Skip to main content Skip to navigation

theoretical and conceptual frameworks

We often find the terms theoretical and conceptual frameworks used interchangeably, inconsistently or not used at all. One way of looking at this is to see the theoretical framework as the lens through which the data will be viewed - for example in our case studies section we have examples of activity theory, actor network theory, three zones theory and so on, all of which serves as frames for data analysis. A conceptual framework is often seen as something broader and may offer a critical examination of key term - see for example how authors address the concept of community in the entry on conceptual clarification. The conceptual framework clarifies the key terms and suggests how those terms fit together. Those following a deductive or more positivist approach sometimes link the hypotheses they are about to test to a conceptual framework, see for examplethe paper on factor analysis.

For a very basic introduction to the topic go to this Youtube video for which there are links to a couple of papers:

The question for you is whether you are using an explicit theoretical / conceptual framework in your study and are such frameworks useful or necessary?