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Conceptual Framework

Professor Roger Vaughan
May 29th 2008

The structure of the presentation

The definition of a conceptual framework.

Where the conceptual framework appears in the research.

Developing the conceptual framework.

The presentation of the conceptual framework.

The good and bad of conceptual frameworks.


The definition of a conceptual framework .

concepts or variables – and the presumed relationship among them”. the main things to be studied – the key factors.What is a conceptual framework? • A written or visual presentation that: – “explains either graphically. (Miles and Huberman. or in narrative form. P18) . 1994.

Where the conceptual framework appears in the research .

Where does the conceptual framework fit? • Preparing a conceptual framework can be likened to planning a holiday. because you can be guided by your previous experiences and by any information provided by others. and able to make the most of your holiday. – Know what to do when you are at the destination. • The purpose of the pre-planning of the holiday is to: – Know how to get to. – To be better prepared. and return from. • But is this pre-planning metaphor applicable to both quantitative and qualitative research in terms of the conceptual framework and the research process? . your holiday destination.

Interpretation of the results: Making sense of the results.Where does the conceptual framework fit in . Provides the structure/content for the whole Conceptual framework: study based on literature and personal experience Specific questions that require answers. Evaluation of the research: . methods and analysis.positivism. Revisit conceptual framework.quantitative? • Research problem: • Paradigm: • • • • • • • The issue of theoretical or practical interest. Research questions: Data collection and analysis: Methodology. What we want to know and how the answer Aims and objectives: may be built up. The philosophical assumptions about the nature of the world and how we understand it . A critical and evaluative review of the Literature review: thoughts and experiences of others.

The philosophical assumptions about the nature of the world and how we understand it – e. What we want to know and how the answer Aims and objectives: may be built up. Research questions: Methodology. Data collection and analysis: Conceptual framework develops as Interpretation of the results: participants’ views and issues are gathered and analysed.Where does the conceptual framework fit in . Specific questions that require answers. Evaluation of the research: . Revisit conceptual framework. interpretivism.g. A critical and evaluative review of the Literature review: thoughts and experiences of others.qualitative? • Research problem: • Paradigm: • • • • • • The issue of theoretical or practical interest. methods and analysis.

• However. for example. . seeking to build up theory. with the conceptual framework being ‘emergent’. Pattern matching starts with existing theory and tests its adequacy in terms of explaining the findings. because existing literature/theories might mislead. a tentative rudimentary conceptual framework.the position of the conceptual framework • Normally qualitative work is described as starting from an inductive position. identified pattern matching and explanation building.Qualitative research . Explanation building starts with theory and then builds an explanation while collecting and analysing data. Miles and Huberman (1994) note that: – Researchers generally have some idea of what will feature in the study. and it is better to have some idea of what you are looking for/at even if that idea changes over time. This is particularly true for inexperienced and/or time constrained researchers. – Qualitative research can also be confirmatory. Yin (1994).

Developing the conceptual framework .

lines of investigation and theory that are not obviously relevant/previously used.approaches. Personal experience. Research background.What inputs go into developing a conceptual framework? • Experiential knowledge of student and supervisor: – – – – Technical knowledge. Data (particularly for qualitative). . • Literature review: – Prior ‘related’ theory – concepts and relationships that are used to represent the world. – Prior ‘related’ research – how people have tackled ‘similar’ problems and what they have learned. – Other theory and research . what is happening and why.

To develop the structure you could: – Identify the key words used in the subject area of your study. idea or term at a time and brainstorm all the other things that might be related and then go back and select those that seem most relevant. • Whichever is used it will take time and a number of iterations and the focus is both on the content and the inter-relationships.How might a conceptual framework be developed? • The pieces of the conceptual framework are borrowed but the researcher provides the structure. – Take one key concept. – Draw out the key things within something you have already written about the subject area – literature review. .

The presentation of the conceptual framework .

. These relate to the ‘how?’ question. that together answer the ‘why?’ question.What general forms might a conceptual framework take? • Process frameworks – Set out the stages through which an action moves from initiation to conclusion. and possibly the relationship (with relative strengths) between them. • Content frameworks – Set out the variables.

– Mind maps. concentric circles. – Tree diagrams. – Soft systems. . overlapping circles. – Shape based diagrams – triangles.What specific forms might a conceptual framework take? • The possibilities include: – Flow charts.

Relative advantage 2. IMPLEMENTATION 5. 3. CONFIRMATION 1. Compatibility 3. PERSUASION Observations of the Perceived characteristics decision making unit of innovation 1. KNOWLEDGE 2. 1. Observability 2. Norms of the social system COMMUNICATION CHANNELS 1. Socio-economic characteristics Personality variables Communication behaviour 3. Innovativeness 4. Previous practice 2. Rejection Rogers 2003 Continued Rejection . Adoption Confirmed Adoption Later Adoption Discontinuance 2. Trialability 5.A ‘flow chart’ of innovation decision making PRIOR CONDITIONS 1. Felt needs/problems 3. Complexity 4. DECISION 4.

A ‘tree chart’ of changing consumer behaviour Customers Changing customers Experience Range Values Knowledge Product expectati ons Lifestyles Priorities Demographics Health Physical Purchasing Price Quality Information Access Service Currency Individuality Loss of loyalty Value Image Expectations Variety Age composition Ease Flexi bility Security .

A ‘triangle’ of needs Self actualisation Esteem Affiliation Security Physiological Maslow 1954 .

p o w e r s Jennings 2001 E n v iro n m e n t W h a t t y p e o f im p a c t and w h a t ty p e o f to u r is t? P e o p le A r e c r u is e r s to u r is ts o r n o t? C r u is e r im p a c t s C u l tu r e / p la c e s P O S T M O D E R N IS M B a u d s ila r d .H y p e s r e a lit y G o ffm a n .f r e e d o m a n d c o n tr o l K n o w le d g e .fr o n ts ta g e / B a c k s t a g e a u t h e n t ic it y D is a d v a n ta g e s A d v a n ta g e s .A mind map of cruise travel and impacts T ra v e l W hy not m a s s to u r is m S O C IA L C O N T IN G E N C Y THEO R Y W h o g e ts to g o ? H e g e m o n y c la s s In d iv id u a l n o t p a r t o f m a s s Typ e s o f t o u r is t s / tr a v e lle r s Typ e s o f to u r is m P O S T S T R U C T U R A L IS M F o u c a u lt .

Soft systems framework of tourism business activity 1 Process Content 6 Output 7 Outcome 2 3 Institutional Business Environment Environment 4 Behaviour 5 Motivation .

The good and bad of conceptual frameworks .

. – The boundaries of the work. methodology and results. – An filtering tool for selecting appropriate research questions and related data collection methods. – A reference point/structure for the discussion of the literature.Why are conceptual frameworks useful? • Conceptual frameworks provide researchers with: – The ability to move beyond descriptions of ‘what’ to explanations of ‘why’ and ‘how’. – A means of setting out an explanation set that might be used to define and make sense of the data that flow from the research question.

also have problems in that the framework: – Is influenced by the experience and knowledge of the individual – initial bias. particularly at the end when evaluating your work. however. – Once developed will influence the researcher’s thinking and may result in some things being given prominence and others being ignored – ongoing bias. . • The solution is to revisit the conceptual framework.What are the limitations of a conceptual framework? • Conceptual frameworks.

Conclusion .

– Acts as the link between the literature. the methodology and the results (regardless of when in the PhD process it is produced). For example: – Is what has been focussed on entirely new? – Is the way the subject been investigated different to the ‘normal’ approaches? – Has new light been shed on previously explored issues? .The overall contribution of the conceptual framework • The conceptual framework encapsulates the research as it: – Sets out the focus and content. • Thus it can be/will be the focus/starting point of the evaluation of originality in terms of the criteria outlined by Hart (1998).

The End .

References .

(1994): “Case Study Research: Design and Methods. Maslow A (1954): “Motivation and Personality. John Wiley and Sons. (1998): Doing a Literature Review. Jennings G. M. Sage. Australia. B.” (2 nd edition) California. (2001): Tourism Research. K. (2003): “Diffusion of Innovations. Rogers. Sage.” London. A. Yin R.” 5th Edition.” Issues In Educational Research. M. London. Beverley Hills. Volume 14. & Huberman. (2004): “Exploring the Usefulness of a Conceptual Framework as a Research Tool: A Researcher's Reflections. Miles.M. . Simon and Schuster.References • • • • • • • Hart C. E.” New York: Harper. Sage.. (1994): “Qualitative Data Analysis: An Expanded Sourcebook” (2nd edition). Smyth R.