Step 5 Choosing a Conceptual or Theoretical Framework Research Process Guide Research Guides at Kean University
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A theoretical framework sets out the various expectations that a theory posits and how they would apply to a specific case under analysis, and how one would use theory to explain a particular phenomenon. Dr. Cyrus Samii offers an explanation of what a good theoretical framework does for students. It defines the concepts used and explains existing theories and models in your field of research. It also explains any assumptions that were used to inform your approach and your choice of specific rationales. A conceptual framework is a description of the way a researcher understands the factors and/or variables that are involved in the study and their relationships to one another. The purpose of a conceptual framework is to articulate the concepts under study using relevant literature (Rocco and Plakhotnik, 2009) and to clarify the presumed relationships among those concepts (Rocco and Plakhotnik, 2009; Anfara and Mertz, 2014).

  1. Using multiple theoretical frameworks in a single study is acceptable as long as each theory is clearly defined and related to the study.
  2. The theoretical framework might be grounded in Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, which offers a broad lens for understanding how students learn and process information.
  3. Collectively, literature reviews, theoretical frameworks, and conceptual frameworks work to guide methodological decisions and the elucidation of important findings.
  4. It has been described as the top or the second most important component with a high impact on employer branding and employee retention in previous studies noted above.

The statistical correlation between the independent and dependent variables is higher when the mediating variable is excluded. A thesis topic can be approached from a variety of angles, depending on the theories used. Identifying a theory that aligns with your dissertation or doctoral study takes time. The process of identifying an appropriate theory can seem daunting, so theoretical framework versus conceptual framework try breaking down the process into smaller steps. While it may be tempting to present new arguments or evidence in your thesis or disseration conclusion, especially if you have a particularly striking argument you’d like to finish your analysis with, you shouldn’t. The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation shouldn’t take up more than 5–7% of your overall word count.

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Consequently, the researcher may have to modify the study design partway through data analysis when he or she realizes that a particular theory is relevant. Instead, it is the result of deep exploration of data that reveals a particular theory to be relevant to the study findings. Here again, development and refinement of theory can come as the end result of the research. Chhabra and Sharma (2014) examined organizational culture, brand name, and compensation as antecedents of employer branding. Organizational culture and organizational identity are two factors that contribute to an employer’s positive reputation and attraction (Jiang and Iles, 2011; Sageder et al., 2018).

For example, for a diagram in a journal article, look on the journal’s website or the database where you found the article. However, it is advisable to do so if your text is long enough to feature a table of contents and it includes a lot of tables and/or figures. Abstracts are often indexed along with keywords on academic databases, so they make your work more easily findable. Since the abstract is the first thing any reader sees, it’s important that it clearly and accurately summarises the contents of your paper. When you mention different chapters within your text, it’s considered best to use Roman numerals for most citation styles. However, the most important thing here is to remain consistent whenever using numbers in your dissertation.

What is the difference between a conceptual framework and a theoretical framework?

The authors reported that the biology postdoctoral scholars’ teaching practices became more student-centered as they were challenged to explain their instructional decision making. According to the theory, the biology postdoctoral scholars’ dissatisfaction in their descriptions of teaching and learning initiated change in their knowledge and instruction. These results reveal how conceptual change theory can explain the learning of participants and guide the design of professional development programming. Another consideration in the selection and use of a theoretical framework pertains to its orientation to the study.

The Distinctions Between Theory, Theoretical Framework, and Conceptual Framework : Academic Medicine

A solid literature review clearly anchors the proposed study in the field and connects the research question(s), the methodological approach, and the discussion. Reviewing extant research leads to research questions that will contribute to what is known in the field. By summarizing what is known, the literature review points to what needs to be known, which in turn guides decisions about methodology.

In summary, while a theoretical framework provides the overarching structure, a theoretical model offers a more detailed and specific representation of the relationships between variables within that framework. A lot of people (my own students included) have asked me if the theoretical framework is their literature review. A theoretical framework, the way I define it, is comprised of the different theories and theoretical constructs that help explain a phenomenon.

It is a result of our own work as science education and biology education researchers, whether as graduate students and postdoctoral scholars or newly hired and established faculty members. This is the article we wish had been available as we started to learn about these elements or discussed them with new educational researchers in biology. Another study might aim to understand the factors influencing the job satisfaction of employees in a corporate setting. The theoretical framework could be based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, interpreting job satisfaction in terms of fulfilling employees’ physiological, safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization needs.

In this article, we highlight the transformative work that is needed for a theory to appropriately and meaningfully influence research studies that will help deepen our understanding of problems, contexts, and even the theories themselves important to HPE. But, to do this, we need to have a common understanding of the language we use and an appreciation of the different ways these terms can be applied. This language can help us better report the in-depth analytical work involved in research—a theoretical framework articulates the logic of why we are using a particular theory; a conceptual framework justifies why this problem/context/phenomenon is relevant to the field. These frameworks represent one of the most challenging aspects of research—turning a hunch, an observation, or a meandering thought into a logical, evidence-informed, theory-refining, impactful, and meaningful argument suitable for peer review and publication. This means that knowledge is subjective—one person’s understanding of a phenomenon may not be the same as another person’s understanding.

The theoretical framework provides a general representation of relationships between things in a given phenomenon. The conceptual framework, on the other hand, embodies the specific direction by which the research will have to be undertaken. Statistically speaking, the conceptual framework describes the relationship between specific variables identified in the study. Perceived corporate social responsibility (Perceived CSR) also causes employees’ engagement with the mediation effect of employees’ empathy (Tian and Robertson, 2019). Madu et al. (2019) have taken aesthetic workplace as a cause of employees’ engagement.

You’d also need to identify what existing theories have to say in relation to your research aim. In this case, you could discuss some of the key literature in relation to organisational trust. A quick search on Google Scholar using some well-considered keywords generally provides a good starting point. A list of figures and tables compiles all of the figures and tables that you used in your thesis or dissertation and displays them with the page number where they can be found. Definitional terms often fall into the category of common knowledge, meaning that they don’t necessarily have to be cited.

Theoretical framework:

Employer branding encompasses organizational culture, interpersonal relations, systems, and organizational values (Singh and Rokade, 2014; Sharma and Prasad, 2018). A pleasant, hygienic, and conducive environment makes employees comfortable at work, which eventually may lead to their satisfaction (Singh and Rokade, 2014). Employees love to stay longer with employers who are providing work-life balance and competitive compensation (Singh and Rokade, 2014; Tanwar and Prasad, 2016). Carless and Imber (2007) and Carpentier et al. (2017) highlighted that the attractiveness of the employer is critical in catching the attention of prospective employees looking for work. Carpentier et al. (2017) have explored six factors that influence employer branding, which include pay, advancement, task diversity, atmosphere, meaningfulness, and work-life balance.

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