What Is A Theoretical Framework?

In the di ctionary, we may find the definition of a theoretical framework to be “A group of related ideas that provides guidance to a research project or business endeavour”, but in reality, it is much more than that. You see, every academic project starts with a framework that is meant to establish the approach and conceptual model used for work guidance. Frameworks are also a way to identify key problems. Their sole purpose is to your goal and the research behind it. Behind every great theoretical framework, there are a lot of research studies and review course readings that are relevant to the problems that are being investigated.

Frameworks allow individuals to back and provide general background information about a certain investigation that justifies an academic project. They are a strong tool that can help us achieve meaningful theories and nevertheless, solutions. In addition, the theoretical framework is a great way to strengthen studies. They normally include measurable variables and tend to focus solely on finding the meaning between links. You will always get to the right answer if you ask the right questions. This is also true when it comes to building a proper theoretical framework.

Why do you need a Theoretical Framework?

  • Allows users to understand and evaluate your dissertation properly
  • Forces you to contest and understand better by asking basic questions
  • It helps with identifying the limit of generalizations
  • Means for resolving and defining research problems
  • Guides research and improves efficiency dramatically

The main point of using a framework is to build a strong case for your academic projects. By defining things such as models, theories and ideas you can put an emphasis on your knowledge while at the same time providing a future perspective about your paper. In conclusion, it provides an array of explanations and key aspects for the project, supporting your research and theories. If the writer of the paper is explicit with his theoretical framework, it can be analyzed in a critical manner by the readers. Here are some examples of the most used theories ranging from all disciplines:

  • Situational
  • Behavioral
  • Cognitive
  • Feminist
  • Marxist
  • Maoism
  • Transformational

These frameworks extremely important when it comes to our work. All academic papers are required to have a strong and valid theoretical framework in order to be taken for granted as significant and important pieces of work. Being used for dozens of years, they will never be outdated.

What does a Theoretical Framework contain?

After we have defined frameworks and we have talked about the importance of them in our lives, the next step is to see what does a valid theoretical framework contain.

Every theoretical framework should be easy to read, and it must describe the framework, its concepts models and theories in a clear way. The framework must be positioned within other related frameworks, models, concepts, and theories. In addition, note why you have chosen the respective similar framework to yours. Moreover, do not take any theory as a given, rather, try to understand and then examine the theory. Keep in mind that in your paper, the present tense must predominate with the exception of the past tense when used to describe something from history.

In order to find out relevant concepts, models, and theories you can see how others defined the concepts of your thesis by using literature reviews. Find out what your piece of paper is sharing with what you have found and then link them. In addition to all of these, depending on the subject of your paper you can add information in your theoretical framework about the current state of the investigation for your subject. Use your framework not only to show but to also answer questions. You can also formulate hypothesis meant to be studied and researched later.

Additional contents

A theoretical framework can not only contain the previously mentioned elements, but also criteria determined by the discipline. Not only this but the professor’s requirements too. It is recommended that before adding contents you must analyze the field in which you are writing and state your finding whether they are quantitative or qualitative based on existing research. Keep these factors in mind when presenting your view:

  • Present your point of view in a relevant manner (using valid sources of information)
  • Acknowledge the diversity and similarity between your project and previous research
  • Explain the theories, methods, and models used and argue which one is right for your paper
  • Define how it can affect already existing knowledge about the given subject

In case you may be wondering what questions should you answer with your framework, you can answer anything from findings and hypotheses to descriptive questions to popular questions about the given subjects. Using the answers to these questions you can compose your theories, which will help you during study and research later.

How do we structure Theoretical Frameworks?

While there are no extraordinary guidelines to follow, you must keep in mind that the main thing you are looking is to use hypotheses and key terms in order to create a structure that explains the reason for your research. Try to play with every hypothesis and question comes in your mind, and put them in the paper in a relevant and academic way.

When talking about the length of the paper, again, there are no strict rules and you can be flexible with the numbers of pages. However, most teachers recommend it to be anywhere from three to five pages long, which is not that much. It all depends on the manner in which you are writing if you consider your hypotheses need to be explained in over 5 pages, why not do it?

There are actually cases in which you would want to write a conceptual framework instead of a theoretical one. The latter one already embodies the destination of which the research is heading. The conceptual framework can also be found in books as a “research paradigm”. The big difference between the two is actually the fact that the conceptual framework consists of connected concepts instead of established theories.

What to write about theories

  • Name of the authors
  • The date when it was conceived.
  • References to the parts you have used in your paper
  • A conclusion based on your findings

It is important to motivate your decision about choose a given theory. This is why you should always start with a particular frame and explain the upsides and downsides of the chosen theory. A good way is to get inspired by other people that have used approaches similar to theoretical frameworks and try to fit their work into yours.

You can also use your doubts in your advantage by making your paper more interesting. At their core, theoretical frameworks are a concise abstract about your study on a particular subject from a discipline. It is mandatory to find links between its theories and more importantly to make it as interesting as possible to your target audience. It also serves as proof that you have based your study on facts and not on instinct or guesses.

Theoretical frameworks offer a great way to conceive the essence of problems if they are challenged with alternative theories. In this way, you can remove any limitations and interpretations of your study.

Writing a theoretical framework correctly

While it may seem hard and overwhelming at first, you will get the grasp of it after completing a few frameworks. Here are some of the things you need to look out for when composing a dissertation.

  • Start with a catchy introduction
  • Focus on the main element about your project
  • Explain and debate cases
  • Link everything that you have stated (cases, problems, theories)

The best way to catch your reader’s attention is to start with a powerful introduction. Afterward, be sure to carefully explain the meaning of your research and already discovered things about your subject. You can even add how your research will influence and help further research. Providing these details will make it easier to prove that the theory you have chosen is valid.

After you have explained the foundation of your framework, the next step is to prove why your theories are relevant to the study and how the information conducted from your research will be used in the future. It is all about finding the links and connecting them for easier understanding.

What do examiners want to see in a theoretical framework?

  • That you have fully understood the theories used in your paper
  • Why did you choose them
  • Your approach
  • Your knowledge on the subject

One of the most important aspects readers will want to see is your interpretation of theories. You can get inspired by other frameworks and carefully explain your selection of choice with its edges and target a selected frame

Are theoretical frameworks related to quantitive research?

The short answer is that there is a relation between a theoretical framework and quantitive research. The long answer is that it is based on research design and it depends on the goals of your research. It is a great way to establish new opportunities for your study but to also point your methods of researching. Be careful when choosing your methodology because you need to pick one that will make your theories valid based on your conclusions.

Theoretical Framework Checklists

When it comes to writing the perfect framework it is important to not only know about the importance of one and what it does but actually tips about writing one as well. Here are some checklists that will help you write a framework you will be proud of.

Theoretical framework:

  • It supports and validates your theories
  • You can use different perspectives when writing one
  • Introduces and explains theories and validates the credibility of your project
  • When it comes to examining your subjects there are no right or wrongs because of the multiple perspectives that can be used. Everything is neutral.

Why are they important:

Theoretical frameworks are extremely important because they help with answering questions and with setting up a specific perspective on a subject

  • The framework should be informational
  • You must state various and meaningful connections between analysis, research methodology, literature review and your framework
  • Talk about other theories in depth and possible fixes for them

What does a Theoretical Framework do?

  • It provides writers with plenty of research methods
  • Allows readers to evaluate and properly criticize the paper
  • Puts in perspective already known facts
  • Reveals the generalization barrier
  • Forces writers to answer detrimental questions

When writing one:

  • Decide the subject that your picked hypothesis will apply to
  • Think about whether it will be a solid match in your methodological arrangement
  • Choose if your investigation technique identifies with the standards, ideas, and thoughts of your framework
  • Consider the size of your chosen hypothesis and decide whether or not it suits your cause (it contains the correct structure that meets your criteria)
  • Guarantee that your hypothesis has various ideas and rules that meet the end of your tasks.
  • Distinguish whether the essentialness, reason, and problems come along with a framework


Did you know that the lack of a framework has been the second most common reason for rejected manuscripts for the publication “Journal of Science Teacher Education”? Theoretical frameworks are a great way to provide writers with research methods and reveal important questions to them. All research papers are required to have a proper theoretical framework in order to validate their legitimacy and to justify the need and significance of the research.

At first, they may be hard to conceive but by using the proper methods and the provided checklist you can produce a worthy framework too.

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