What is a theoretical framework?
We explain to you what is a theoretical framework in an investigation and what is its structure. Also, how to do it and a detailed example.
What is a theoretical framework?
The theoretical framework is the section of a monograph or research project on which the experiments , hypotheses and research development proposals are based . It is made up of a set of references and antecedents fruit of the bibliographic aqueo from which the research itself started.
Put more simply, it is a section of the research paper in which the authors must demonstrate on which authors and books they are based to choose the research path they chose. Explicit the theoretical and conceptual support they consulted to be able to propose the research as they did. This implies:
- Background : They are previous research on the same subject.
- Theory : these are the works consulted by the great scholars of the subject.
A theoretical framework must be a coherent, orderly and succinct statement of the theory that underpins the work. You should pay attention to data and bibliographic references.
The thoroughness, transparency and thoroughness will allow the reader of this section to acquire a unified body of criteria to understand and analyze the proposed topic. So you can appreciate the contributions that the research will provide.
The objectives of any theoretical framework can be summarized as follows:
- To give an account of the innovative features of the research and its contributions to the field in the face of the existing literature and the works that precede it
- Place within a framework of conceptual and theoretical references to the problem that the monograph will address.
- Provide the reader with definitions and useful concepts to get into the body of research work without problems. For this, even a glossary can be used.
- Justify the methodological , conceptual and instrumental choice in the way others have investigated the same subject.
Structure of a theoretical framework
Normally, a theoretical framework is composed of two sections, which depending on the case can always be written as one set:
- Background of the investigation . First of all, researchers should consult in different sources and databases on what research prior to theirs addressed the issue in question, to know what the state of the matter is at the moment. And this is precisely what should be explained in this section, making explicit and concrete references to the most outstanding antecedents that exist, and explaining how your research will be differentiated from what is stated by them.
- Theoretical concepts . In this case it is a kind of terminological and conceptual glossary necessary to understand the development of the research, in which it will be explained which authors and books served to conceptually frame the research, providing support for their views, procedures or reasoning. base. Appointments, references and explanations will be used as necessary in each case.
This structure may be freely posed in the way that is most convenient for researchers, provided they cover everything relevant to the theory in the development of their research work.
How to make a theoretical framework?
Broadly speaking, the steps to develop a theoretical framework are:
Tonnage literature . The first step, if we have not already taken it at the time of writing the theoretical framework, is to make an extensive literature review. This implies using different databases and search services, especially in university libraries , academic institutes or the specific area of our research. Our mission will be twofold:
- First, find the work that addresses the subject of our research , in order to determine what they did, how and what results they obtained. We will write down the bibliographic data of each case, we will review the consulted bibliography (its background, too) and we will take note of how it resembles and how each one is distinguished from our research. It will not always be necessary to read the whole document, it will be enough to go to a summary and take a look at the introduction , the conclusions and the bibliography, as a minimum.
- Second, once we know which authors our predecessors used in their theoretical frameworks and which authors are indispensable for what we want to do, we must consult them and document ourselves as to what are the voices of authority in the specific field of our business. That is, what theoretical texts we should read for our research, and take note of them.
Remember that in both cases it will be crucial to take citations, with their respective bibliographical references, to support us during the drafting of the theoretical framework.
Theoretical research . Once we know what theorists we will use for our work, we must read them, study them and determine in each case what they serve us:
- What key concepts do these theorists elaborate?
- What categories of your own studies are for ours and why?
- How do we expect your work to influence ours?
As soon as we know this information, we can start writing.
Writing . Having all of the above clear, it will not be difficult to start writing our theoretical framework, divided into two stages:
- The background , where we will basically tell you what we discovered during the first stage of the survey, what background was important and why, and to what extent our work is original or is a contribution to what is already achieved in libraries.
- The theory , that is, what key authors we will use for our research approach and why, trying to answer the questions we asked ourselves during their reading.
Example of theoretical framework
Suppose our research is about the influence of Egyptian religion in the high altitude vineyards of Argentina, as we assume there is one. Our theoretical framework must therefore consist of the following:
- A first part in which we explain the novelty of our approach and refer to the background . Obviously there will be none with respect to the subject with exactitude, but there will be with respect to the Egyptian religion and its influence on other cultures , and there will also be on the tall vineyards in Argentina. If we do not find any approach like ours, we can always interpret it as a sign that we are being original or inaugurating a field of knowledge.
- Then we must go to theorists : both specialists in the Egyptian religion, and in the high vineyards in Argentina. There must be many who have written about each thing professionally, so we must go to the most important and those closest to our work: for example, those who study the Egyptian religion and its similarities with other cultures of the world, or those who study the Tall vineyards in relation to local cultural factors. We should probably also turn to some theorist about the concept of “influence”, at least to define the specific use that we will give to the term during the work.
Once this research has been carried out and these elements have been obtained, with their respective bibliographic citations and mandatory references, we can begin to write the theoretical framework, explaining what are the concepts that we will use, how and from whom.