The theoretical framework introduces and describes the theory that explains why the research problem under study exists.
A theoretical framework consists of concepts and, together with their definitions and reference to relevant scholarly literature, existing theory that is used for your particular study.
Based upon the above example, it is perhaps easiest to understand the nature and function of a theoretical framework if it is viewed as an answer to two basic questions: The answers to these questions come from a thorough review of the literature and your course readings [summarized and analyzed in the next section of your paper] and the gaps in the research that emerge from the review process. “The General Method of Theory-Building Research in Applied Disciplines.” A growing and increasingly important trend in the social and behavioral sciences is to think about and attempt to understand specific research problems from an interdisciplinary perspective.
With this in mind, a complete theoretical framework will likely not emerge until after you have completed a thorough review of the literature. One way to do this is to not rely exclusively on the theories developed within your particular discipline, but to think about how an issue might be informed by theories developed in other disciplines.
The data collection and analysis are also based on the theoretical and conceptual framework.
As stated by Grant and Osanloo (2014), “Without a theoretical framework, the structure and vision for a study is unclear, much like a house that cannot be constructed without a blueprint.
To that end, the following roles served by a theory can help guide the development of your framework.
The theoretical framework may be rooted in a specific theory, in which case, your work is expected to test the validity of that existing theory in relation to specific events, issues, or phenomena.
Just as a research problem in your paper requires contextualization and background information, a theory requires a framework for understanding its application to the topic being investigated. For example, if you are a political science student studying the rhetorical strategies used by female incumbents in state legislature campaigns, theories about the use of language could be derived, not only from political science, but linguistics, communication studies, philosophy, psychology, and, in this particular case, feminist studies.
When writing and revising this part of your research paper, keep in mind the following: The Conceptual Framework. Alabama State University; Conceptual Framework: What Do You Think is Going On? Building theoretical frameworks based on the postulates and hypotheses developed in other disciplinary contexts can be both enlightening and an effective way to be fully engaged in the research topic.