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6/1/2015 Writingthetheoreticalframework

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Writing the Theoretical
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Writing the Theoretical Framework


Every study is based on something. This something is generally a
broad theoretical area in the existing research literature.

Some examples include leadership, management, conflict


management, entrepreneurship, gender and diversity in
organizations, human resources, international management,
What IS the
management education and development, management history,
'theoretical
managerial and organizational cognition, operations management,
framework'? organization and management theory, social issues in
management, and technology and innovation management.

Notethatthesearenotmerelytopicsofdiscussion. These are


disciplines with known authors who have developed specific and
usually named theories.
AtheoryisNOTaguessorabelief.Thefoundationofeverytheoryis
empiricalevidenceprovidedthroughrigorouslycontrolledscientific
researchdesignedtoavoidbias.

Inpsychologyandthesocialsciences,theorieshavetwocritical
What is a theory? components:

(a)thetheorydescribesspecificbehavior(s),and

(b)thetheorymustmakepredictionsaboutfuturebehaviors.
Researchersusetheoriesasthefoundationofempricalstudies.The
researcherpresentsthetheoreticalframeworktoplaceTHEIRresearch
withintheperspectiveofotherstudiesinthesamediscipline.
What is the
PURPOSE of the Thetheoreticalframeworkprovidessupportfortheproposedstudyby
presentingknownrelationshipsamongvariablesandsettinglimitsor
theoretical boundariesfortheproposedstudy.
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6/1/2015 Writingthetheoreticalframework

framework?
Sowhatthismeansis(a)citepreviousresearchers,(b)nametheories
presentedbypreviousresearchers,and(c)explainhowthesetheoriestie
intoyourownproblemandpurposestatements.
Usethetheoreticalframeworkasaspringboardtonewideas.Startwith
recommendationsforfurtherstudyinspecificareasinpreviously
New ideas from publishedstudies.
the theoretical
framework Usethefacts,observations,andtheoriesfrompreviousstudiestofocus
yourideasaboutnewrelationshipsamongthevariablesoraboutnew
populationsunderstudy.
Present the broad Start your Theoretical Framework sectionwithabroadoverviewof
thetopic.Definethebroadtopicandlistgerminalresearchersinthetopic.
theoretical Summarizethegerminalresearchers'keyconcepts.Nametheirspecific
foundation first theories.
Citeresearcherswhopresentimportantissues,uniqueperspectives,and
Present main issues controversieswithinthespecifictopicarea

Tie in your Discusshowyourstudyfitswithinotherresearchinthefield.


research
Theoretical Inaquantitativestudy,yourpurposeistodescribeyourpopulationand
foundations for testhypotheses.Instatingyourhypotheses,youareessentiallyproposing
anewtheory.Placeyourpopulationandhypotheseswithinthecontextof
quantitative theexistingliterature.
research
Inqualitativeresearch,theremaybenoexistingtheoreticalfoundation
becausetheoryoftenemergesfromthefindings.Inthiscase,discussthe
theoreticalorientationoftheresearchitself.Presentyourproblem
Theoretical statementwithinthecontextofthequalitativeinquirymethoditself.
foundations for
qualitative However,eveninqualitativeresearchenoughliteraturehasusuallybeen
research publishedonanygiventopictoprovideyouwithseminalworkaboutthe
specifictopic.Ifnot,lookforrelatedtopicsifyouareexploringanew
areawithinadulteducation,itisacceptabletoreportonsimilarwork
withinadolescenteducation.

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Copyright BOLD Educational Software 2014


by Diane M. Dusick, Ph.D.
All Rights Reserved

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