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- Is There a Conceptual Difference between Theoretical and Conceptual Frameworks
- Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper
- Difference Between Conceptual & Theoretical Framework
- Is There a Conceptual Difference between Theoretical and Conceptual Frameworks?
Is There a Conceptual Difference between Theoretical and Conceptual Frameworks
Jump to navigation. Whether a novice researcher working on a dissertation or a seasoned researcher developing a competitive project for funding or publication, having a theoretical and conceptual framework in place is a cornerstone for success. Well-developed research studies in the social sciences rely upon a theoretical or conceptual framework to guide the researcher in several ways throughout the study, from determining if there is satisfactory demonstration of the relevance and need for the research to establishing a persuasive line of reasoning and academic rigor in the development of the design and analysis.
Whether the researcher selects a theoretical or a conceptual framework varies upon a number of items, and the published literature does not always clearly distinguish between a theoretical and a conceptual frame. However, there are subtle differences between a theoretical framework and a conceptual framework. The theoretical framework is the frame a researcher uses to interpret data or evidence.
Theoretical frameworks are often used to confirm a gap in knowledge and to provide a justification for conducting a study. An important point about theories is that they are classified in different ways, which also shapes the type of theoretical framework a researcher uses. For instance, there are grand theories, which is a major category of phenomenon or events, like the Theory of Everything.
Then, there are mid-range theories or formal theories, which are ideas or systems like postmodernism, feminism, or systems theory. There are also practice theories or substantive theories that align with specific professions, such as evidence-based practice or design based research.
Someone who engages in Grounded Theory methodology, for example, would be using a method to generate a substantive theory to solve a problem. Theories are testable, verified empirically, and explained simply. Moreover, theories should align with established principles and concepts as well as align with how the researcher positions himself or herself paradigmatically and philosophically.
Paradigmatic and philosophical alignment with a theoretical frame is important, as the elements support and guide the researcher in the creation of the data collection and analysis processes. Concepts are abstract ideas that arise out of perception and experience and are used to label phenomenon, events, or processes. Frequently, concepts are used to generalize from particulars to create the abstract idea. A conceptual framework, then, is a system of concepts, assumptions, expectations and beliefs in which graphics or propositions link broad abstract ideas or models as a way to guide a research study.
Often a conceptual framework emerges from the literature review, as the researcher links the literature to real-world experiences or events to shape future thoughts or practices in the research study. The conceptual framework helps researchers generate a systematic order to the flow or logic of the study.
Miles and Huberman perceive the conceptual framework as functioning as a way to focus and set boundaries for the study, especially for qualitative researchers. Ravitch and Riggan explain that a conceptual framework pulls together the entire research process p.
The conceptual framework, then, provides researchers with the opportunity to define the importance of the research in terms of what has been studied before as well as proffers a reason as to why the topic needs to be extended in the manner as outlined by the researcher. When used well together, a theoretical and a conceptual framework provides a researcher with sufficient support to explain the need and the relevance for the study in the field; in addition, the researcher who chooses to have a theoretical and a conceptual framework in the research study demonstrates appropriate academic rigor in preparing a strong study.
Maxwell, J. Miles, M. Ravitch, S. Savin-Baden, M. New York: Routledge. Thank you Diane, very succinct! Can I use this as another supplemental handout in my DOC course? Gavin, thank you very much. You have definitely stimulated my intellect in the use of theoretical and conceptual framework.
This knowledge will come in handy for completing and ensuring my conceptual framework is aligned with my study. Great knowledge! This edition, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging , explores various topics related to teaching and learning, organizational development, best practices in business environments, personnel management, leadership, and organizational change in diverse environments.
We begin with a candid conversation on race with our leader, President Peter Cohen. CWDIR is seeking a pair of experienced faculty with students to create a submission. Each chat is tailored to support students as we all focus on understanding the impacts of the COVID pandemic and seek ways to support others within this time of crisis. Conceptual Frameworks Concepts are abstract ideas that arise out of perception and experience and are used to label phenomenon, events, or processes.
References Maxwell, J. Diane Gavin's blog Log in to post comments. Thank you, Dr. Gavin, this and your blog post on Study Design Alignment are both very helpful!! About the Author Additional content will be provided upon request. Has Your Research Study been Approved? Writing Well for Scholarly Publications and Dissertations. Recent News Scholar 3.
Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper
Skip to search form Skip to main content You are currently offline. Some features of the site may not work correctly. DOI: Although, generally, a lot of literature uses these two terms interchangeably - suggesting that they are conceptually equivalent, the researcher argues that these are two different constructs - both by definition and as actualised during the research process. Save to Library. Create Alert.
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Difference Between Conceptual & Theoretical Framework
Theories are formulated to explain, predict, and understand phenomena and, in many cases, to challenge and extend existing knowledge within the limits of critical bounding assumptions. The theoretical framework is the structure that can hold or support a theory of a research study. The theoretical framework introduces and describes the theory that explains why the research problem under study exists.
Is There a Conceptual Difference between Theoretical and Conceptual Frameworks?
The terms theoretical framework and conceptual framework are often used interchangeably to mean the same thing. When working on coursework or dissertation research, make sure to clarify what is being asked and any specific course or program requirements. Although theoretical frameworks tend to be used in quantitative studies, you will also see this approach in qualitative research. A conceptual framework includes one or more formal theories in part or whole as well as other concepts and empirical findings from the literature. Identifying and learning about theories requires a different search strategy than other types of research. Identifying a theory that aligns with your dissertation or doctoral study takes time. The process of identifying an appropriate theory can seem daunting, so try breaking down the process into smaller steps.