framework is considered to be between 3 and 5 pages, although that number can depend on your level and the specifics of your paper. It is also a good idea to use various graphics to illustrate your main points, which can be put in an appendix if you are afraid you will run out of space.

In some cases, you cannot use a theoretical framework and need to use the conceptual framework instead. A conceptual framework of research refers to the concepts, beliefs, and assumptions that can be highly relevant to the subject of the paper but do not qualify for a theoretical framework due to the lack of established theories.

How To Write A Theoretical Framework

Successfully writing a strong theoretical framework includes several steps:

  1. Writing an introduction to attract the interest of your readers.
  2. Explaining the grounds for researching the problem.
  3. Detailing a case for your research project.
  4. Building connections between the problem, research, and audience.

The introduction to your theoretical framework will serve as a way to get the audience acquainted with the subject of the research and spark their interest in further discussion. Then you can move on to describing the existing knowledge in the area, previous research, and the possible blank spaces in the research that can add significance to your own study. The description of the problem, project, and audience must pay a concise picture. Explain how your study can be relevant to the scientific discussion and fill in the gaps of previous research.

Next, you need to offer a literature review to your readers, which will show them the current state of the discussion of the topic in question. When your readers finish reading your theoretical framework, they should obtain a thorough understanding of why you decided to do the research, what effect it will have on the society and the possible benefits from conducting your project. A successful theoretical framework should always include the following:

  • A solid thesis application;
  • A convincing research idea;
  • Review of credible sources of data.

Data you need to obtain from your theory

  • The names of the authors;
  • The date when the principle was formulated;
  • The parts of your study the theory can be linked to;
  • Your synthesis obtained from relating the findings to the theory.

Since the main objective of your theoretical framework is to help the audience realize the nature of your project, which, in your case, will be the examiners, your ultimate goal is to make your theoretical framework interesting. To achieve it, make sure to include the following in your writing:

  • How you understand the selected theories;
  • How and why you chose this specific approach;
  • How deep your knowledge of the theories is;
  • How you intend to use the theories;
  • Potential downsides of your choices.

Interpreting theories can be done in multiple ways. When you are making a certain choice in your research, you need to describe it in detail and talk about its benefits and how exactly it can positively influence your project. Consider other researchers who worked in a similar area and how their findings and approach can be used in your own study.

Think about the most essential aspects of your theory and the possible downsides it may have. If you are implementing more than one approach to your research, it is your job to introduce each one of them in detail and then demonstrate whether they are connected and interchangeable. Next, think about your potential readers and the reason why you are doing a theoretical framework to deliver the most convincing and brilliant piece of writing.

The ultimate goal of a theoretical framework is to help the readers understand where you are coming from when doing your research. That is why your framework needs to contain such aspects as an overview of past research, your assumptions and suspicions, and your well-argumented rationale. Together, those aspects should show your strong foundation for the study.

Eliminating potential bias from the research interpretation is an important step on the way to successful research, and this is another instance where a theoretical framework can help you. Talk about any alternative theories and possible limitations that can change your point of view or the whole course of the research. It gives additional context to your study and makes your work look more grounded and professional.

How to successfully develop a theoretical framework

When creating and reviewing the theoretical framework for your dissertation, make sure that it is firmly based on your knowledge of the subject and closely connected to the results of your review. First, you need to settle on a definition of your research problem. Then, by reviewing relevant literature and finding under-researched aspects of the problem, you will be able to impress everyone with your writing. Add a description of noteworthy variables that are based on your literature review to give your readers an additional context for engaging with the research.

Begin your theoretical framework by offering a review of the current literature. Study other people’s theories and pick the one that fits your own views the most. Explain why you believe your variables are relevant to the research in a convincing manner. Offer existing research and theories to support your ideas. Prepare readers for what they are about to see in your study and pay special attention to formulating your prediction or hypothesis.

How you can connect your theoretical framework to quantitative research

Your theoretical framework and quantitative research are closely connected. Choosing the research design to use in your work is only possible after you do a literature review and determining the goals of your study. You will use deductive reasoning in this research design, and the first step of this approach is choosing the most suitable theoretical framework for your project and structuring it properly. This will serve as the ground for your upcoming study. It will also influence your choice of research methods, but at the same time, the methodology of your choice will also need to give some strong conclusions to the audience.

Any theoretical framework includes a discussion of your subject and the reasoning for conducting the research. By breaking down the complex concept of the theoretical framework into two smaller aspects, you will be able to easily craft this important stage of the dissertation writing process.

Theoretical Framework Checklist

A theoretical framework:

  • Is a scientific way to support your hypothesis;
  • Can consist of numerous concepts and existing theories;
  • Explains the reason why your research subject is important;
  • Introduces and details your theories of choice;
  • Offers a particular perspective to approach your subject;
  • Using different perspectives for approaching the subject means there are no wrong or right ways to do it.

Why should you use it?

Using a theoretical framework is an effective way of improving your analysis. A theoretical framework determines the number and perspective of the questions you need to ask when researching your subject. Here is how to use it:

  • Be very specific about the theories you are using and the ways they can potentially change;
  • The theoretical framework of your research should be closely linked to your literature review, research methodology, and analysis;
  • It should form a frame and context for every part of your future dissertation.

What does a theoretical framework do?

  • Give your readers an opportunity to critically evaluate your study;
  • Give you a variety of credible research methods to choose from;
  • Link your research to the existing knowledge;
  • Help you understand the possible limits of generalization;
  • Help you identify the central, most vital aspects of the research.

Overall, creating a theoretical framework for a research project is not the easiest task in the world when you have zero experience with this assignment, but with our tips and guide, you will master this challenge in no time.