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It is a set of interrelated concepts, which structure a systematical view of phenomena for purpose
of explaining or predicting. A theory is like a blueprint a guide for modeling a structure. A
blueprint depicts the element of structure and the relation of each element to other just as a
theory depicts the concepts, which compose it and the relation of concepts with each other.


In general, a framework is a real or conceptual structure intended to serve as a support or guide

for a building of something that expands the structure into something useful. Logical structure or
theoretical framework is the set of terms and relationships within which the problem is
formulated and solved. Such frameworks may vary greatly in format and sophistication.

Theoretical Framework

Kombo and Tromp define theoretical framework as collection of interrelated ideas based on
theories. It is reasoned set of prepositions, which are derived from and supported by data or
evidence. A theoretical framework accounts for or explains phenomena. It attempts to clarify
why things are the way they are based on theories. A theoretical framework is a general set of
assumption about the nature of phenomena. A theoretical framework is a collection concept. It
guides your research, determining what things you will measure and what statistical relationship
you will look for.


To expound the structure or framework within the situation will be investigated.

1. To conceptualize or state the theory in which terms the investigator will examine the
2. To validate the application of the particular theoretical framework in the investigation of
the problem in terms of its anticipated advantages and consequences.

A theoretical framework plays a major role in research. These include the followings:

a. It introduces the researcher to a new view of research problem. This enables the
researcher to understand the total realm of problem.

b. It enable the researcher to conceptualize the topic in it’s entirely as an outgrowth of the
larger society. This helps the researcher to acknowledge the problem from a wider
perspective and not from a narrow personalized self-interest approach. This enhances the
researcher objectivity.

A theoretical framework are also important in exploratory studies, where you really don’t know
much about what is going on, and are trying to learn more. These are two reasons why
theoretical frameworks are important here:

No matter how little you think you know about a topic, and how unbiased you think you are, It is
impossible for a human being not to have preconceived notions, even if they are of a very
general native. For example, some people fundamentally believed that people are lazy and
untrustworthily, and you have keep your wits about you to avoid being conned. These
fundamental beliefs about human nature affect how you look things when doing personnel

In this case you are always being guided by a theoretical framework, but you don’t know it. Not
knowing what your real framework is can be a problem. The framework tends to guide what you
notice in an organization, and what you don’t notice. In other words, you don’t even notice
things that don’t fit your framework! We can never completely get around this problem but we
can reduce the problem considerably by simply making our implicit framework explicit. Once it
is explicit, we can deliberately consider other frameworks and try to see the organizational
situation through different lenses.

A theoretical framework is foundation on which the entire research project is based. It is a

logically developed, described and elaborated network of association among the variables
deemed relevant to the problem situation and identified through such processes an interview,
observation, and literature survey. Experience and intuition also guide in developing the
theoretical framework.

A good theoretical framework identifies and labels the important variable in the situation that
relevant to the problem defined. It logically describes the interconnection among these variables.

In any particular study, variables can play different roles. Two key roles are independent
variables and dependent variables. Usually there is only one dependent variable, and it is the
outcome variable, the one you are trying to predict. Variation in the dependent variable is what
you are trying to explain. For example, if we do a study to determine why some people are more
satisfied in their jobs than others, job satisfaction is the dependent variable.

The independent variables, also known as the predictor or explanatory variables, are the factors
that you think explain variation in the dependent variable. In other words, these are the causes.
For example, you may think that people are more satisfied with their jobs if they are given a lot
of freedom to do what they want, and if they are well-paid. So 'job freedom' and 'salary' are the
independent variables, and 'job satisfaction' is the dependent variable. This is diagrammed as

Independent Variable Dependent Variable

There are actually two other kinds of variables, which are basically independent variables and
dependent variable. In addition to these two types of variables, we have also another type of
variable called the moderating or intervening variable. A moderator or intervening variable is
one that modifies the relationship between two other variables.
For example, suppose that the cases are whole organizations, and you believe that diversity in the
organization can help make them more profitable (because diversity leads to fresh outlooks on
old problems), but only if managers are specially trained in diversity management (otherwise all
that diversity causes conflicts and miscommunication). Here, diversity is clearly an independent
variable, and profitability is clearly a dependent variable. But what is diversity training? Its main
function seems to be adjust the strength of relation between diversity and profitability


An effective theoretical framework should;

a. Account for and explain a phenomenon

b. Be specific and well articulated.

c. Reflect the research problem being addressed.

d. Provide tentative answers to questions, issues and problems addressed in the research

e. Should systematically address the various aspects of the problem particularly the key
factors that are assumed to influence or cause the problem.


In formulating an effective theoretical framework, the researcher should adhere to the following;

a. Reflect-On the existing theories for the purpose of identifying a fitting context.

b. Analyze the research title to identify the independent and dependent variables. These
researchers should then reflect on the relationship between these variables.

c. Find out which theories best explain the relationship between the variables. This can
achieve by using the library and reading books and articles related to the topic selected.
The researcher should read through various theories related to one’s research topic.

d. Formulation-The researcher should then write down the theories applicable, link the ideas
and identify the relationship. After this the researcher should formulate the theoretical
framework. This will involve discussing the selected theories in an attempt to answer the
research question.

e. Evaluation-After formulating the theoretical framework, the researcher should evaluate it

to find out if it addresses all sections of the research problem.


Lack of differentiation between a theory and theoretical framework; while a theory simply states
what proponents have discovered in relation to a certain issue, a theoretical framework uses this
theory to account for and clarify why things are they are. The researcher should therefore avoid
simply stating the theories applicable to study. Moreover, some researchers quote theories that
do not explain the phenomenon under study.