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Conceptual Framework – Types, Methodology and Examples

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Conceptual Framework

Conceptual Framework

Definition:

A conceptual framework is a structured approach to organizing and understanding complex ideas, theories, or concepts. It provides a systematic and coherent way of thinking about a problem or topic, and helps to guide research or analysis in a particular field.

A conceptual framework typically includes a set of assumptions, concepts, and propositions that form a theoretical framework for understanding a particular phenomenon. It can be used to develop hypotheses, guide empirical research, or provide a framework for evaluating and interpreting data.

Conceptual Framework in Research

In research, a conceptual framework is a theoretical structure that provides a framework for understanding a particular phenomenon or problem. It is a key component of any research project and helps to guide the research process from start to finish.

A conceptual framework provides a clear understanding of the variables, relationships, and assumptions that underpin a research study. It outlines the key concepts that the study is investigating and how they are related to each other. It also defines the scope of the study and sets out the research questions or hypotheses.

Types of Conceptual Framework

Types of Conceptual Framework are as follows:

Theoretical Framework

A theoretical framework is an overarching set of concepts, ideas, and assumptions that help to explain and interpret a phenomenon. It provides a theoretical perspective on the phenomenon being studied and helps researchers to identify the relationships between different concepts. For example, a theoretical framework for a study on the impact of social media on mental health might draw on theories of communication, social influence, and psychological well-being.

Conceptual Model

A conceptual model is a visual or written representation of a complex system or phenomenon. It helps to identify the main components of the system and the relationships between them. For example, a conceptual model for a study on the factors that influence employee turnover might include factors such as job satisfaction, salary, work-life balance, and job security, and the relationships between them.

Empirical Framework

An empirical framework is based on empirical data and helps to explain a particular phenomenon. It involves collecting data, analyzing it, and developing a framework to explain the results. For example, an empirical framework for a study on the impact of a new health intervention might involve collecting data on the intervention’s effectiveness, cost, and acceptability to patients.

Descriptive Framework

A descriptive framework is used to describe a particular phenomenon. It helps to identify the main characteristics of the phenomenon and to develop a vocabulary to describe it. For example, a descriptive framework for a study on different types of musical genres might include descriptions of the instruments used, the rhythms and beats, the vocal styles, and the cultural contexts of each genre.

Analytical Framework

An analytical framework is used to analyze a particular phenomenon. It involves breaking down the phenomenon into its constituent parts and analyzing them separately. This type of framework is often used in social science research. For example, an analytical framework for a study on the impact of race on police brutality might involve analyzing the historical and cultural factors that contribute to racial bias, the organizational factors that influence police behavior, and the psychological factors that influence individual officers’ behavior.

Conceptual Framework for Policy Analysis

A conceptual framework for policy analysis is used to guide the development of policies or programs. It helps policymakers to identify the key issues and to develop strategies to address them. For example, a conceptual framework for a policy analysis on climate change might involve identifying the key stakeholders, assessing their interests and concerns, and developing policy options to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Logical Frameworks

Logical frameworks are used to plan and evaluate projects and programs. They provide a structured approach to identifying project goals, objectives, and outcomes, and help to ensure that all stakeholders are aligned and working towards the same objectives.

Conceptual Frameworks for Program Evaluation

These frameworks are used to evaluate the effectiveness of programs or interventions. They provide a structure for identifying program goals, objectives, and outcomes, and help to measure the impact of the program on its intended beneficiaries.

Conceptual Frameworks for Organizational Analysis

These frameworks are used to analyze and evaluate organizational structures, processes, and performance. They provide a structured approach to understanding the relationships between different departments, functions, and stakeholders within an organization.

Conceptual Frameworks for Strategic Planning

These frameworks are used to develop and implement strategic plans for organizations or businesses. They help to identify the key factors and stakeholders that will impact the success of the plan, and provide a structure for setting goals, developing strategies, and monitoring progress.

Components of Conceptual Framework

The components of a conceptual framework typically include:

  • Research question or problem statement : This component defines the problem or question that the conceptual framework seeks to address. It sets the stage for the development of the framework and guides the selection of the relevant concepts and constructs.
  • Concepts : These are the general ideas, principles, or categories that are used to describe and explain the phenomenon or problem under investigation. Concepts provide the building blocks of the framework and help to establish a common language for discussing the issue.
  • Constructs : Constructs are the specific variables or concepts that are used to operationalize the general concepts. They are measurable or observable and serve as indicators of the underlying concept.
  • Propositions or hypotheses : These are statements that describe the relationships between the concepts or constructs in the framework. They provide a basis for testing the validity of the framework and for generating new insights or theories.
  • Assumptions : These are the underlying beliefs or values that shape the framework. They may be explicit or implicit and may influence the selection and interpretation of the concepts and constructs.
  • Boundaries : These are the limits or scope of the framework. They define the focus of the investigation and help to clarify what is included and excluded from the analysis.
  • Context : This component refers to the broader social, cultural, and historical factors that shape the phenomenon or problem under investigation. It helps to situate the framework within a larger theoretical or empirical context and to identify the relevant variables and factors that may affect the phenomenon.
  • Relationships and connections: These are the connections and interrelationships between the different components of the conceptual framework. They describe how the concepts and constructs are linked and how they contribute to the overall understanding of the phenomenon or problem.
  • Variables : These are the factors that are being measured or observed in the study. They are often operationalized as constructs and are used to test the propositions or hypotheses.
  • Methodology : This component describes the research methods and techniques that will be used to collect and analyze data. It includes the sampling strategy, data collection methods, data analysis techniques, and ethical considerations.
  • Literature review : This component provides an overview of the existing research and theories related to the phenomenon or problem under investigation. It helps to identify the gaps in the literature and to situate the framework within the broader theoretical and empirical context.
  • Outcomes and implications: These are the expected outcomes or implications of the study. They describe the potential contributions of the study to the theoretical and empirical knowledge in the field and the practical implications for policy and practice.

Conceptual Framework Methodology

Conceptual Framework Methodology is a research method that is commonly used in academic and scientific research to develop a theoretical framework for a study. It is a systematic approach that helps researchers to organize their thoughts and ideas, identify the variables that are relevant to their study, and establish the relationships between these variables.

Here are the steps involved in the conceptual framework methodology:

Identify the Research Problem

The first step is to identify the research problem or question that the study aims to answer. This involves identifying the gaps in the existing literature and determining what specific issue the study aims to address.

Conduct a Literature Review

The second step involves conducting a thorough literature review to identify the existing theories, models, and frameworks that are relevant to the research question. This will help the researcher to identify the key concepts and variables that need to be considered in the study.

Define key Concepts and Variables

The next step is to define the key concepts and variables that are relevant to the study. This involves clearly defining the terms used in the study, and identifying the factors that will be measured or observed in the study.

Develop a Theoretical Framework

Once the key concepts and variables have been identified, the researcher can develop a theoretical framework. This involves establishing the relationships between the key concepts and variables, and creating a visual representation of these relationships.

Test the Framework

The final step is to test the theoretical framework using empirical data. This involves collecting and analyzing data to determine whether the relationships between the key concepts and variables that were identified in the framework are accurate and valid.

Examples of Conceptual Framework

Some realtime Examples of Conceptual Framework are as follows:

  • In economics , the concept of supply and demand is a well-known conceptual framework. It provides a structure for understanding how prices are set in a market, based on the interplay of the quantity of goods supplied by producers and the quantity of goods demanded by consumers.
  • In psychology , the cognitive-behavioral framework is a widely used conceptual framework for understanding mental health and illness. It emphasizes the role of thoughts and behaviors in shaping emotions and the importance of cognitive restructuring and behavior change in treatment.
  • In sociology , the social determinants of health framework provides a way of understanding how social and economic factors such as income, education, and race influence health outcomes. This framework is widely used in public health research and policy.
  • In environmental science , the ecosystem services framework is a way of understanding the benefits that humans derive from natural ecosystems, such as clean air and water, pollination, and carbon storage. This framework is used to guide conservation and land-use decisions.
  • In education, the constructivist framework is a way of understanding how learners construct knowledge through active engagement with their environment. This framework is used to guide instructional design and teaching strategies.

Applications of Conceptual Framework

Some of the applications of Conceptual Frameworks are as follows:

  • Research : Conceptual frameworks are used in research to guide the design, implementation, and interpretation of studies. Researchers use conceptual frameworks to develop hypotheses, identify research questions, and select appropriate methods for collecting and analyzing data.
  • Policy: Conceptual frameworks are used in policy-making to guide the development of policies and programs. Policymakers use conceptual frameworks to identify key factors that influence a particular problem or issue, and to develop strategies for addressing them.
  • Education : Conceptual frameworks are used in education to guide the design and implementation of instructional strategies and curriculum. Educators use conceptual frameworks to identify learning objectives, select appropriate teaching methods, and assess student learning.
  • Management : Conceptual frameworks are used in management to guide decision-making and strategy development. Managers use conceptual frameworks to understand the internal and external factors that influence their organizations, and to develop strategies for achieving their goals.
  • Evaluation : Conceptual frameworks are used in evaluation to guide the development of evaluation plans and to interpret evaluation results. Evaluators use conceptual frameworks to identify key outcomes, indicators, and measures, and to develop a logic model for their evaluation.

Purpose of Conceptual Framework

The purpose of a conceptual framework is to provide a theoretical foundation for understanding and analyzing complex phenomena. Conceptual frameworks help to:

  • Guide research : Conceptual frameworks provide a framework for researchers to develop hypotheses, identify research questions, and select appropriate methods for collecting and analyzing data. By providing a theoretical foundation for research, conceptual frameworks help to ensure that research is rigorous, systematic, and valid.
  • Provide clarity: Conceptual frameworks help to provide clarity and structure to complex phenomena by identifying key concepts, relationships, and processes. By providing a clear and systematic understanding of a phenomenon, conceptual frameworks help to ensure that researchers, policymakers, and practitioners are all on the same page when it comes to understanding the issue at hand.
  • Inform decision-making : Conceptual frameworks can be used to inform decision-making and strategy development by identifying key factors that influence a particular problem or issue. By understanding the complex interplay of factors that contribute to a particular issue, decision-makers can develop more effective strategies for addressing the problem.
  • Facilitate communication : Conceptual frameworks provide a common language and conceptual framework for researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to communicate and collaborate on complex issues. By providing a shared understanding of a phenomenon, conceptual frameworks help to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal.

When to use Conceptual Framework

There are several situations when it is appropriate to use a conceptual framework:

  • To guide the research : A conceptual framework can be used to guide the research process by providing a clear roadmap for the research project. It can help researchers identify key variables and relationships, and develop hypotheses or research questions.
  • To clarify concepts : A conceptual framework can be used to clarify and define key concepts and terms used in a research project. It can help ensure that all researchers are using the same language and have a shared understanding of the concepts being studied.
  • To provide a theoretical basis: A conceptual framework can provide a theoretical basis for a research project by linking it to existing theories or conceptual models. This can help researchers build on previous research and contribute to the development of a field.
  • To identify gaps in knowledge : A conceptual framework can help identify gaps in existing knowledge by highlighting areas that require further research or investigation.
  • To communicate findings : A conceptual framework can be used to communicate research findings by providing a clear and concise summary of the key variables, relationships, and assumptions that underpin the research project.

Characteristics of Conceptual Framework

key characteristics of a conceptual framework are:

  • Clear definition of key concepts : A conceptual framework should clearly define the key concepts and terms being used in a research project. This ensures that all researchers have a shared understanding of the concepts being studied.
  • Identification of key variables: A conceptual framework should identify the key variables that are being studied and how they are related to each other. This helps to organize the research project and provides a clear focus for the study.
  • Logical structure: A conceptual framework should have a logical structure that connects the key concepts and variables being studied. This helps to ensure that the research project is coherent and consistent.
  • Based on existing theory : A conceptual framework should be based on existing theory or conceptual models. This helps to ensure that the research project is grounded in existing knowledge and builds on previous research.
  • Testable hypotheses or research questions: A conceptual framework should include testable hypotheses or research questions that can be answered through empirical research. This helps to ensure that the research project is rigorous and scientifically valid.
  • Flexibility : A conceptual framework should be flexible enough to allow for modifications as new information is gathered during the research process. This helps to ensure that the research project is responsive to new findings and is able to adapt to changing circumstances.

Advantages of Conceptual Framework

Advantages of the Conceptual Framework are as follows:

  • Clarity : A conceptual framework provides clarity to researchers by outlining the key concepts and variables that are relevant to the research project. This clarity helps researchers to focus on the most important aspects of the research problem and develop a clear plan for investigating it.
  • Direction : A conceptual framework provides direction to researchers by helping them to develop hypotheses or research questions that are grounded in existing theory or conceptual models. This direction ensures that the research project is relevant and contributes to the development of the field.
  • Efficiency : A conceptual framework can increase efficiency in the research process by providing a structure for organizing ideas and data. This structure can help researchers to avoid redundancies and inconsistencies in their work, saving time and effort.
  • Rigor : A conceptual framework can help to ensure the rigor of a research project by providing a theoretical basis for the investigation. This rigor is essential for ensuring that the research project is scientifically valid and produces meaningful results.
  • Communication : A conceptual framework can facilitate communication between researchers by providing a shared language and understanding of the key concepts and variables being studied. This communication is essential for collaboration and the advancement of knowledge in the field.
  • Generalization : A conceptual framework can help to generalize research findings beyond the specific study by providing a theoretical basis for the investigation. This generalization is essential for the development of knowledge in the field and for informing future research.

Limitations of Conceptual Framework

Limitations of Conceptual Framework are as follows:

  • Limited applicability: Conceptual frameworks are often based on existing theory or conceptual models, which may not be applicable to all research problems or contexts. This can limit the usefulness of a conceptual framework in certain situations.
  • Lack of empirical support : While a conceptual framework can provide a theoretical basis for a research project, it may not be supported by empirical evidence. This can limit the usefulness of a conceptual framework in guiding empirical research.
  • Narrow focus: A conceptual framework can provide a clear focus for a research project, but it may also limit the scope of the investigation. This can make it difficult to address broader research questions or to consider alternative perspectives.
  • Over-simplification: A conceptual framework can help to organize and structure research ideas, but it may also over-simplify complex phenomena. This can limit the depth of the investigation and the richness of the data collected.
  • Inflexibility : A conceptual framework can provide a structure for organizing research ideas, but it may also be inflexible in the face of new data or unexpected findings. This can limit the ability of researchers to adapt their research project to new information or changing circumstances.
  • Difficulty in development : Developing a conceptual framework can be a challenging and time-consuming process. It requires a thorough understanding of existing theory or conceptual models, and may require collaboration with other researchers.

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How to Make a Conceptual Framework

How to Make a Conceptual Framework

6-minute read

  • 2nd January 2022

What is a conceptual framework? And why is it important?

A conceptual framework illustrates the relationship between the variables of a research question. It’s an outline of what you’d expect to find in a research project.

Conceptual frameworks should be constructed before data collection and are vital because they map out the actions needed in the study. This should be the first step of an undergraduate or graduate research project.

What Is In a Conceptual Framework?

In a conceptual framework, you’ll find a visual representation of the key concepts and relationships that are central to a research study or project . This can be in form of a diagram, flow chart, or any other visual representation. Overall, a conceptual framework serves as a guide for understanding the problem being studied and the methods being used to investigate it.

Steps to Developing the Perfect Conceptual Framework

  • Pick a question
  • Conduct a literature review
  • Identify your variables
  • Create your conceptual framework

1. Pick a Question

You should already have some idea of the broad area of your research project. Try to narrow down your research field to a manageable topic in terms of time and resources. From there, you need to formulate your research question. A research question answers the researcher’s query: “What do I want to know about my topic?” Research questions should be focused, concise, arguable and, ideally, should address a topic of importance within your field of research.

An example of a simple research question is: “What is the relationship between sunny days and ice cream sales?”

2. Conduct a Literature Review

A literature review is an analysis of the scholarly publications on a chosen topic. To undertake a literature review, search for articles with the same theme as your research question. Choose updated and relevant articles to analyze and use peer-reviewed and well-respected journals whenever possible.

For the above example, the literature review would investigate publications that discuss how ice cream sales are affected by the weather. The literature review should reveal the variables involved and any current hypotheses about this relationship.

3. Identify Your Variables

There are two key variables in every experiment: independent and dependent variables.

Independent Variables

The independent variable (otherwise known as the predictor or explanatory variable) is the expected cause of the experiment: what the scientist changes or changes on its own. In our example, the independent variable would be “the number of sunny days.”

Dependent Variables

The dependent variable (otherwise known as the response or outcome variable) is the expected effect of the experiment: what is being studied or measured. In our example, the dependent variable would be “the quantity of ice cream sold.”

Next, there are control variables.

Control Variables

A control variable is a variable that may impact the dependent variable but whose effects are not going to be measured in the research project. In our example, a control variable could be “the socioeconomic status of participants.” Control variables should be kept constant to isolate the effects of the other variables in the experiment.

Finally, there are intervening and extraneous variables.

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Intervening Variables

Intervening variables link the independent and dependent variables and clarify their connection. In our example, an intervening variable could be “temperature.”

Extraneous Variables

Extraneous variables are any variables that are not being investigated but could impact the outcomes of the study. Some instances of extraneous variables for our example would be “the average price of ice cream” or “the number of varieties of ice cream available.” If you control an extraneous variable, it becomes a control variable.

4. Create Your Conceptual Framework

Having picked your research question, undertaken a literature review, and identified the relevant variables, it’s now time to construct your conceptual framework. Conceptual frameworks are clear and often visual representations of the relationships between variables.

We’ll start with the basics: the independent and dependent variables.

Our hypothesis is that the quantity of ice cream sold directly depends on the number of sunny days; hence, there is a cause-and-effect relationship between the independent variable (the number of sunny days) and the dependent and independent variable (the quantity of ice cream sold).

Next, introduce a control variable. Remember, this is anything that might directly affect the dependent variable but is not being measured in the experiment:

Finally, introduce the intervening and extraneous variables. 

The intervening variable (temperature) clarifies the relationship between the independent variable (the number of sunny days) and the dependent variable (the quantity of ice cream sold). Extraneous variables, such as the average price of ice cream, are variables that are not controlled and can potentially impact the dependent variable.

Are Conceptual Frameworks and Research Paradigms the Same?

In simple terms, the research paradigm is what informs your conceptual framework. In defining our research paradigm we ask the big questions—Is there an objective truth and how can we understand it? If we decide the answer is yes, we may be working with a positivist research paradigm and will choose to build a conceptual framework that displays the relationship between fixed variables. If not, we may be working with a constructivist research paradigm, and thus our conceptual framework will be more of a loose amalgamation of ideas, theories, and themes (a qualitative study). If this is confusing–don’t worry! We have an excellent blog post explaining research paradigms in more detail.

Where is the Conceptual Framework Located in a Thesis?

This will depend on your discipline, research type, and school’s guidelines, but most papers will include a section presenting the conceptual framework in the introduction, literature review, or opening chapter. It’s best to present your conceptual framework after presenting your research question, but before outlining your methodology.

Can a Conceptual Framework be Used in a Qualitative Study?

Yes. Despite being less clear-cut than a quantitative study, all studies should present some form of a conceptual framework. Let’s say you were doing a study on care home practices and happiness, and you came across a “happiness model” constructed by a relevant theorist in your literature review. Your conceptual framework could be an outline or a visual depiction of how you will use this model to collect and interpret qualitative data for your own study (such as interview responses). Check out this useful resource showing other examples of conceptual frameworks for qualitative studies .

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  • How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates

How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates

Published on October 12, 2022 by Shona McCombes and Tegan George. Revised on November 21, 2023.

Structure of a research proposal

A research proposal describes what you will investigate, why it’s important, and how you will conduct your research.

The format of a research proposal varies between fields, but most proposals will contain at least these elements:

Introduction

Literature review.

  • Research design

Reference list

While the sections may vary, the overall objective is always the same. A research proposal serves as a blueprint and guide for your research plan, helping you get organized and feel confident in the path forward you choose to take.

Table of contents

Research proposal purpose, research proposal examples, research design and methods, contribution to knowledge, research schedule, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about research proposals.

Academics often have to write research proposals to get funding for their projects. As a student, you might have to write a research proposal as part of a grad school application , or prior to starting your thesis or dissertation .

In addition to helping you figure out what your research can look like, a proposal can also serve to demonstrate why your project is worth pursuing to a funder, educational institution, or supervisor.

Research proposal length

The length of a research proposal can vary quite a bit. A bachelor’s or master’s thesis proposal can be just a few pages, while proposals for PhD dissertations or research funding are usually much longer and more detailed. Your supervisor can help you determine the best length for your work.

One trick to get started is to think of your proposal’s structure as a shorter version of your thesis or dissertation , only without the results , conclusion and discussion sections.

Download our research proposal template

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Writing a research proposal can be quite challenging, but a good starting point could be to look at some examples. We’ve included a few for you below.

  • Example research proposal #1: “A Conceptual Framework for Scheduling Constraint Management”
  • Example research proposal #2: “Medical Students as Mediators of Change in Tobacco Use”

Like your dissertation or thesis, the proposal will usually have a title page that includes:

  • The proposed title of your project
  • Your supervisor’s name
  • Your institution and department

The first part of your proposal is the initial pitch for your project. Make sure it succinctly explains what you want to do and why.

Your introduction should:

  • Introduce your topic
  • Give necessary background and context
  • Outline your  problem statement  and research questions

To guide your introduction , include information about:

  • Who could have an interest in the topic (e.g., scientists, policymakers)
  • How much is already known about the topic
  • What is missing from this current knowledge
  • What new insights your research will contribute
  • Why you believe this research is worth doing

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conceptual framework for research proposal

As you get started, it’s important to demonstrate that you’re familiar with the most important research on your topic. A strong literature review  shows your reader that your project has a solid foundation in existing knowledge or theory. It also shows that you’re not simply repeating what other people have already done or said, but rather using existing research as a jumping-off point for your own.

In this section, share exactly how your project will contribute to ongoing conversations in the field by:

  • Comparing and contrasting the main theories, methods, and debates
  • Examining the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches
  • Explaining how will you build on, challenge, or synthesize prior scholarship

Following the literature review, restate your main  objectives . This brings the focus back to your own project. Next, your research design or methodology section will describe your overall approach, and the practical steps you will take to answer your research questions.

To finish your proposal on a strong note, explore the potential implications of your research for your field. Emphasize again what you aim to contribute and why it matters.

For example, your results might have implications for:

  • Improving best practices
  • Informing policymaking decisions
  • Strengthening a theory or model
  • Challenging popular or scientific beliefs
  • Creating a basis for future research

Last but not least, your research proposal must include correct citations for every source you have used, compiled in a reference list . To create citations quickly and easily, you can use our free APA citation generator .

Some institutions or funders require a detailed timeline of the project, asking you to forecast what you will do at each stage and how long it may take. While not always required, be sure to check the requirements of your project.

Here’s an example schedule to help you get started. You can also download a template at the button below.

Download our research schedule template

If you are applying for research funding, chances are you will have to include a detailed budget. This shows your estimates of how much each part of your project will cost.

Make sure to check what type of costs the funding body will agree to cover. For each item, include:

  • Cost : exactly how much money do you need?
  • Justification : why is this cost necessary to complete the research?
  • Source : how did you calculate the amount?

To determine your budget, think about:

  • Travel costs : do you need to go somewhere to collect your data? How will you get there, and how much time will you need? What will you do there (e.g., interviews, archival research)?
  • Materials : do you need access to any tools or technologies?
  • Help : do you need to hire any research assistants for the project? What will they do, and how much will you pay them?

If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

Methodology

  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility

 Statistics

  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

Once you’ve decided on your research objectives , you need to explain them in your paper, at the end of your problem statement .

Keep your research objectives clear and concise, and use appropriate verbs to accurately convey the work that you will carry out for each one.

I will compare …

A research aim is a broad statement indicating the general purpose of your research project. It should appear in your introduction at the end of your problem statement , before your research objectives.

Research objectives are more specific than your research aim. They indicate the specific ways you’ll address the overarching aim.

A PhD, which is short for philosophiae doctor (doctor of philosophy in Latin), is the highest university degree that can be obtained. In a PhD, students spend 3–5 years writing a dissertation , which aims to make a significant, original contribution to current knowledge.

A PhD is intended to prepare students for a career as a researcher, whether that be in academia, the public sector, or the private sector.

A master’s is a 1- or 2-year graduate degree that can prepare you for a variety of careers.

All master’s involve graduate-level coursework. Some are research-intensive and intend to prepare students for further study in a PhD; these usually require their students to write a master’s thesis . Others focus on professional training for a specific career.

Critical thinking refers to the ability to evaluate information and to be aware of biases or assumptions, including your own.

Like information literacy , it involves evaluating arguments, identifying and solving problems in an objective and systematic way, and clearly communicating your ideas.

The best way to remember the difference between a research plan and a research proposal is that they have fundamentally different audiences. A research plan helps you, the researcher, organize your thoughts. On the other hand, a dissertation proposal or research proposal aims to convince others (e.g., a supervisor, a funding body, or a dissertation committee) that your research topic is relevant and worthy of being conducted.

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  • Library Guide: Organizing Research & Citations This link opens in a new window
  • Library Guide: RefWorks This link opens in a new window
  • Library Guide: Copyright Information This link opens in a new window

What is it?

  • The researcher’s understanding/hypothesis/exploration of either an existing framework/model or how existing concepts come together to inform a particular problem. Shows the reader how different elements come together to facilitate research and a clear understanding of results.
  • Informs the research questions/methodology (problem statement drives framework drives RQs drives methodology)
  • A tool (linked concepts) to help facilitate the understanding of the relationship among concepts or variables in relation to the real-world. Each concept is linked to frame the project in question.
  • Falls inside of a larger theoretical framework (theoretical framework = explains the why and how of a particular phenomenon within a particular body of literature).
  • Can be a graphic or a narrative – but should always be explained and cited
  • Can be made up of theories and concepts

What does it do?

  • Explains or predicts the way key concepts/variables will come together to inform the problem/phenomenon
  • Gives the study direction/parameters
  • Helps the researcher organize ideas and clarify concepts
  • Introduces your research and how it will advance your field of practice. A conceptual framework should include concepts applicable to the field of study. These can be in the field or neighboring fields – as long as important details are captured and the framework is relevant to the problem. (alignment)

What should be in it?

  • Variables, concepts, theories, and/or parts of other existing frameworks

How to make a conceptual framework

  • With a topic in mind, go to the body of literature and start identifying the key concepts used by other studies. Figure out what’s been done by other researchers, and what needs to be done (either find a specific call to action outlined in the literature or make sure your proposed problem has yet to be studied in your specific setting). Use what you find needs to be done to either support a pre-identified problem or craft a general problem for study. Only rely on scholarly sources for this part of your research.
  • Begin to pull out variables, concepts, theories, and existing frameworks explained in the relevant literature.
  • If you’re building a framework, start thinking about how some of those variables, concepts, theories, and facets of existing frameworks come together to shape your problem. The problem could be a situational condition that requires a scholar-practitioner approach, the result of a practical need, or an opportunity to further an applicational study, project, or research. Remember, if the answer to your specific problem exists, you don’t need to conduct the study.
  • The actionable research you’d like to conduct will help shape what you include in your framework. Sketch the flow of your Applied Doctoral Project from start to finish and decide which variables are truly the best fit for your research.
  • Create a graphic representation of your framework (this part is optional, but often helps readers understand the flow of your research) Even if you do a graphic, first write out how the variables could influence your Applied Doctoral Project and introduce your methodology. Remember to use APA formatting in separating the sections of your framework to create a clear understanding of the framework for your reader.
  • As you move through your study, you may need to revise your framework.
  • Note for qualitative/quantitative research: If doing qualitative, make sure your framework doesn’t include arrow lines, which could imply causal or correlational linkages.
  • Conceptural and Theoretical Framework for DMFT Students This document is specific to DMFT students working on a conceptual or theoretical framework for their applied project.
  • Conceptual Framework Guide Use this guide to determine the guiding framework for your applied dissertation research.

Let’s say I’ve just taken a job as manager of a failing restaurant. Throughout first week, I notice the few customers they have are leaving unsatisfied. I need to figure out why and turn the establishment into a thriving restaurant. I get permission from the owner to do a study to figure out exactly what we need to do to raise levels of customer satisfaction. Since I have a specific problem and want to make sure my research produces valid results, I go to the literature to find out what others are finding about customer satisfaction in the food service industry. This particular restaurant is vegan focused – and my search of the literature doesn’t say anything specific about how to increase customer service in a vegan atmosphere, so I know this research needs to be done.

I find out there are different types of satisfaction across other genres of the food service industry, and the one I’m interested in is cumulative customer satisfaction. I then decide based on what I’m seeing in the literature that my definition of customer satisfaction is the way perception, evaluation, and psychological reaction to perception and evaluation of both tangible and intangible elements of the dining experience come together to inform customer expectations. Essentially, customer expectations inform customer satisfaction.

I then find across the literature many variables could be significant in determining customer satisfaction. Because the following keep appearing, they are the ones I choose to include in my framework: price, service, branding (branched out to include physical environment and promotion), and taste. I also learn by reading the literature, satisfaction can vary between genders – so I want to make sure to also collect demographic information in my survey. Gender, age, profession, and number of children are a few demographic variables I understand would be helpful to include based on my extensive literature review.

Note: this is a quantitative study. I’m including all variables in this study, and the variables I am testing are my independent variables. Here I’m working to see how each of the independent variables influences (or not) my dependent variable, customer satisfaction. If you are interested in qualitative study, read on for an example of how to make the same framework qualitative in nature.

Also note: when you create your framework, you’ll need to cite each facet of your framework. Tell the reader where you got everything you’re including. Not only is it in compliance with APA formatting, but also it raises your credibility as a researcher. Once you’ve built the narrative around your framework, you may also want to create a visual for your reader.

See below for one example of how to illustrate your framework:

conceptual framework for research proposal

If you’re interested in a qualitative study, be sure to omit arrows and other notations inferring statistical analysis. The only time it would be inappropriate to include a framework in qualitative study is in a grounded theory study, which is not something you’ll do in an applied doctoral study.

A visual example of a qualitative framework is below:

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Some additional helpful resources in constructing a conceptual framework for study:

  • Problem Statement, Conceptual Framework, and Research Question. McGaghie, W. C.; Bordage, G.; and J. A. Shea (2001). Problem Statement, Conceptual Framework, and Research Question. Retrieved on January 5, 2015 from http://goo.gl/qLIUFg
  • Building a Conceptual Framework: Philosophy, Definitions, and Procedure
  • https://www.scribbr.com/dissertation/conceptual-framework/
  • https://www.projectguru.in/developing-conceptual-framework-in-a-research-paper/

Conceptual Framework Research

A conceptual framework is a synthetization of interrelated components and variables which help in solving a real-world problem. It is the final lens used for viewing the deductive resolution of an identified issue (Imenda, 2014). The development of a conceptual framework begins with a deductive assumption that a problem exists, and the application of processes, procedures, functional approach, models, or theory may be used for problem resolution (Zackoff et al., 2019). The application of theory in traditional theoretical research is to understand, explain, and predict phenomena (Swanson, 2013). In applied research the application of theory in problem solving focuses on how theory in conjunction with practice (applied action) and procedures (functional approach) frames vision, thinking, and action towards problem resolution. The inclusion of theory in a conceptual framework is not focused on validation or devaluation of applied theories. A concise way of viewing the conceptual framework is a list of understood fact-based conditions that presents the researcher’s prescribed thinking for solving the identified problem. These conditions provide a methodological rationale of interrelated ideas and approaches for beginning, executing, and defining the outcome of problem resolution efforts (Leshem & Trafford, 2007).

The term conceptual framework and theoretical framework are often and erroneously used interchangeably (Grant & Osanloo, 2014). Just as with traditional research, a theory does not or cannot be expected to explain all phenomenal conditions, a conceptual framework is not a random identification of disparate ideas meant to incase a problem. Instead it is a means of identifying and constructing for the researcher and reader alike an epistemological mindset and a functional worldview approach to the identified problem.

Grant, C., & Osanloo, A. (2014). Understanding, Selecting, and Integrating a Theoretical Framework in Dissertation Research: Creating the Blueprint for Your “House. ” Administrative Issues Journal: Connecting Education, Practice, and Research, 4(2), 12–26

Imenda, S. (2014). Is There a Conceptual Difference between Theoretical and Conceptual Frameworks? Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi/Journal of Social Sciences, 38(2), 185.

Leshem, S., & Trafford, V. (2007). Overlooking the conceptual framework. Innovations in Education & Teaching International, 44(1), 93–105. https://doi-org.proxy1.ncu.edu/10.1080/14703290601081407

Swanson, R. (2013). Theory building in applied disciplines . San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Zackoff, M. W., Real, F. J., Klein, M. D., Abramson, E. L., Li, S.-T. T., & Gusic, M. E. (2019). Enhancing Educational Scholarship Through Conceptual Frameworks: A Challenge and Roadmap for Medical Educators . Academic Pediatrics, 19(2), 135–141. https://doi-org.proxy1.ncu.edu/10.1016/j.acap.2018.08.003

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How To Make Conceptual Framework (With Examples and Templates)

How To Make Conceptual Framework (With Examples and Templates)

We all know that a research paper has plenty of concepts involved. However, a great deal of concepts makes your study confusing.

A conceptual framework ensures that the concepts of your study are organized and presented comprehensively. Let this article guide you on how to make the conceptual framework of your study.

Related: How to Write a Concept Paper for Academic Research

Table of Contents

At a glance: free conceptual framework templates.

Too busy to create a conceptual framework from scratch? No problem. We’ve created templates for each conceptual framework so you can start on the right foot. All you need to do is enter the details of the variables. Feel free to modify the design according to your needs. Please read the main article below to learn more about the conceptual framework.

Conceptual Framework Template #1: Independent-Dependent Variable Model

Conceptual framework template #2: input-process-output (ipo) model, conceptual framework template #3: concept map, what is a conceptual framework.

A conceptual framework shows the relationship between the variables of your study.  It includes a visual diagram or a model that summarizes the concepts of your study and a narrative explanation of the model presented.

Why Should Research Be Given a Conceptual Framework?

Imagine your study as a long journey with the research result as the destination. You don’t want to get lost in your journey because of the complicated concepts. This is why you need to have a guide. The conceptual framework keeps you on track by presenting and simplifying the relationship between the variables. This is usually done through the use of illustrations that are supported by a written interpretation.

Also, people who will read your research must have a clear guide to the variables in your study and where the research is heading. By looking at the conceptual framework, the readers can get the gist of the research concepts without reading the entire study. 

Related: How to Write Significance of the Study (with Examples)

What Is the Difference Between Conceptual Framework and Theoretical Framework?

Both of them show concepts and ideas of your study. The theoretical framework presents the theories, rules, and principles that serve as the basis of the research. Thus, the theoretical framework presents broad concepts related to your study. On the other hand, the conceptual framework shows a specific approach derived from the theoretical framework. It provides particular variables and shows how these variables are related.

Let’s say your research is about the Effects of Social Media on the Political Literacy of College Students. You may include some theories related to political literacy, such as this paper, in your theoretical framework. Based on this paper, political participation and awareness determine political literacy.

For the conceptual framework, you may state that the specific form of political participation and awareness you will use for the study is the engagement of college students on political issues on social media. Then, through a diagram and narrative explanation, you can show that using social media affects the political literacy of college students.

What Are the Different Types of Conceptual Frameworks?

The conceptual framework has different types based on how the research concepts are organized 1 .

1. Taxonomy

In this type of conceptual framework, the phenomena of your study are grouped into categories without presenting the relationship among them. The point of this conceptual framework is to distinguish the categories from one another.

2. Visual Presentation

In this conceptual framework, the relationship between the phenomena and variables of your study is presented. Using this conceptual framework implies that your research provides empirical evidence to prove the relationship between variables. This is the type of conceptual framework that is usually used in research studies.

3. Mathematical Description

In this conceptual framework, the relationship between phenomena and variables of your study is described using mathematical formulas. Also, the extent of the relationship between these variables is presented with specific quantities.

How To Make Conceptual Framework: 4 Steps

1. identify the important variables of your study.

There are two essential variables that you must identify in your study: the independent and the dependent variables.

An independent variable is a variable that you can manipulate. It can affect the dependent variable. Meanwhile, the dependent variable is the resulting variable that you are measuring.

You may refer to your research question to determine your research’s independent and dependent variables.

Suppose your research question is: “Is There a Significant Relationship Between the Quantity of Organic Fertilizer Used and the Plant’s Growth Rate?” The independent variable of this study is the quantity of organic fertilizer used, while the dependent variable is the plant’s growth rate.

2. Think About How the Variables Are Related

Usually, the variables of a study have a direct relationship. If a change in one of your variables leads to a corresponding change in another, they might have this kind of relationship.

However, note that having a direct relationship between variables does not mean they already have a cause-and-effect relationship 2 . It takes statistical analysis to prove causation between variables.

Using our example earlier, the quantity of organic fertilizer may directly relate to the plant’s growth rate. However, we are not sure that the quantity of organic fertilizer is the sole reason for the plant’s growth rate changes.

3. Analyze and Determine Other Influencing Variables

Consider analyzing if other variables can affect the relationship between your independent and dependent variables 3 .

4. Create a Visual Diagram or a Model

Now that you’ve identified the variables and their relationship, you may create a visual diagram summarizing them.

Usually, shapes such as rectangles, circles, and arrows are used for the model. You may create a visual diagram or model for your conceptual framework in different ways. The three most common models are the independent-dependent variable model, the input-process-output (IPO) model, and concept maps.

a. Using the Independent-Dependent Variable Model

You may create this model by writing the independent and dependent variables inside rectangles. Then, insert a line segment between them, connecting the rectangles. This line segment indicates the direct relationship between these variables. 

Below is a visual diagram based on our example about the relationship between organic fertilizer and a plant’s growth rate. 

conceptual framework 1

b. Using the Input-Process-Output (IPO) Model

If you want to emphasize your research process, the input-process-output model is the appropriate visual diagram for your conceptual framework.

To create your visual diagram using the IPO model, follow these steps:

  • Determine the inputs of your study . Inputs are the variables you will use to arrive at your research result. Usually, your independent variables are also the inputs of your research. Let’s say your research is about the Level of Satisfaction of College Students Using Google Classroom as an Online Learning Platform. You may include in your inputs the profile of your respondents and the curriculum used in the online learning platform.
  • Outline your research process. Using our example above, the research process should be like this: Data collection of student profiles → Administering questionnaires → Tabulation of students’ responses → Statistical data analysis.
  • State the research output . Indicate what you are expecting after you conduct the research. In our example above, the research output is the assessed level of satisfaction of college students with the use of Google Classroom as an online learning platform.
  • Create the model using the research’s determined input, process, and output.

Presented below is the IPO model for our example above.

conceptual framework 2

c. Using Concept Maps

If you think the two models presented previously are insufficient to summarize your study’s concepts, you may use a concept map for your visual diagram.

A concept map is a helpful visual diagram if multiple variables affect one another. Let’s say your research is about Coping with the Remote Learning System: Anxiety Levels of College Students. Presented below is the concept map for the research’s conceptual framework:

conceptual framework 3

5. Explain Your Conceptual Framework in Narrative Form

Provide a brief explanation of your conceptual framework. State the essential variables, their relationship, and the research outcome.

Using the same example about the relationship between organic fertilizer and the growth rate of the plant, we can come up with the following explanation to accompany the conceptual framework:

Figure 1 shows the Conceptual Framework of the study. The quantity of the organic fertilizer used is the independent variable, while the plant’s growth is the research’s dependent variable. These two variables are directly related based on the research’s empirical evidence.

Conceptual Framework in Quantitative Research

You can create your conceptual framework by following the steps discussed in the previous section. Note, however, that quantitative research has statistical analysis. Thus, you may use arrows to indicate a cause-and-effect relationship in your model. An arrow implies that your independent variable caused the changes in your dependent variable.

Usually, for quantitative research, the Input-Process-Output model is used as a visual diagram. Here is an example of a conceptual framework in quantitative research:

Research Topic : Level of Effectiveness of Corn (Zea mays) Silk Ethanol Extract as an Antioxidant

conceptual framework 4

Conceptual Framework in Qualitative Research

Again, you can follow the same step-by-step guide discussed previously to create a conceptual framework for qualitative research. However, note that you should avoid using one-way arrows as they may indicate causation . Qualitative research cannot prove causation since it uses only descriptive and narrative analysis to relate variables.

Here is an example of a conceptual framework in qualitative research:

Research Topic : Lived Experiences of Medical Health Workers During Community Quarantine

conceptual framework 5

Conceptual Framework Examples

Presented below are some examples of conceptual frameworks.

Research Topic : Hypoglycemic Ability of Gabi (Colocasia esculenta) Leaf Extract in the Blood Glucose Level of Swiss Mice (Mus musculus)

conceptual framework 6

Figure 1 presents the Conceptual Framework of the study. The quantity of gabi leaf extract is the independent variable, while the Swiss mice’s blood glucose level is the study’s dependent variable. This study establishes a direct relationship between these variables through empirical evidence and statistical analysis . 

Research Topic : Level of Effectiveness of Using Social Media in the Political Literacy of College Students

conceptual framework 7

Figure 1 shows the Conceptual Framework of the study. The input is the profile of the college students according to sex, year level, and the social media platform being used. The research process includes administering the questionnaires, tabulating students’ responses, and statistical data analysis and interpretation. The output is the effectiveness of using social media in the political literacy of college students.

Research Topic: Factors Affecting the Satisfaction Level of Community Inhabitants

conceptual framework 8

Figure 1 presents a visual illustration of the factors that affect the satisfaction level of community inhabitants. As presented, environmental, societal, and economic factors influence the satisfaction level of community inhabitants. Each factor has its indicators which are considered in this study.

Tips and Warnings

  • Please keep it simple. Avoid using fancy illustrations or designs when creating your conceptual framework. 
  • Allot a lot of space for feedback. This is to show that your research variables or methodology might be revised based on the input from the research panel. Below is an example of a conceptual framework with a spot allotted for feedback.

conceptual framework 9

Frequently Asked Questions

1. how can i create a conceptual framework in microsoft word.

First, click the Insert tab and select Shapes . You’ll see a wide range of shapes to choose from. Usually, rectangles, circles, and arrows are the shapes used for the conceptual framework. 

conceptual framework 10

Next, draw your selected shape in the document.

conceptual framework 11

Insert the name of the variable inside the shape. You can do this by pointing your cursor to the shape, right-clicking your mouse, selecting Add Text , and typing in the text.

conceptual framework 12

Repeat the same process for the remaining variables of your study. If you need arrows to connect the different variables, you can insert one by going to the Insert tab, then Shape, and finally, Lines or Block Arrows, depending on your preferred arrow style.

2. How to explain my conceptual framework in defense?

If you have used the Independent-Dependent Variable Model in creating your conceptual framework, start by telling your research’s variables. Afterward, explain the relationship between these variables. Example: “Using statistical/descriptive analysis of the data we have collected, we are going to show how the <state your independent variable> exhibits a significant relationship to <state your dependent variable>.”

On the other hand, if you have used an Input-Process-Output Model, start by explaining the inputs of your research. Then, tell them about your research process. You may refer to the Research Methodology in Chapter 3 to accurately present your research process. Lastly, explain what your research outcome is.

Meanwhile, if you have used a concept map, ensure you understand the idea behind the illustration. Discuss how the concepts are related and highlight the research outcome.

3. In what stage of research is the conceptual framework written?

The research study’s conceptual framework is in Chapter 2, following the Review of Related Literature.

4. What is the difference between a Conceptual Framework and Literature Review?

The Conceptual Framework is a summary of the concepts of your study where the relationship of the variables is presented. On the other hand, Literature Review is a collection of published studies and literature related to your study. 

Suppose your research concerns the Hypoglycemic Ability of Gabi (Colocasia esculenta) Leaf Extract on Swiss Mice (Mus musculus). In your conceptual framework, you will create a visual diagram and a narrative explanation presenting the quantity of gabi leaf extract and the mice’s blood glucose level as your research variables. On the other hand, for the literature review, you may include this study and explain how this is related to your research topic.

5. When do I use a two-way arrow for my conceptual framework?

You will use a two-way arrow in your conceptual framework if the variables of your study are interdependent. If variable A affects variable B and variable B also affects variable A, you may use a two-way arrow to show that A and B affect each other.

Suppose your research concerns the Relationship Between Students’ Satisfaction Levels and Online Learning Platforms. Since students’ satisfaction level determines the online learning platform the school uses and vice versa, these variables have a direct relationship. Thus, you may use two-way arrows to indicate that the variables directly affect each other.

  • Conceptual Framework – Meaning, Importance and How to Write it. (2020). Retrieved 27 April 2021, from https://afribary.com/knowledge/conceptual-framework/
  • Correlation vs Causation. Retrieved 27 April 2021, from https://www.jmp.com/en_ph/statistics-knowledge-portal/what-is-correlation/correlation-vs-causation.html
  • Swaen, B., & George, T. (2022, August 22). What is a conceptual framework? Tips & Examples. Retrieved December 5, 2022, from https://www.scribbr.com/methodology/conceptual-framework/

Written by Jewel Kyle Fabula

in Career and Education , Juander How

Last Updated May 6, 2023 10:37 AM

conceptual framework for research proposal

Jewel Kyle Fabula

Jewel Kyle Fabula is a Bachelor of Science in Economics student at the University of the Philippines Diliman. His passion for learning mathematics developed as he competed in some mathematics competitions during his Junior High School years. He loves cats, playing video games, and listening to music.

Browse all articles written by Jewel Kyle Fabula

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Grad Coach

Theoretical vs Conceptual Framework

What they are & how they’re different (with examples)

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Reviewed By: Eunice Rautenbach (DTech) | March 2023

If you’re new to academic research, sooner or later you’re bound to run into the terms theoretical framework and conceptual framework . These are closely related but distinctly different things (despite some people using them interchangeably) and it’s important to understand what each means. In this post, we’ll unpack both theoretical and conceptual frameworks in plain language along with practical examples , so that you can approach your research with confidence.

Overview: Theoretical vs Conceptual

What is a theoretical framework, example of a theoretical framework, what is a conceptual framework, example of a conceptual framework.

  • Theoretical vs conceptual: which one should I use?

A theoretical framework (also sometimes referred to as a foundation of theory) is essentially a set of concepts, definitions, and propositions that together form a structured, comprehensive view of a specific phenomenon.

In other words, a theoretical framework is a collection of existing theories, models and frameworks that provides a foundation of core knowledge – a “lay of the land”, so to speak, from which you can build a research study. For this reason, it’s usually presented fairly early within the literature review section of a dissertation, thesis or research paper .

Free Webinar: Literature Review 101

Let’s look at an example to make the theoretical framework a little more tangible.

If your research aims involve understanding what factors contributed toward people trusting investment brokers, you’d need to first lay down some theory so that it’s crystal clear what exactly you mean by this. For example, you would need to define what you mean by “trust”, as there are many potential definitions of this concept. The same would be true for any other constructs or variables of interest.

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.

foundation of theory

Typically, you’ll present your theoretical framework in written form , although sometimes it will make sense to utilise some visuals to show how different theories relate to each other. Your theoretical framework may revolve around just one major theory , or it could comprise a collection of different interrelated theories and models. In some cases, there will be a lot to cover and in some cases, not. Regardless of size, the theoretical framework is a critical ingredient in any study.

Simply put, the theoretical framework is the core foundation of theory that you’ll build your research upon. As we’ve mentioned many times on the blog, good research is developed by standing on the shoulders of giants . It’s extremely unlikely that your research topic will be completely novel and that there’ll be absolutely no existing theory that relates to it. If that’s the case, the most likely explanation is that you just haven’t reviewed enough literature yet! So, make sure that you take the time to review and digest the seminal sources.

Need a helping hand?

conceptual framework for research proposal

A conceptual framework is typically a visual representation (although it can also be written out) of the expected relationships and connections between various concepts, constructs or variables. In other words, a conceptual framework visualises how the researcher views and organises the various concepts and variables within their study. This is typically based on aspects drawn from the theoretical framework, so there is a relationship between the two.

Quite commonly, conceptual frameworks are used to visualise the potential causal relationships and pathways that the researcher expects to find, based on their understanding of both the theoretical literature and the existing empirical research . Therefore, the conceptual framework is often used to develop research questions and hypotheses .

Let’s look at an example of a conceptual framework to make it a little more tangible. You’ll notice that in this specific conceptual framework, the hypotheses are integrated into the visual, helping to connect the rest of the document to the framework.

example of a conceptual framework

As you can see, conceptual frameworks often make use of different shapes , lines and arrows to visualise the connections and relationships between different components and/or variables. Ultimately, the conceptual framework provides an opportunity for you to make explicit your understanding of how everything is connected . So, be sure to make use of all the visual aids you can – clean design, well-considered colours and concise text are your friends.

Theoretical framework vs conceptual framework

As you can see, the theoretical framework and the conceptual framework are closely related concepts, but they differ in terms of focus and purpose. The theoretical framework is used to lay down a foundation of theory on which your study will be built, whereas the conceptual framework visualises what you anticipate the relationships between concepts, constructs and variables may be, based on your understanding of the existing literature and the specific context and focus of your research. In other words, they’re different tools for different jobs , but they’re neighbours in the toolbox.

Naturally, the theoretical framework and the conceptual framework are not mutually exclusive . In fact, it’s quite likely that you’ll include both in your dissertation or thesis, especially if your research aims involve investigating relationships between variables. Of course, every research project is different and universities differ in terms of their expectations for dissertations and theses, so it’s always a good idea to have a look at past projects to get a feel for what the norms and expectations are at your specific institution.

Want to learn more about research terminology, methods and techniques? Be sure to check out the rest of the Grad Coach blog . Alternatively, if you’re looking for hands-on help, have a look at our private coaching service , where we hold your hand through the research process, step by step.

conceptual framework for research proposal

Psst… there’s more (for free)

This post is part of our dissertation mini-course, which covers everything you need to get started with your dissertation, thesis or research project. 

14 Comments

CIPTA PRAMANA

Thank you for giving a valuable lesson

Muhammed Ebrahim Feto

good thanks!

Benson Wandago

VERY INSIGHTFUL

olawale rasaq

thanks for given very interested understand about both theoritical and conceptual framework

Tracey

I am researching teacher beliefs about inclusive education but not using a theoretical framework just conceptual frame using teacher beliefs, inclusive education and inclusive practices as my concepts

joshua

good, fantastic

Melese Takele

great! thanks for the clarification. I am planning to use both for my implementation evaluation of EmONC service at primary health care facility level. its theoretical foundation rooted from the principles of implementation science.

Dorcas

This is a good one…now have a better understanding of Theoretical and Conceptual frameworks. Highly grateful

Ahmed Adumani

Very educating and fantastic,good to be part of you guys,I appreciate your enlightened concern.

Lorna

Thanks for shedding light on these two t opics. Much clearer in my head now.

Cor

Simple and clear!

Alemayehu Wolde Oljira

The differences between the two topics was well explained, thank you very much!

Ntoks

Thank you great insight

Maria Glenda O. De Lara

Superb. Thank you so much.

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What is a Conceptual Framework?

A conceptual framework sets forth the standards to define a research question and find appropriate, meaningful answers for the same. It connects the theories, assumptions, beliefs, and concepts behind your research and presents them in a pictorial, graphical, or narrative format.

Updated on August 28, 2023

a researcher putting together their conceptual framework for a manuscript

What are frameworks in research?

Both theoretical and conceptual frameworks have a significant role in research.  Frameworks are essential to bridge the gaps in research. They aid in clearly setting the goals, priorities, relationship between variables. Frameworks in research particularly help in chalking clear process details.

Theoretical frameworks largely work at the time when a theoretical roadmap has been laid about a certain topic and the research being undertaken by the researcher, carefully analyzes it, and works on similar lines to attain successful results. 

It varies from a conceptual framework in terms of the preliminary work required to construct it. Though a conceptual framework is part of the theoretical framework in a larger sense, yet there are variations between them.

The following sections delve deeper into the characteristics of conceptual frameworks. This article will provide insight into constructing a concise, complete, and research-friendly conceptual framework for your project.

Definition of a conceptual framework

True research begins with setting empirical goals. Goals aid in presenting successful answers to the research questions at hand. It delineates a process wherein different aspects of the research are reflected upon, and coherence is established among them. 

A conceptual framework is an underrated methodological approach that should be paid attention to before embarking on a research journey in any field, be it science, finance, history, psychology, etc. 

A conceptual framework sets forth the standards to define a research question and find appropriate, meaningful answers for the same. It connects the theories, assumptions, beliefs, and concepts behind your research and presents them in a pictorial, graphical, or narrative format. Your conceptual framework establishes a link between the dependent and independent variables, factors, and other ideologies affecting the structure of your research.

A critical facet a conceptual framework unveils is the relationship the researchers have with their research. It closely highlights the factors that play an instrumental role in decision-making, variable selection, data collection, assessment of results, and formulation of new theories.

Consequently, if you, the researcher, are at the forefront of your research battlefield, your conceptual framework is the most powerful arsenal in your pocket.

What should be included in a conceptual framework?

A conceptual framework includes the key process parameters, defining variables, and cause-and-effect relationships. To add to this, the primary focus while developing a conceptual framework should remain on the quality of questions being raised and addressed through the framework. This will not only ease the process of initiation, but also enable you to draw meaningful conclusions from the same. 

A practical and advantageous approach involves selecting models and analyzing literature that is unconventional and not directly related to the topic. This helps the researcher design an illustrative framework that is multidisciplinary and simultaneously looks at a diverse range of phenomena. It also emboldens the roots of exploratory research. 

the components of a conceptual framework

Fig. 1: Components of a conceptual framework

How to make a conceptual framework

The successful design of a conceptual framework includes:

  • Selecting the appropriate research questions
  • Defining the process variables (dependent, independent, and others)
  • Determining the cause-and-effect relationships

This analytical tool begins with defining the most suitable set of questions that the research wishes to answer upon its conclusion. Following this, the different variety of variables is categorized. Lastly, the collected data is subjected to rigorous data analysis. Final results are compiled to establish links between the variables. 

The variables drawn inside frames impact the overall quality of the research. If the framework involves arrows, it suggests correlational linkages among the variables. Lines, on the other hand, suggest that no significant correlation exists among them. Henceforth, the utilization of lines and arrows should be done taking into cognizance the meaning they both imply.

Example of a conceptual framework

To provide an idea about a conceptual framework, let’s examine the example of drug development research. 

Say a new drug moiety A has to be launched in the market. For that, the baseline research begins with selecting the appropriate drug molecule. This is important because it:

  • Provides the data for molecular docking studies to identify suitable target proteins
  • Performs in vitro (a process taking place outside a living organism) and in vivo (a process taking place inside a living organism) analyzes

This assists in the screening of the molecules and a final selection leading to the most suitable target molecule. In this case, the choice of the drug molecule is an independent variable whereas, all the others, targets from molecular docking studies, and results from in vitro and in vivo analyses are dependent variables.

The outcomes revealed by the studies might be coherent or incoherent with the literature. In any case, an accurately designed conceptual framework will efficiently establish the cause-and-effect relationship and explain both perspectives satisfactorily.

If A has been chosen to be launched in the market, the conceptual framework will point towards the factors that have led to its selection. If A does not make it to the market, the key elements which did not work in its favor can be pinpointed by an accurate analysis of the conceptual framework.

an example of a conceptual framework

Fig. 2: Concise example of a conceptual framework

Important takeaways

While conceptual frameworks are a great way of designing the research protocol, they might consist of some unforeseen loopholes. A review of the literature can sometimes provide a false impression of the collection of work done worldwide while in actuality, there might be research that is being undertaken on the same topic but is still under publication or review. Strong conceptual frameworks, therefore, are designed when all these aspects are taken into consideration and the researchers indulge in discussions with others working on similar grounds of research.

Conceptual frameworks may also sometimes lead to collecting and reviewing data that is not so relevant to the current research topic. The researchers must always be on the lookout for studies that are highly relevant to their topic of work and will be of impact if taken into consideration. 

Another common practice associated with conceptual frameworks is their classification as merely descriptive qualitative tools and not actually a concrete build-up of ideas and critically analyzed literature and data which it is, in reality. Ideal conceptual frameworks always bring out their own set of new ideas after analysis of literature rather than simply depending on facts being already reported by other research groups.

So, the next time you set out to construct your conceptual framework or improvise on your previous one, be wary that concepts for your research are ideas that need to be worked upon. They are not simply a collection of literature from the previous research.

Final thoughts

Research is witnessing a boom in the methodical approaches being applied to it nowadays. In contrast to conventional research, researchers today are always looking for better techniques and methods to improve the quality of their research. 

We strongly believe in the ideals of research that are not merely academic, but all-inclusive. We strongly encourage all our readers and researchers to do work that impacts society. Designing strong conceptual frameworks is an integral part of the process. It gives headway for systematic, empirical, and fruitful research.

Vridhi Sachdeva, BPharm Bachelor of PharmacyGuru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar

Vridhi Sachdeva, BPharm

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  • What Is a Conceptual Framework? | Tips & Examples

What Is a Conceptual Framework? | Tips & Examples

Published on 4 May 2022 by Bas Swaen and Tegan George. Revised on 5 August 2022.

Conceptual-Framework-example

A conceptual framework illustrates the expected relationship between your variables. It defines the relevant objectives for your research process and maps out how they come together to draw coherent conclusions.

Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to help you construct your own conceptual framework.

Table of contents

Developing a conceptual framework in research, step 1: choose your research question, step 2: select your independent and dependent variables, step 3: visualise your cause-and-effect relationship, step 4: identify other influencing variables, frequently asked questions about conceptual models.

A conceptual framework is a representation of the relationship you expect to see between your variables, or the characteristics or properties that you want to study.

Conceptual frameworks can be written or visual and are generally developed based on a literature review of existing studies about your topic.

Your research question guides your work by determining exactly what you want to find out, giving your research process a clear focus.

However, before you start collecting your data, consider constructing a conceptual framework. This will help you map out which variables you will measure and how you expect them to relate to one another.

In order to move forward with your research question and test a cause-and-effect relationship, you must first identify at least two key variables: your independent and dependent variables .

  • The expected cause, ‘hours of study’, is the independent variable (the predictor, or explanatory variable)
  • The expected effect, ‘exam score’, is the dependent variable (the response, or outcome variable).

Note that causal relationships often involve several independent variables that affect the dependent variable. For the purpose of this example, we’ll work with just one independent variable (‘hours of study’).

Now that you’ve figured out your research question and variables, the first step in designing your conceptual framework is visualising your expected cause-and-effect relationship.

Sample-conceptual-framework-using-an-independent-variable-and-a-dependent-variable

It’s crucial to identify other variables that can influence the relationship between your independent and dependent variables early in your research process.

Some common variables to include are moderating, mediating, and control variables.

Moderating variables

Moderating variable (or moderators) alter the effect that an independent variable has on a dependent variable. In other words, moderators change the ‘effect’ component of the cause-and-effect relationship.

Let’s add the moderator ‘IQ’. Here, a student’s IQ level can change the effect that the variable ‘hours of study’ has on the exam score. The higher the IQ, the fewer hours of study are needed to do well on the exam.

Sample-conceptual-framework-with-a-moderator-variable

Let’s take a look at how this might work. The graph below shows how the number of hours spent studying affects exam score. As expected, the more hours you study, the better your results. Here, a student who studies for 20 hours will get a perfect score.

Figure-effect-without-moderator

But the graph looks different when we add our ‘IQ’ moderator of 120. A student with this IQ will achieve a perfect score after just 15 hours of study.

Figure-effect-with-moderator-iq-120

Below, the value of the ‘IQ’ moderator has been increased to 150. A student with this IQ will only need to invest five hours of study in order to get a perfect score.

Figure-effect-with-moderator-iq-150

Here, we see that a moderating variable does indeed change the cause-and-effect relationship between two variables.

Mediating variables

Now we’ll expand the framework by adding a mediating variable . Mediating variables link the independent and dependent variables, allowing the relationship between them to be better explained.

Here’s how the conceptual framework might look if a mediator variable were involved:

Conceptual-framework-mediator-variable

In this case, the mediator helps explain why studying more hours leads to a higher exam score. The more hours a student studies, the more practice problems they will complete; the more practice problems completed, the higher the student’s exam score will be.

Moderator vs mediator

It’s important not to confuse moderating and mediating variables. To remember the difference, you can think of them in relation to the independent variable:

  • A moderating variable is not affected by the independent variable, even though it affects the dependent variable. For example, no matter how many hours you study (the independent variable), your IQ will not get higher.
  • A mediating variable is affected by the independent variable. In turn, it also affects the dependent variable. Therefore, it links the two variables and helps explain the relationship between them.

Control variables

Lastly,  control variables must also be taken into account. These are variables that are held constant so that they don’t interfere with the results. Even though you aren’t interested in measuring them for your study, it’s crucial to be aware of as many of them as you can be.

Conceptual-framework-control-variable

A mediator variable explains the process through which two variables are related, while a moderator variable affects the strength and direction of that relationship.

No. The value of a dependent variable depends on an independent variable, so a variable cannot be both independent and dependent at the same time. It must be either the cause or the effect, not both.

Yes, but including more than one of either type requires multiple research questions .

For example, if you are interested in the effect of a diet on health, you can use multiple measures of health: blood sugar, blood pressure, weight, pulse, and many more. Each of these is its own dependent variable with its own research question.

You could also choose to look at the effect of exercise levels as well as diet, or even the additional effect of the two combined. Each of these is a separate independent variable .

To ensure the internal validity of an experiment , you should only change one independent variable at a time.

A control variable is any variable that’s held constant in a research study. It’s not a variable of interest in the study, but it’s controlled because it could influence the outcomes.

A confounding variable , also called a confounder or confounding factor, is a third variable in a study examining a potential cause-and-effect relationship.

A confounding variable is related to both the supposed cause and the supposed effect of the study. It can be difficult to separate the true effect of the independent variable from the effect of the confounding variable.

In your research design , it’s important to identify potential confounding variables and plan how you will reduce their impact.

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Conceptual Framework in Research: Three Important Points to Bear in Mind

Why is a conceptual framework in research required? Can you do away with it? What are the things you need to consider before working on it? This article answers this often challenging portion of a graduate student’s thesis requirement.

As a graduate student, perhaps now, you are getting ready to prepare a research proposal that will demonstrate your capacity to research and enrich knowledge about unresolved issues in your chosen field of specialization. Looking at your outline, one of the required sections says you have to develop your conceptual framework.

You ask yourself the following questions:

“Why do I have to prepare the conceptual framework?” “Is it really necessary that I will have to prepare my conceptual framework in doing research?” “If I do need to prepare my conceptual framework in research, how will I go about it?”

Questions on developing the conceptual framework in research come into focus once you find yourself taking advanced graduate school courses. Whatever your motivation in enrolling in advanced education, the outcome would be that you have developed the capacity to do research . This outcome is the culminating part of your painstaking effort to hurdle the many requirements of the core, specialization, and elective courses in the course curriculum.

You might be thinking, “Why the heck do I need to work on a conceptual framework in research anyhow?”

Then you recall your undergraduate years and how you were able to finish your thesis with your adviser’s guidance. Indeed, the conceptual framework is a part of that thesis.

But did you write it correctly in your undergraduate years? Chances are, you didn’t. You were in a rush. There’s a deadline to beat and face the busy panel of teachers who have many other things to do.

When the thesis defense period comes, there you are, together with your group mates, scampering here and there to comply with that darn thesis requirement. All those frustrations and time conferring with your adviser who sometimes cannot give you the answers you need comes back to memory. They are in a rush to complete their grades and submit them on time. Now, here you are again, facing the challenges of graduate school.

Now, since you have decided to enroll in graduate school anyway, here are three important points that you need to bear in mind.

Point 1: Why a Conceptual Framework in Research is Needed

Generate ideas that matter.

Graduate school work requires that you are equipped with the correct concepts to engage in research as an essential part of your training. Your experience in researching in undergraduate years may not be (or is not) enough to provide you the impetus to do a serious study on issues and problems that require an incisive eye to discern the gaps in knowledge in the effort to provides solutions or answers that serve a purpose.

This idea goes on to say that as a graduate student, you have to make a difference, not indifference, in tackling the issues that confound many–the unexplored, unknown, or inadequately understood phenomenon. As a researcher, it is your role to develop an idea or ideas on how to dissect an issue or problem that needs resolution systematically.

As a graduate student, you have to make a difference, not indifference, in tackling the issues that confound many–the unexplored, unknown, or inadequately understood phenomenon.

Thus, you need to develop a conceptual framework in research to clarify things that boggle thinkers’ minds unless you unravel the mystery behind it. Developing a conceptual framework in research is not that easy, as, without the necessary training and experience, you are bound to do things haphazardly. You may just be duplicating the work of others, having nothing original to contribute from your musings.

Yes, finally, this is the critical element of developing your conceptual framework in research. Your MUSINGS. In other words, you are engaging in an exercise of looking at things characterized by reflection or deep thinking.

Point 2: Things to Consider Before Writing a Conceptual Framework in Research

Develop your higher order skills.

A conceptual framework in research does not arise automatically. There is a need for you to think, not only superficially but deeply. That is why your graduate school training ideally takes place with your professors’ design of course materials that develop higher-order thinking skills or HOTS.

You will need to read many articles and books and sometimes engage in heated discussions with your classmates or even your adviser. But don’t go to the extent of showing you know better. It’s a no-no. Do it when you have already graduated.

No, I’m just kidding. Please don’t take me seriously. We can always be diplomatic in our approach.

Conceptual Framework in Research: Three Important Points to Bear in Mind 1

The idea of reading a lot expands your knowledge in that particular topic you would want to do research. You get to know experts’ thoughts in their meta-analysis, well-cited landmark studies, and discussions during conferences.

Graduate students are meant to be the source of  original  ideas, particularly those working on their dissertations. Masteral level students confirm, validate, or test theories. Having hurdled the challenges of verifying, validating, or testing theories, doctoral-level students develop their original idea. 

Why Come Up With a Theory?

Coming up with a theory will not happen overnight. It requires a meticulous study. Many hours are spent poring over the literature and seeing things in a different light, challenging others’ findings, and working out your construct of how things relate with each other.

A theory emerges, not only from a synthesis of the literature but from a well-tested, well-documented explanation of a phenomenon that is well-supported by evidence. There you have it.

You always need evidence to support your claim. Hence, you must systematically gather data.

You always need  evidence  to support your claim. Hence, you must systematically gather data. 

Think Out of the Box

Doctoral work is not easy. A Ph.D. means nothing but a recognition that you know very little. It is not something to brag about having finished such a degree. It is a humble recognition that the more you know about a thing, i.e., your specialization, the less you know about other things. After all those readings, you will realize that there is more to explore in the vast world of the unknown.

As a graduate student, you have to think outside of the box. It would be best if you undid years of conditioning to go back to that state when you were a young child.

That’s because a child keeps on asking questions, looking for answers to live and adapt in the world that he or she will be a part of. Curiosity is the key to knowledge. Just explore and discover something new.

Here’s an excellent speech by Giovanni Corazza at TEDxRoma on thinking out of the box.

The Importance of Planning

Before you gather data, you need a plan, and that plan needs the guidance of a conceptual framework. It is your thinking framework in your quest for understanding things that remain an enigma that warrants investigation.

The conceptual framework lets you focus on what important variables need to be examined. It sets the stage for a systematic, cost-effective, and careful examination of the world’s challenges, issues, and problems.

Point 3: Conceptual Framework as a Tool in the Research Journey

At this point, you may perhaps already have a good foundation on why a conceptual framework in research matters. Your journey into the world of the unknown and constant quest for the truth will be ridden with dilemma, uncertainty, and mystery.

But armed with a tool to understand how things work–the conceptual framework–you have a ready tool to examine and dig deeper into confounding issues. It’s like riding the boat of uncertainty in the sea of knowledge. The conceptual framework serves as the rudder that guides the boat to reach your destination–the Island of Truth.

conceptualframeworkinresearch

Examples of Conceptual Framework in Research Topics of Different Disciplines

To jumpstart the development of your conceptual framework, I have drafted five examples of conceptual frameworks in different fields of specialization based on a brief review of available literature in my 2016 eBook . I added five more on various other disciplines in the second edition . I demonstrate how conceptual framework development is done in the simplest way I can respond to the many requests from students worldwide.

There are just so many queries or requests on how to do it and requests to have more examples in specific disciplines. I understand it’s a challenge to teach what you preach. And I have to do it the best way I can in all the fields I can relate.

Why the eBook Project?

The eBook project was a demand-driven task to cater to students’ needs. And I believe it’s an advantage to become a generalist who knows a little about everything. I do the writing, the editing, the lay-outing, the designing, marketing, just about everything. So I keep on learning whatever I can lay my hands on to do the required tasks.

Well, honestly, I enjoy it. I am a Jack-of-All-Trades. Master of everything. That’s just a pun to make you laugh.

I smile as I write this. I – love – writing so much.

Hundreds of comments were made on my  post on conceptual framework development  by the readers. Initially, I responded by answering the comments and even went out of my way to email the students detailed answers to their queries, naming the variables, and drawing the paradigm to help them out.

But the time available for such a detailed answer to students got me so occupied. I empathize that these students may have difficulty in coming up with their conceptual framework to guide them in their research. And I could sense their lack, perhaps inadequate research training.

Hence, I compiled some of these queries and provided much more detailed answers in my eBooks to help graduate students, even undergraduates, develop their conceptual framework in research. They need a lot of examples to figure out how it’s done.

Now I’ve got two eBook editions to guide students. The original one was written in 2016, and the second, the updated edition (2020), which covers more examples and areas of discipline. I added supplementary material to enable the users to come up with their conceptual framework.

If you are one of these students who need such assistance, just pick the one you believe can serve your needs and benefit, just like the hundreds of students looking for guidance. At this writing, I found out that the original eBook has garnered 71 citations in Google Scholar. I think it has become an excellent reference for everyone.

Just click on the eBook to see its description, and you’re on your way.

Conceptual Framework in Research: Three Important Points to Bear in Mind 2

Your purchase will help this site grow and make the educational articles available to everyone. To all who previously bought the original eBook, thank you very much for your support.

Now the site has just moved to a faster hosting mode to reach more users and enable more students to surf most efficiently using their simple  android mobile phones . Better hosting means less time spent by students online to get the information that they need. Their quick access means more savings to pay for other needs.

I keep on optimizing  Simplyeducate.me  for a better user experience. If only these things are free, I will offer everything you read on this site for no bother, as this is just my hobby gone to something else.

Keep safe always from the pesky virus. Don’t let this pandemic stop you from learning. Let’s make learning easy and enjoyable in these difficult times.

Please write your suggestions if you have anything to recommend to improve the services of this site. Your thoughts are valuable inputs to make learning a worthwhile and pleasurable experience.

All of these in the name of science as we know it. Enjoy the journey!

© 2020 November 2 P. A. Regoniel

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About the author, patrick regoniel.

Dr. Regoniel, a faculty member of the graduate school, served as consultant to various environmental research and development projects covering issues and concerns on climate change, coral reef resources and management, economic valuation of environmental and natural resources, mining, and waste management and pollution. He has extensive experience on applied statistics, systems modelling and analysis, an avid practitioner of LaTeX, and a multidisciplinary web developer. He leverages pioneering AI-powered content creation tools to produce unique and comprehensive articles in this website.

How to Write a Proposal and Conceptual Framework

by Jennifer VanBaren

Published on 26 Sep 2017

Proposals are generally written to solve a problem. A proposal identifies an issue and gives a recommendation to resolve it. Conceptual frameworks are used to help identify the problem by using a broad set of ideas and theories. Writing a proposal using a conceptual framework is often done by researchers to apply for federal grants. Using a conceptual framework with a proposal helps the researcher identify his problem better and find the best solutions. A good proposal has nine elements and begins by stating the problem.

State the problem. The first step in writing a proposal is to provide a clear explanation of the purpose of the project. It includes the problem, an explanation of why the answer to it is important and an explanation of how the results will benefit the community or organization.

Write a literature review. This section of the proposal shows the readers the relevant literature pertaining to this subject. It should contain reliable citations and references offering credibility that the writer of the paper performed the proper research.

Offer your own perspective. The conceptual framework is needed for this section, allowing the researcher to offer his own perspective and inquiries. The conceptual framework takes the writer's ideas and uses them as a guide and map for the proposal. A personal perspective in a proposal of this kind is important and necessary to develop a solution to the proposed problem. This includes an explanation of which theories and concepts are used in the study and how they are relevant.

Offer a clear hypothesis. With a hypothesis, it is important to explain why testing it will be beneficial. It’s also important to offer information regarding the conceptual framework and how it fits into the hypothesis.

Explain your methodology. In the proposal, the methods used for collecting and analyzing data should be revealed. You need to explain what the methods are, why you chose them and why you believe they are valid.

Describe the scope of work. The proposal should state the procedures you will be following along with the sequence of events. A time line is also offered in many proposals that shows the sequence of tasks and the amount of time each will take.

Describe the management plan. This part of the proposal states the people that will be assisting in the project and what responsibilities each person involved will have.

State the qualifications of individuals assisting in the project. It is important to include qualified individuals as part of the project. The proposal should offer the qualifications and experience of each member.

Create a budget that is as accurate and detailed as possible. Proposals are usually written to obtain grant money from the government. The agencies offering the grants want to know exactly why the money is needed and where it will be spent.

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  1. The conceptual framework or theoretical framework describes and depicts

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  2. Theoretical framework and conceptual framework in thesis proposal

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  3. Research proposal is a concise and coherent summary of your proposed

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  5. Conceptual & Theoretical Framework of Research

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  6. Proposed Conceptual Research Framework

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COMMENTS

  1. What Is a Conceptual Framework?

    Step 1: Choose your research question Step 2: Select your independent and dependent variables Step 3: Visualize your cause-and-effect relationship Step 4: Identify other influencing variables Frequently asked questions about conceptual models Developing a conceptual framework in research

  2. PDF CHAPTER CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORKS IN RESEARCH distribute

    The conceptual framework serves as a guide and ballast to research (Ravitch & Riggan, 2016), functioning as an integrating ecosystem that helps researchers intentionally bring all aspects of a study together through a process that explicates their connec- tions, disjunctures, overlaps, tensions, and the contexts shaping a research setting and th...

  3. Conceptual Framework

    A conceptual framework is a structured approach to organizing and understanding complex ideas, theories, or concepts. It provides a systematic and coherent way of thinking about a problem or topic, and helps to guide research or analysis in a particular field.

  4. How to Write the Conceptual Framework in a Research Proposal

    E-book on How to Write the Conceptual Framework in a Research Proposal. To be more effective in addressing the readers' queries, I wrote the e-book titled "Conceptual Framework Development Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide with Five Practical Examples."The e-book is a compilation of all conceptual framework related articles that I previously wrote in this site and other blogging websites.

  5. How to Make a Conceptual Framework (With Examples)

    In a conceptual framework, you'll find a visual representation of the key concepts and relationships that are central to a research study or project. This can be in form of a diagram, flow chart, or any other visual representation.

  6. What is a Conceptual Framework and How to Make It (with Examples)

    A conceptual framework in research is used to understand a research problem and guide the development and analysis of the research. It serves as a roadmap to conceptualize and structure the work by providing an outline that connects different ideas, concepts, and theories within the field of study.

  7. How to Write a Research Proposal

    Research proposal examples. Writing a research proposal can be quite challenging, but a good starting point could be to look at some examples. We've included a few for you below. Example research proposal #1: "A Conceptual Framework for Scheduling Constraint Management" Example research proposal #2: "Medical Students as Mediators of ...

  8. Literature Review and Conceptual Framework: A Guide

    1 Identify your research topic 2 Search and select relevant sources 3 Analyze and synthesize the literature 4 Develop your conceptual framework 5 Write your literature review 6 Review and...

  9. Conceptual Framework: 4 Step-by-Step Procedure That Works

    Table of Contents Definition of Conceptual Framework 4 Steps on How to Make the Conceptual Framework Choose your topic Do a literature review Isolate the important variables Generate the conceptual framework Example of a Conceptual Framework Research Topic Thesis Statement Review of Literature Variables Isolated from the Literature

  10. PDF Conceptual Framework

    Many writers identify the part of a research design, proposal, or published paper that deals with the conceptual framework of a study as the literature review. This can be a dangerously misleading term.

  11. Conceptual Framework

    The development of a conceptual framework begins with a deductive assumption that a problem exists, and the application of processes, procedures, functional approach, models, or theory may be used for problem resolution (Zackoff et al., 2019). The application of theory in traditional theoretical research is to understand, explain, and predict ...

  12. How To Make Conceptual Framework (With Examples and Templates)

    How To Make Conceptual Framework: 4 Steps 1. Identify the Important Variables of Your Study 2. Think About How the Variables Are Related 3. Analyze and Determine Other Influencing Variables 4. Create a Visual Diagram or a Model a. Using the Independent-Dependent Variable Model b. Using the Input-Process-Output (IPO) Model c. Using Concept Maps 5.

  13. What is conceptual framework in research?

    Answer: There are two kinds of framework used when writing the background of a study, theoretical and conceptual. A theoretical framework is a broad and established set of rules, truths, or principles on which the study is founded. Examples include Newton's laws of motion in physical sciences and Maslow's hierarchy of needs in social sciences.

  14. Theoretical vs Conceptual Framework (+ Examples)

    A conceptual framework is typically a visual representation (although it can also be written out) of the expected relationships and connections between various concepts, constructs or variables.

  15. What is a Conceptual Framework?

    A conceptual framework is an underrated methodological approach that should be paid attention to before embarking on a research journey in any field, be it science, finance, history, psychology, etc. A conceptual framework sets forth the standards to define a research question and find appropriate, meaningful answers for the same.

  16. What Is a Conceptual Framework?

    Step 1: Choose your research question Step 2: Select your independent and dependent variables Step 3: Visualise your cause-and-effect relationship Step 4: Identify other influencing variables Frequently asked questions about conceptual models Developing a conceptual framework in research

  17. Conceptual Framework in Research: 3 Important Points to Bear in Mind

    Point 1: Why a Conceptual Framework in Research is Needed Generate Ideas that Matter Graduate school work requires that you are equipped with the correct concepts to engage in research as an essential part of your training.

  18. Theoretical and Conceptual Framework: Mandatory Ingredients of A

    The theoretical and conceptual framework explains the path of a research and grounds it firmly in theoretical constructs. The overall aim of the two frameworks is to make research findings...

  19. What is a Conceptual framework in research? How to develop ...

    Intro What is a Conceptual framework in research? How to develop one (Best definition with examples) Insights4UToday 15.1K subscribers Join Subscribe Subscribed 665 41K views 2 years ago...

  20. (Pdf) Theoretical and Conceptual Frameworks in Research: Conceptual

    As conceptual defines the key concepts, variables, and relationships in a research study as a roadmap that outlines the researcher's understanding of how different concepts are interrelated,...

  21. Research Methodology: Conceptual Framework

    Carole Sinfort. We consider a simple crop irrigation model and study the optimal control which consists of maximizing the biomass production at harvesting time. A specificity of this work is to ...

  22. PDF A Sample Research Proposal with Comments

    objectives, research methodology, research activities, and a time schedule in about 3-5 pages. A sample proposal is attached here for your reference. Sample proposal text Comment A Conceptual Framework for Scheduling Constraint Management Provide a brief and meaningful title to your project 1. Introduction Every construction project is unique ...

  23. How to Write a Proposal and Conceptual Framework

    Using a conceptual framework with a proposal helps the researcher identify his problem better and find the best solutions. A good proposal has nine elements and begins by stating the problem. State the problem. The first step in writing a proposal is to provide a clear explanation of the purpose of the project.