Conceptual framework

Conceptual framework

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A conceptual framework is used in research
Research
Research can be defined as the scientific search for knowledge, or as any systematic investigation, to establish novel facts, solve new or existing problems, prove new ideas, or develop new theories, usually using a scientific method...

 to outline possible courses of action or to present a preferred approach to an idea or thought. For example, the philosopher Isaiah Berlin
Isaiah Berlin
Sir Isaiah Berlin OM, FBA was a British social and political theorist, philosopher and historian of ideas of Russian-Jewish origin, regarded as one of the leading thinkers of the twentieth century and a dominant liberal scholar of his generation...

 used the "hedgehogs" versus "foxes" approach; a "hedgehog" might approach the world in terms of a single organizing principle; a "fox" might pursue multiple conflicting goals simultaneously. Alternatively, an empiricist might approach a subject by direct examination, whereas an intuitionist might simply intuit what's next.

Conceptual frameworks (theoretical frameworks) are a type of intermediate theory that attempt to connect to all aspects of inquiry (e.g., problem definition, purpose, literature review, methodology, data collection and analysis). Conceptual frameworks can act like maps that give coherence to empirical inquiry. Because conceptual frameworks are potentially so close to empirical inquiry, they take different forms depending upon the research question or problem.

Several types of conceptual frameworks have been identified, such as
  • Working hypothesis
    Working hypothesis
    A working hypothesis is a hypothesis that is provisionally accepted as a basis for further research in the hope that a tenable theory will be produced, even if the hypothesis ultimately fails...

  • Descriptive Categories
  • Practical ideal types
  • Models of operations research
    Operations research
    Operations research is an interdisciplinary mathematical science that focuses on the effective use of technology by organizations...

  • Formal hypotheses


These are linked to particular research purposes such as:
  • Exploration
    Exploration
    Exploration is the act of searching or traveling around a terrain for the purpose of discovery of resources or information. Exploration occurs in all non-sessile animal species, including humans...

     or Exploratory research
    Exploratory research
    Exploratory research is a type of research conducted for a problem that has not been clearly defined. Exploratory research helps determine the best research design, data collection method and selection of subjects. It should draw definitive conclusions only with extreme caution...

  • Description
    Description
    Description is one of four rhetorical modes , along with exposition, argumentation, and narration. Each of the rhetorical modes is present in a variety of forms and each has its own purpose and conventions....

     or Descriptive research
    Descriptive research
    Descriptive research, also known as statistical research, describes data and characteristics about the population or phenomenon being studied. Descriptive research answers the questions who, what, where, when, "why" and how......

  • Gauging
  • Decision making
    Decision making
    Decision making can be regarded as the mental processes resulting in the selection of a course of action among several alternative scenarios. Every decision making process produces a final choice. The output can be an action or an opinion of choice.- Overview :Human performance in decision terms...

  • Explanation
    Explanation
    An explanation is a set of statements constructed to describe a set of facts which clarifies the causes, context, and consequencesof those facts....

  • Prediction
    Prediction
    A prediction or forecast is a statement about the way things will happen in the future, often but not always based on experience or knowledge...



Proponents claim that when purpose and framework are aligned, other aspects of empirical research such as methodological choices and statistical techniques become simpler to identify.

See also

  • Analogy
    Analogy
    Analogy is a cognitive process of transferring information or meaning from a particular subject to another particular subject , and a linguistic expression corresponding to such a process...

  • Concept
    Concept
    The word concept is used in ordinary language as well as in almost all academic disciplines. Particularly in philosophy, psychology and cognitive sciences the term is much used and much discussed. WordNet defines concept: "conception, construct ". However, the meaning of the term concept is much...

  • Conceptual object
  • Conceptual system
    Conceptual system
    A conceptual system is a system that is composed of non-physical objects, i.e. ideas or concepts. In this context a system is taken to mean "an interrelated, interworking set of objects".- Overview :...

  • Inquiry
    Inquiry
    An inquiry is any process that has the aim of augmenting knowledge, resolving doubt, or solving a problem. A theory of inquiry is an account of the various types of inquiry and a treatment of the ways that each type of inquiry achieves its aim.-Deduction:...

  • Model
  • Ontology
    Ontology
    Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, existence or reality as such, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations...

  • Theory
    Theory
    The English word theory was derived from a technical term in Ancient Greek philosophy. The word theoria, , meant "a looking at, viewing, beholding", and referring to contemplation or speculation, as opposed to action...


Further reading

  • Kaplan, Abraham. (1964). The Conduct of Inquiry: Methodology for Behavioral Science. Scranton, PA: Chandler Publishing Co.
  • Botha, M.E. (1989), "Theory Development in Perspective: The Role of Conceptual Frameworks and Models in Theory Development", Journal of Advanced Nursing 14(1), 49–55.
  • Dewey, John. (1938). Logic: The Theory of Inquiry. New York: Hold Rinehart and Winston.