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Developing the

theoretical and
conceptual
J199 lecture, R.E.Khan
framework
Edited and updated by:
M. B. dela Fuente

Theory
Theories are constructed in order to explain, predict
and master phenomena (e.g. relationships, events, or
the behavior). In many instances we are constructing
models of reality.
A theory makes generalizations about observations and
consists of an interrelated, coherent set of ideas and
models.

Formulating the Theoretical
Framework
The theoretical framework of the study is a structure
that can hold or support a theory of a research work.
It presents the theory which explains why the
problem under study exists.
Thus, the theoretical framework is but a theory that
serves as a basis for conducting research.

Formulating the Theoretical Framework
Purpose:
• It helps the researcher see clearly the variables of
the study;
• It can provide him with a general framework for data
analysis;
• It is essential in preparing a research proposal using
descriptive and experimental methods.

For example:
Thesis examines the gatekeeping, news selection and
reportage of world news in leading Philippine dailies
and primetime newscasts.

Basic theory 1

Media Organization, Selection, and Production. McQuail’s
theory on media as an institution takes into account all forces
that affect media’s performance. (After: Littlejohn, 1992)

For example:
Basic theory 2

Selective Gatekeeping. Galtung and Ruge selective
gatekeeping theory suggests that news from around the world
are evaluated using news values to determine their
newsworthiness. (After Mc Quail and Windahl 1993, p. 166)

For example:
Basic theory 3

Model of the Agenda Setting Theory. Malcolm McCombs and
Donald Shaw’s theory simply states that the issues given most
attention by the media will be perceived as the most
important. (Before: McQuail and Windahl 1993)

For example:
Combined theory

Integrated Theoretical Framework. The integrated theoretical
framework shows how media content is shaped by pressures to
the media organization, selective gatekeeping and agenda
setting.

Based on the foregoing example, how should the
theoretical framework formulated?
1. specifies the theory used as basis for the study
2. mentions the proponents of the theory
3. cites the main points emphasized in the theory
4. Supports his exposition of the theory by ideas from
other experts;
5. illustrates his theoretical framework by means of a
diagram; and,
6. reiterates his theoretical proposition in the study.

Concept
After formulating the theoretical framework, the
researcher has to develop the conceptual framework of
the study.
A concept is an image or symbolic representation of an
abstract idea. Chinn and Kramer (1999) define a concept
as a “complex mental formulation of experience”.
While the theoretical framework is the theory on which
the study is based, the conceptual framework is the
operationalization of the theory.

Conceptual framework
It is the researcher’s own position on the problem and
gives direction to the study.
It may be an adaptation of a model used in a previous
study, with modifications to suit the inquiry.
Aside from showing the direction of the study, through
the conceptual framework, the researcher can be able
to show the relationships of the different constructs that
he wants to investigate.

Conceptual Framework

Conceptual Framework. News values, and the pressures and
constraints shape the newspapers and television newscasts. The
result of this relationship is selective reporting of events.

Operational Framework. Foreign news sections of Philippine
newspapers and foreign news segments of television newscasts
are shaped by the interests of owners, editorial policies,
audience and advertisements. The criteria for selection of
foreign news, the news values, also affect the foreign news
coverage. These factors result in unequal treatment of stories
and paved way for the dominance of some topics and of some
regions in foreign news coverage of media.

Based on the foregoing example, how should the
conceptual framework formulated?
1. cite your conceptual framework or paradigm;
2. Identify your variables;
3. Point out the dependent and intervening variables;
4. Show the direction of the study.
Once the conceptual framework has been determined,
the next for the researcher is to determine what
research methods to employ to best answer the
research problem through the proposed framework.

Research design depends on the nature of the data
to analyzed.
Quantitative data – when your thesis problem
requires numerical measurements of traits, trends,
characteristics or attributes of the subject matter;
Analysis leads researcher to:
• depict what is typical and atypical among the data;
• show the degree of difference or relationship
between two or more variables;
• determine the likelihood that the findings are real for
the population as opposed to having occurred only by
chance in the sample.

Qualitative data – when your thesis problem focuses
on the meanings, perceptions, symbols or
description of the subject matter.

Analysis leads researcher to:
• observe behaviors, situations, interactions and
environments;
• scrutinize these observations for patterns and
categories;
• answer research questions based on what can be
deduced from the findings.

Theoretical Framework for

IS/IT RESEARCH

• IS research involves the study of the
application of IT to organizations and
society.
• The goals are (1) to promote the
acquisition of knowledge, and (2) to
document how individuals, groups,
organizations and society can use IS
and technology more efficiently and
effectively.

• Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological
Approach to IS Research
• Software Engineering Research
Methodology (SERM)
• DAGS Framework (Adams, 2009)
• Task-Technology Fit Theory (TTF)

Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological
Approach to IS Research
• “a research methodology consists of the
combination of the process, methods
and tools that are used in conducting
research in a research domain.”
(Nunamaker as cited in Adams, 2009)
• Research strategies is composed of: (1)
observation, (2) theory building, (3)
systems development, and (4)
experimentation.

Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological Approach to IS Research

Research Life Cycle
1.
2.
3.
4.

Theory building
Experimentation
Observation
Systems Development

Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological Approach to IS Research

Research Model
• Theory Building involves:
– Development of new ideas and concepts
– Conceptual Frameworks
– Models
• Mathematical
• Simulation
• Data

– Methods
Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological Approach to IS Research

Theory Building Models
• Usually concerned with generic
system behaviors
• Subjected to rigorous analysis
• Mathematical models often have
constraining assumptions which limit
applicability of models
• Often display limited practical
relevance to the target domain
Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological Approach to IS Research

Relevance of a Theory
• Refers to potential insights and
impacts on practical applications
• Theory building or basic research
contributes to the body of knowledge
in a research domain but produces
no system that takes advantage of
this new knowledge

Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological Approach to IS Research

Theories May Be Used to
Suggest
• Research hypotheses
• Guide design of experiments
• Conduct systematic observations

Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological Approach to IS Research

Experimentation
• Laboratory and field experiments
• Computer and experimental
simulations
• Concerns itself with validation of
underlying theories

Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological Approach to IS Research

Experimental Designs Are:
• Guided by theories and
• Facilitated by systems development
• Used to refine theories and improve
systems

Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological Approach to IS Research

Observation
• Research methodologies
– Case studies
– Field studies
– Sample studies unobtrusively obtained

• Used to get a general feel for what is
involved

Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological Approach to IS Research

Observation
• Helps to formulate hypotheses to be
tested in experimentation or to focus
later investigations
• Insights are gained in natural, more
holistic settings, relevant to domain
studied

Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological Approach to IS Research

Researchers are expected
to report sufficient
contextual and
environmental conditions
to enable judgment of
limitations
Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological Approach to IS Research

31

It is extremely important that
other research
methodologies be employed
to support systems
development efforts
Software system by itself is not sufficient to
prove anything scientifically relevant.

Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological Approach to IS Research

32

Utilizing Different Research
Methodologies in System
Development
• Systems development is the hub of
research
• Interacts with other research to form an
integrated and dynamic research
program
• No one research methodology is
preeminent
Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological Approach to IS Research

Where multiple research
methodologies are
applicable, they appear to
be complimentary, providing
valuable feedback
to one another

Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological Approach to IS Research

34

Research Process
Apply valid
Research
Methodologies

+

Understand the
Research
Domains

Body of Knowledge
Knowledge of
Research
Methodologies

+

Knowledge of
Research
Domains

Results
contribute
to the
body of
knowledge

FRAMEWORK OF RESEARCH
Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological Approach to IS Research

35

System Development
Research Process
Construct a
Conceptual Framework
Develop a
System Architecture
Analyze &
Design the System
Build the
(Prototype) System
Observe & Evaluate
The System
Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological Approach to IS Research

Research Issues in

Design Science

Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological Approach to IS Research

Construct a Conceptual
Framework
• State a meaningful question
• Investigate the system functionalities
and requirements
• Understand the system building
processes/procedures
• Study relevant disciplines for new
approaches and ideas
Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological Approach to IS Research

Develop a System
Architecture
• Develop a unique architecture design
for extensibility, modularity, etc.
• Define functionalities of system
components and interrelationships
among them

Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological Approach to IS Research

Analyze & Design the
System
• Design the database/knowledge base
schema and processes to carry out
system functions
• Develop alternative solutions and
choose one solution

Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological Approach to IS Research

Build the System
• Learn through the system building
process about:
– Concepts
– Framework
– Design

• Gain insights about the problems and
the complexity of the system

Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological Approach to IS Research

Observe & Evaluate the
System
• Observe the use of the system by
experiments, case studies and field
studies
• Evaluate the system by laboratory
experiments or field experiments
• Develop new theories/models based on
the observation and experimentation of
the system’s usage
• Consolidate experiences learned
Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological Approach to IS Research

In Concluding…

Building a
system in and of
itself does not
constitute
research

Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological Approach to IS Research

43

Design Science Is Credible
As a Research Methodology
As just one of many
methodologies

Nunamaker’s Multi-methodological Approach to IS Research

44

Software Engineering Research
Methodology
• Based on the three phases of the
software engineering methodology:
conceptual, formal, and developmental.
• Conceptual phase
– Primary activity where the theoretical
foundation of the research effort is defined.
– Dependent on the clarity with which
problems are articulated, and the
understandability and translatability of the
concepts identified.
Software Engineering Research Methodology

Software Engineering Research
Methodology
• Formalization phase
– Concerned with the application of
mathematical or logic based techniques
to describe, develop and verify a
software system.
– The use of which reduces the possibility
of misconceptions and
misunderstandings.

Software Engineering Research Methodology

Software Engineering Research
Methodology
• Development phase
– Concerned with prototyping.
– Prototype allows researchers to study
the validity of their solution by studying
system performance in a controlled
environment.

Software Engineering Research Methodology

Software Engineering Research Methodology

DAGS Framework
• Integrates design science, action
research, grounded theory and
system development
methodologies in leveraging
information technology

DAGS Framework (Adams, 2009)

Design Science
• Described by R. Buckminister Fuller (as
cited in Adams, 2009) as
“The function of what I call design science is to
solve problems by introducing into the
environment new artifacts, the availability of
which will induce their spontaneous employment
by humans and thus, coincidentally, cause
humans to abandon their previous problemproducing behaviors and devices.”
DAGS Framework (Adams, 2009)

Design Science
• Applied research or research that
applies knowledge to solve practical
problems (Nunamaker 1991)
• Attempts to create things that serve
human purposes, as opposed to natural
and social sciences, which try to
understand reality. (March and Smith
1995)
• A problem solving paradigm that seeks
to create innovations (Hevner 2004)
DAGS Framework (Adams, 2009)

Design Science
• March and Smith (1994)
characterized design science
products or outputs as being four
types:
– Constructs
– Models
– Methods
– Instantiations
DAGS Framework (Adams, 2009)

Design Science
• Constructs – concepts form the
vocabulary of a domain. They constitute a
conceptualization used to describe
problems within the domain and to specify
their solutions.
• Models – a set of propositions or
statements expressing relationships
among constructs. Models represent a
situation as problem and solution
statements.
DAGS Framework (Adams, 2009)

Design Science
• Methods – a set of steps (algorithms)
used to perform a task. Methods are
based on a set of underlying constructs
(language) and a representation (model)
of the solution space.
• Instantiations – an implementation is
the realization of an artifact in its
environment, an instantiation that
operationalizes constructs, models and
methods.
DAGS Framework (Adams, 2009)

Action Research
• Qualitative approaches to IS research
are gaining acceptance as a valid
research methodology.
• Action research is a popular and
accepted methodology primarily
because it associates research and
practice, research informs practice
and practice informs research
synergistically.
DAGS Framework (Adams, 2009)

Action Research
• Conceived as an approach in studying
social psychology within the framework of
field theory.
• Over a dozen different manifestations have
been identified, characterized by different
models, structures and goals.
• Susman and Evered (1978) detailed a five
phase cyclical process requiring the
establishment of a client-system research
environment.
DAGS Framework (Adams, 2009)

DAGS Framework (Adams, 2009)

Grounded Theory
• Designed to cultivate an integrated set of
concepts that offer a thorough theoretical
explanation of the social phenomena
under study.
• Grounded theory is an inductive, theory
discovery methodology that allows the
researcher to develop a theoretical
account of the general features of a topic
while simultaneously grounding the
account in empirical observations or data.
DAGS Framework (Adams, 2009)

Grounded Theory
• It implies that theory must be developed
from a systematic analysis of empirical
data.
• The objective is the discovery of a
theoretically comprehensive explanation
about the phenomenon using techniques
and analytical procedures that enable
investigators to develop a theory that is
significant, generalizable, reproducible
and rigorous.
DAGS Framework (Adams, 2009)

DAGS Framework (Adams, 2009)

Elements of Grounded
Theory
• Three basic elements of grounded
theory: concepts, categories, and
propositions.
– Concepts – basic unit of analysis since it is
from conceptualization of data that theories
are developed.
– Categories – more abstract than the
concepts they represent.
– Propositions – indicators of the generalized
relationship between a category and its
concepts between discrete categories.
DAGS Framework (Adams, 2009)

(Events) Grounded Theory
• Procedures and Cannons (Corbin and
Strauss, 1990)
1. Data Collection and Analysis are
Interrelated Processes
2. Concepts are the Basic Units of Analysis
3. Categories are the Basic Units of Analysis
4. Sampling in Grounded Theory proceeds on
Theoretical Grounds
5. Analysis makes use of Constant
Comparisons
DAGS Framework (Adams, 2009)

(Events) Grounded Theory
6. Patterns and Variations must be Accounted for
7. Process Must Be Built into the Theory
8. Writing Theoretical Memorandums is an
integral part of doing Grounded Theory
9. Hypotheses about relationships among
categories should be developed and verified
as much as possible during the research
process
10.A grounded theorist need not work alone
11.Broader structural conditions must be
analyzed, however microscopic the research.
DAGS Framework (Adams, 2009)

(Building Theory) Grounded
Theory
• Developed for the purpose of studying
social phenomena using a systematic
set of data collection and analysis
procedures to develop inductively
derived theory from the data.
• Theory construction process (Charmaz,
2002): (1) Coding and Categorizing, (2)
Memo-writing, (3) Theoretical Sampling
DAGS Framework (Adams, 2009)

System Development
• Primary purpose is to add to the body
of knowledge about the creation and
evaluation of software design,
development and implementation
issues by investigating “all aspects of
the software development process,
including software formulation,
implementation, description,
evolution, modeling and evaluation.”
DAGS Framework (Adams, 2009)

System Development
• Study the effective design, delivery,
use and impact of information
technology in organizations and society.
• A variety of approaches and
methodologies have been employed
and are categorized into four generally
accepted research approaches
(Morrison and George, 1995).
DAGS Framework (Adams, 2009)

System Development
– Formulative research - development
and refinement of theories, models or
frameworks that guide research
activities and support scientific progress
through paradigm shifts.
– Evaluative research - methodologies
that employ the scientific method and
normally consist of theory or model
generation or observation followed by
hypothesis generation and testing.
DAGS Framework (Adams, 2009)

System Development
– Descriptive research – the
development and description of theories
or models to provide the input for
developing units of theory, its laws of
interaction, system states and model
boundaries.
– Developmental research – generation
of knowledge for examining or solving
general problems.
DAGS Framework (Adams, 2009)

System Development Research
Methodology
• An age-old method and process that
humans used to study nature and to
create new products.
• Nunamaker argue that the synthesis
and expression of new technologies
and new concepts in a tangible
product can act as both contribution
to both basic and applied research.
DAGS Framework (Adams, 2009)

System Development Research
Methodology
• Methodology is the philosophy of the
research process
1. Researcher identifies research problems
and related research questions;
2. Develops and evaluates a software
prototype
3. Evaluation of results may suggest revision
of prototype concepts, requirements, and
architecture, design and implementation
considerations.
DAGS Framework (Adams, 2009)

DAGS Framework (Adams, 2009)

Task-Technology Fit Theory
• Dependent factors: individual
performance, system utilization
• Independent factors: task characteristics,
technology characteristics
• TTF theory holds that IT is more likely to
have a positive impact on individual
performance and be used if the
capabilities of the IT match the tasks that
the user must perform (Goodhue and
Thompson, 1995)
Task-Technology Fit Theory (Goodhue and Thompson, 1995)

Task-Technology Fit Theory
• Measure of task-technology fit:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

Quality
Locatability
Factors are measured
using between two and
Authorization
ten questions with
Compatibility
responses on a seven
Ease of use/training point scale ranging from
Production timeliness strongly disagree to
strongly agree.
Systems reliability
Relationship with users

Task-Technology Fit Theory (Goodhue and Thompson, 1995)

Task-Technology Fit Theory
• TTF measure is found to be a
significant predictor of user reports
of improved job performance and
effectiveness that was attributable to
their use of the system under
investigation.

Task-Technology Fit Theory (Goodhue and Thompson, 1995)

Task-Technology Fit Theory (Goodhue and Thompson, 1995)

References

Adams, Lascelles A. (2009) “DAGS: An Information System
Design Research Framework Supporting the Design,
Development and Delivery of More Effective Information
Systems”. (Doctoral Dissertation)
Nunamaker, J.F. Jr., Chen, M., Purdin, T.D. (1991) “Systems
Development in Information Systems Research”, Journal of
Management Information Systems.
York University. “Theories Used in IS Research - Task
Technology Fit” (http://
www.istheory.yorku.ca/tasktechnologyfit.htm last accessed
Sep 8, 2013)
IS Theory (list of IS theories as compiled by BYU) (http://
istheory.byu.edu/wiki/Main_Page)