Remember: Concept gives rise to theory andTheory gives rise to bigger concepts!

 Theory or Concept?
Theory or Concept?

View this slideshow to distinguish between QUAL frameworks

Theoretical _ Conceptual Frameworks
What is the difference between the conceptual and the theoretical framework?
A conceptual framework is the researcher’s idea on how the research problem will have to be explored. This is founded on the theoretical framework, which lies on a much broader scale of resolution. The theoretical framework dwells on time tested theories that embody the findings of numerous investigations on how phenomena occur.

The theoretical framework provides a general representation of relationships between things in a given phenomenon. The conceptual framework, on the other hand, embodies the specific direction by which the research will have to be undertaken. Statistically speaking, the conceptual framework describes the relationship between specific variables identified in the study. It also outlines the input, process and output of the whole investigation. The conceptual framework is also called the research paradigm.

Examples of the Theoretical and the Conceptual Framework
The difference between theoretical framework and conceptual framework can be further clarified by the following examples on both concepts:
  • Theoretical Framework: Stimulus elicits response.
  • Conceptual Framework: New teaching method improves students’ academic performance.

Notice in the illustrative example that the theoretical framework basically differs from the conceptual framework in terms of scope. The theoretical framework describes a broader relationship between things. When stimulus is applied, response is expected. The conceptual framework is much more specific in defining this relationship. The conceptual framework specifies the variables that will have to be explored in the investigation. In this example, the variable “teaching method” represents stimulus while the “students’ academic performance” represents the response. The variables make clear the kind of statistical treatment that will have to be used to analyze the relationship.

How can students come up with their theoretical and conceptual framework?
In order to come up with their own set of theoretical and conceptual framework that will guide the conduct of the research, students have to review relevant and updated literature pertaining to their chosen research topic. Students need to read a lot and find out what has been studied so far in their respective field. They should look for gaps in knowledge and identify what questions need to be answered or what problems need to be given solutions.

©Patrick Regoniel 29 August 2010 The Theoretical Framework | The Conceptual Framework
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