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Theoretical Framework and

Conceptual Framework:
Rudiments of A Good Research

Dickson Adom
What is a Theoretical Framework

 It is the ‘blueprint’ or guide for a research (Grant &

Osanloo, 2014). It is ‘borrowed’ by the researcher to build
his/her own house.
 It serves as the foundation upon which a research is

 Sinclair (2007) compares the role of the theoretical

framework to that of a map or travel plan.

 Brondizio, Leemans, and Solecki (2014) contend that it is

the specific theory or theories about aspects of human
endeavour that can be useful to the study of events.
What is a Theoretical Framework
 All aspects of the dissertation research should connect to
the theoretical framework (Grant & Osanloo, 2014).

 The relevant theory or theories that underpin the

knowledge base of the phenomenon to be researched.

 It consists of theoretical principles, constructs, concepts,

and tenants of a theory (Grant & Osanloo, 2014).

 Make a unique application of the selected theory so as to

apply the theoretical constructs to his/her dissertation
Importance of Theoretical
Framework in Research

 It provides the structure to define how a researcher

defines his/her study philosophically, epistemologically,
methodology and analytically (Grant & Osanloo, 2014).

 It normally serves as the focus for the research study and

it is linked to the research problem under study.
Importance of Theoretical
Framework in Research
 It guides a researcher’s choice of research design and
data analysis plan.

 It provides a common worldview or lens from which to

support one’s thinking on the problem and analysis of
data (Grant & Osanloo, 2014).

 The theoretical framework guides and must resonates

with every aspect of the research (Statement of the
problem, Literature Review, Methodology, Presentation
and Discussion of Findings).
Importance of Theoretical
Framework in Research
 The theoretical framework guides the kind of data to be
collected (Lester, 2005).

 Simon and Goes (2011) as well as Maxwell (2004) avers

that theoretical frameworks deepen the essence of the

 It convinces readers that the study is not based on the

personal instincts of the researcher but rather on
established theory gathered via credible studies.
Examples of Theoretical Framework

 Transformational Theory
 Culture Theory
 Cognitive Theory
 Gender Theory
 Behavioral Theory
 Developmental Theory
 Human Environment Relations Theory
 Culture Ecology Theory
 Culture Determinism Theory
How To Construct a Theoretical

 There is no one perfect or right theory for a dissertation,

though certain theories are popular (Grant & Osanloo,

 The theory must reflect the understanding of the

researcher regarding the study and must direct the study
(Simon & Goes, 2011).

 The selection of a theoretical framework requires a

thorough understanding of the problem, purpose,
significance and research questions of a study (Grant &
Osanloo, 2014).
How To Construct a Theoretical

 The chosen theoretical framework must accentuate the

purpose and importance of the study dissertation (Grant
& Osanloo, 2014).

 Consider the guiding principles of the study and situate

the problem in relation to a theoretical context.

 The research questions of the study must entail

noticeable aspects of the theoretical framework and must
agree with the assertions promulgated by the theorists of
the selected theory (Maxwell, 2004).
How To Construct a Theoretical
 The research findings accrued finally from the study may
support, extend, or modify an existing theory that was
borrowed for the study (Lester, 2005).

 The researcher may critique, develop and/or expand the

theory that served as a guide for his/her study vis-à-vis
the findings gleaned from the study (Grant & Osanloo,

 Munhall and Chenail (2008) contend that this should be

done at the data analysis stage.
How To Construct a Theoretical
 Using Grant and Osanloo (2014) checklist to identify the
suitable theoretical framework for a study:

1. What discipline will the theory be applied to?

2. Does the theory agree with the methodology plan for the
3. Is the theory to be selected well developed with many
theoretical constructs?
4. Have specific concepts or theoretical principles been
selected to meet the objectives of the study?
How To Construct a Theoretical
5. Does the problem of the study, the purpose and
importance of the study correlates with the theoretical
6. Can the theory be used hand in hand with the research
questions for the study?
7. Does the theoretical framework inform the literature
8. Does the data analysis plan agrees with the selected
theoretical framework?
9. Does the theoretical framework undergirds the
conclusions and recommendations based on the data
How To Construct a Theoretical
Simon and Goes (2011) also suggest some points that can
help articulate the theory for an informed research:

1. The main concern for inquiry in the research

2. The key variables in the research
3. Read and review current related literature on the topic
using key word search.
4. List the constructs and variables that might be relevant
for the study.
5. Consider how the variables are related to the theory
How To Construct a Theoretical
6. Revise the search and add the word ‘theory’ to the key
words to find the theories and theorists most in line with
the thinking of the researcher.
7. Discuss the propositions of each theory and highlight its
relevance to the research.
8. Consider alternative theories that challenges the
perspectives of the researcher.
9. Consider the limitations associated with the selected
theory which the problem to be investigated can help
address or provide logic explanations.
Where To Place The Theoretical
Framework in A Thesis

 The student must select and clarify a theoretical framework

from the time the dissertation topic is initially conceptualized
(Dooyeweerd as cited in Sire, 2004).

 Staunch researchers profess that the researcher’s choice

of a theory must be stated explicitly early in the writing of a
dissertation (Grant & Osanloo, 2014).

 Mertens (1998) argues that the theoretical framework

influence every decision made by the researcher in the
carrying out of the research.
What is Conceptual Framework

 Conceptual framework is a structure which the researcher

believes could best explain the natural progression of the
phenomenon to be studied (Camp, 2001).

It offers a logical structure of connected concepts that help

provide a picture or visual display of how ideas in a study
relate to one another (Grant & Osanloo, 2014).

It assists the researcher to specify and define the concepts

within the problem of the study (Luse, Mennecke &
Townsend, 2012).
What is Conceptual Framework

 It represents an integrated way of looking at a problem

under study (Liehr & Smith, 1999).

 It is seen as an outline of courses of action or preferred

approach to a thought to be carried out in a research
study (Dixon, Gulliver & Gibbon, 2001).

 Miles and Huberman (1994, p.18) opine that conceptual

frameworks can be ‘graphical or in a narrative form
showing the key variables or constructs to be studied and
the presumed relationships between them’.
Importance of Conceptual Framework in

 It aids the researcher to identify and construct his/her

worldview and approach to the topic of study (Grant &
Osanloo, 2014).

 It brings together related concepts to explain or predict a

given event or give a detailed understanding of the
research problem and its asserted solution (Liehr &
Smith, 1999).

 It accentuates the reasons why a research topic is worth

studying, the assumptions of a researcher, the scholars
s/he agrees with and disagrees with and how s/he
conceptually grounds his/her approach (Evans, 2007).
How To Construct a Conceptual
 Mostly, diagrams are created to clearly define the
constructs or variables of the research topic and their
relationships are shown by the use of arrows.

 Researchers are at liberty to adopt existing frameworks,

but have to modify it to suit the nature of the context of
their research as well as the nature of their research
questions (Fisher, 2007).

 Fisher adds that a good conceptual framework must also

be expressed in writing for it to be understood clearly.
Differences Between Theoretical
Framework and Conceptual Framework

 Theoretical framework is curled from an existing theory or

theories in the literature that has already been tested and
validated by others and is considered as an acceptable
theory in the scholarly literature (Grant & Osanloo, 2014).

 Conceptual framework is the researcher’s understanding

of how the research problem will be explored, the specific
direction the research will have to take, and the relationship
between the different variables in the study.
Differences Between Theoretical
Framework and Conceptual Framework
 While a whole theory may serve as one’s theoretical
framework, a conceptual framework is carefully put
together in the form of a conceptual model and
immediately applied to a particular study (Liehr & Smith,

 Theoretical framework is derived from a theory while

conceptual framework is derived from concepts.
Where To Place The Conceptual
Framework in A Thesis

 Since the theoretical perspectives of the main

variables or constructs of a study are rigorously
reviewed in chapter two of a thesis, the conceptual
framework are mostly placed in the chapter two.
Culture Theory

 Propounded by Milton (1996) postulates that the views of

any individual on matters are shaped by their social group
and cultural practices (Tansey & O’riordan, 1999).
 Understanding the value systems of these practices of
people can give practical insights and help
environmentalists make intelligent decisions concerning the
conservation and sustainability (Serrat, 2008).


Culture Determinism Theory
 It was propounded by the German/American Anthropologist
Franz Boas in 1920.

 Posits that the emotional and behavioural patterns of man is

formed and molded entirely by their culture. Cultural
factors fully determine environmental activities
(Teasley, 2003).

Pandey’s (2000) Conservation of
Biodiversity in Landscape Continuum
Conceptual Framework

 There is a strong link between the biodiversity not just in the

Protected Areas but also the landscape continuum with the
cultural practices of a people.

 Traditional conservation ethos is reflected in cultural

practices such as sacred groves, taboos, ceremonies and
religious beliefs.

 Traditional conservation ethos in the cultural practices is still

capable of protecting the decimating biodiversity.
Conceptual Framework for the Study

Conservation of Ghana’s

Develop traditional Scientific biodiversity

biodiversity conservation conservation strategy

Philosophical Underwritings of
Conservation values and Ethos

Festivals Asante Cultural and Artistic Usage and Conservation of
Taboos Practices Ghana’s Biodiversity
Cosmological Beliefs
Conceptual Framework for the study

 The Asante cultural and artistic practices have a strong

relationship with the usage of Ghana’s biodiversity.

 The traditional conservation ethos enshrined in the cultural

and artistic practices still hold great worth in the
conservation of biodiversity in modern societies.

 Believes traditional biodiversity strategy can be developed

from those conservation ethos to complement the scientific
models of conservation popularly used in Ghana.
Thank you
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