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The theoretical and conceptual framework explains the path of a research and grounds it firmly in theoretical constructs. The overall aim of the two frameworks is to make research findings more meaningful, acceptable to the theoretical constructs in the research field and ensures generalizability. They assist in stimulating research while ensuring the extension of knowledge by providing both direction and impetus to the research inquiry. They also enhance the empiricism and rigor of a research. Thus, it is no exaggeration for Imenda (2014) to say that both the theoretical and conceptual frameworks give life to a research. Unfortunately, many postgraduate students and faculty staff at universities are confused of the two terms and apply them wrongly in their research papers. As a result, their research findings become weak because of the inappropriate application of a suitable theoretical framework and/or conceptual framework. This blurs the understanding of readers of the research paper who are lost, not knowing the purpose of the study, the importance of the study and the scholars the researcher is in dialogue with, whether in agreement or disagreement (Evan, 2007). A research without the theoretical or conceptual framework makes it difficult for readers in ascertaining the academic position and the underlying factors to the researcher's assertions and/or hypotheses. This renders the research sloppy and not appreciable as contributing significantly to the advancement of the frontiers of knowledge. This article explains with clear understanding, the two frameworks and how they could be utilized efficiently in the research expedition.
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Dickson Adom*
Department of Educational Innovations in Science and Technology, Kwame Nkrumah
University of Science and Technology, P.O. Box NT 1Kumasi, Ghana *Corresponding Author
Emad Kamil
Associate Professor/Head of Scientific Committee, Al-Furat Al-Awsat Technical
University, Iraq
Joe Adu Agyem
Department of Educational Innovations in Science and Technology, Kwame Nkrumah
University of Science and Technology, P.O. Box NT 1Kumasi, Ghana
The theoretical and conceptual framework explains the path of a
research and grounds it firmly in theoretical constructs. The overall
aim of the two frameworks is to make research findings more
meaningful, acceptable to the theoretical constructs in the research
field and ensures generalizability. They assist in stimulating research
while ensuring the extension of knowledge by providing both direction
and impetus to the research inquiry. They also enhance the empiricism
and rigor of a research. Thus, it is no exaggeration for Imenda (2014) to
say that both the theoretical and conceptual frameworks give life to a
research. Unfortunately, many postgraduate students and faculty staff
at universities are confused of the two terms and apply them wrongly in
their research papers. As a result, their research findings become weak
because of the inappropriate application of a suitable theoretical
fr a me wor k and /or c onc ept u al fra mew ork . Th is bl urs t he
understanding of readers of the research paper who are lost, not
knowing the purpose of the study, the importance of the study and the
scholars the researcher is in dialogue with, whether in agreement or
disagreement (Evan, 2007). A research without the theoretical or
conceptual framework makes it difficult for readers in ascertaining the
academic position and the underlying factors to the researcher’s
assertions and/or hypotheses. This renders the research sloppy and not
appreciable as contributing significantly to the advancement of the
frontiers of knowledge. This article explains with clear understanding,
the two frameworks and how they could be utilized efficiently in the
research expedition.
What is a Theoretical Framework?
It is the ‘blueprint’ or guide for a research (Grant & Osanloo, 2014). It
is a framework based on an existing theory in a field of inquiry that is
related and/or reflects the hypothesis of a study. It is a blueprint that is
often ‘borrowed’ by the researcher to build his/her own house or
research inquiry. It serves as the foundation upon which a research is
constructed. Sinclair (2007) as well as Fulton and Krainovich-Miller
(2010) compare the role of the theoretical framework to that of a map
or travel plan. Thus, when travelling to a particular location, the map
guides your path. Likewise, the theoretical framework guides the
researcher so that s/he would not deviate from the confines of the
accepted theories to make his/her final contribution scholarly and
academic. Thus, Brondizio, Leemans, and Solecki (2014) concur that
the theoretical framework is the specific theory or theories about
aspects of human endeavor that can be useful to the study of events.
The the oretical f ramework consists of the ore tical p rin ciples,
constructs, concepts, and tenants of a theory (Grant & Osanloo, 2014).
In a postgraduate thesis or dissertation research, all aspects of the
research are expected to connect to the theoretical framework (Grant &
Osanloo, 2014). The student must tactfully select the relevant theory or
theories that underpin the knowledge base of the phenomenon to be
investigated. The student is expected to make a unique application of
the selected theory so as to apply the theoretical constructs to his/her
dissertation study.
The Importance of Theoretical Framework in Research
The theoretical framework offers several benefits to a research work. It
provides the structure in showing how a researcher defines his/her
stud y p hi lo so ph ic al ly, epi st em ol og ic al ly, me th od ol og y an d
analytically (Grant & Osanloo, 2014). Ravitch and Carl (2016) concur
that the theoretical framework assist researchers in situating and
contextualizing formal theories into their studies as a guide. This
positions their studies in scholarly and academic fashion. Moreover,
the theoretical framework serves as the focus for the research and it is
linked to the research problem under study. Therefore, it guides a
researcher’s choice of research design and data analysis plan. The
theoretical framework also guides the kind of data to be accrued for a
particular study (Lester, 2005). The theoretical framework, thus, aids
the researcher in finding an appropriate research approach, analytical
tools and procedures for his/her research inquiry. It makes research
findings more meaningful and generalizable (Akintoye, 2015). Imenda
(2014) clearly posits that a research without the theoretical framework
lacks accurate direction to the search of appropriate literature and
scholarly discussions of the findings from the research. For other
scholars in the field of inquiry, the theoretical framework provides a
common worldview or lens from which to support one’s thinking about
the problem and analysis of data (Grant & Osanloo, 2014).
The theoretical framework guides and should resonate with every
aspect of the research process from the definition of the problem,
literature survey, methodology, presentation and discussion of the
findings as well as the conclusions that are drawn. Eisenhart (1991)
contends that the theoretical framework helps the researcher in
considering alternative theories that might challenge his or her
perspective, thereby enriching the strengths of the study. Simon and
Goes (2011) as well as Maxwell (2004) aver tha t theoretical
frameworks deepen the essence of the study. Thus, research proposals
that require funding must clearly show the theoretical framework that
pivots the intended research. It convinces funding agencies that the
research inquiry is worth supporting. For scholars in the field and
readers, the proper selection and presence of a theoretical framework
convinces them that the study is not based on the personal instincts of
the researcher but rather is firmly rooted in an established theory
selected via credible studies (Akintoye, 2015).
How to Select a Suitable Theoretical Framework
There is no one perfect or right theory for a dissertation, though certain
theories are popular (Grant & Osanloo, 2014). Yet, the adoption or
Volume-7 | Issue-1 | January-2018 | ISSN No 2277 - 8179 | IF : 4.176 | IC Value : 93.98
Theoretical and conceptual frameworks guide the paths of a research and offer the foundation for establishing its credibility. Though these terms
seem similar, they are different from each other in concept and in their roles in the research inquiry. However, many students find it difficult and
confusing to distinguish between these two closely related frameworks while defining their roles in their research. Yet, the inclusion of a theoretical
and/or conceptual framework is a mandatory requirement in a thesis or dissertation that shows the student’s map of the research s/he seeks to
undertake. A good comprehension of both frameworks would inure to a good investigation. This article explains the meanings of the terms, their
importance in the research process, their difference and similarities while offering insightful suggestions on how they can be constructed and
utilized for a particular research.
International Journal of Scientific Research
ISSN No 2277 - 8179 | IF : 4.176 | IC Value : 93.98Volume-7 | Issue-1 | January-2018
adaptation of a theory must reflect the understanding of the researcher
regarding the study and must drive 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. This is important because when the selection is
poorly done, it would be as if the researcher is using a wrong bolt to
forcibly fix a wrong nut. The chosen theoretical framework must
accentuate the purpose and importance of the study dissertation (Grant
& Osanloo, 2014). To make an appropriate selection of a theoretical
context, the researcher must consider the guiding principles of the
study and situate the problem in relation to it. The research questions of
the study and the purpose 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;
LoBiondo-Wood, 2010).
After the entire study has been conducted, the research findings
accrued from the study must corroborate, extend, or modify the
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, 2014). Munhall and Chenail (2008) contend
that this critique is often carried out in the data analysis stage of the
research before the final conclusions of the study are drawn. Grant and
Osanloo (2014) present a checklist that can aid researchers to be able to
identify the suitable theoretical framework for their research inquiry.
The authors have succinctly put them into questions that must be
reliably answered by the researcher to convince him/her that the
selection of a theory or theories is appropriate for a particular study.
These questions are:
1. What discipline will the theory be applied to?
2. Does the theory agree with the methodology plan for the study?
3. Is the theory to be selected well developed with many theoretical
4. Have specific concepts or theoretical principles been selected to
meet the objectives of the study?
5. Does the problem of the study, the purpose and importance of the
study correlate with the theoretical framework?
6. Can the theory be used hand in hand with the research questions
for the study?
7. Does the theoretical framework inform the literature review?
8. Does the data analysis plan agree with the selected theoretical
9. Does the theoretical framework undergird the conclusions and
recommendations based on the data analysis?
Simon and Goes (2011) also suggest some points that can help
articulate the theory for an informed research. The important keys the
researcher have to satisfy include:
1. Knowing the main concern for inquiry into the research
2. Ascertaining the key variables in the research
3. Reading and reviewing current related literature on the topic using
key word search.
4. Listing the constructs and variables that might be relevant for the
5. Considering how the variables are related to the theory
6. Revising the search while adding the word ‘theory’ to the key
words to find the theories and theorists most in line with the
thinking of the researcher.
7. Discussing the propositions of each theory and highlight its
relevance to the research.
8. Considering alternative theories that challenge the perspectives
of the researcher.
9. Considering the limitations associated with the selected theory
which the problem to be investigated can help address or provide
logic explanations.
The Position of a Theoretical Framework in a Thesis/Dissertation
Many research instructors and postgraduate students usually wonder
where a theoretical framework is supposed to be placed in a
dissertation or thesis research. Many scholars suggest that the
theoretical framework needs to be shown readers right at the onset of
the thesis writing. The student is supposed to select and clarify the
theoretical framework from the time the dissertation topic is initially
conceptualized (Dooyeweerd as cited in Sir e, 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). This popular view is not misplaced because Mertens (1998)
argues that the theoretical framework influence every decision made
by the researcher in the carrying out of the research. As such, it needs
an early mention in a dissertation or thesis writing.
Example of Theoretical Framework
As it has already been highlighted, the selection of a theory depends on
the discipline or field of research. Even within a particular discipline, a
specific theory or theories that resonate with the area of inquiry must be
selected. The authors illustrate this with an example of a study in
Cultural Anthropology. A student is undertaking a research into how
the cultures of a group of people influence their attitudes towards the
environment. In such a scenario, there are various theories in the field
of study that agrees with the problem for investigation. These include
the Human Environment Relations Theory, The Culture Theory, The
Cultural Ecology Theory, Historical Ecology Theory, Environmental
Determinism Theory, Culture Determinism Theory and so forth.
Though these theories all postulate that people and their cultures have a
relation with the environment, their internal workings and approach to
the subject differs. Therefore, it is the student/researcher who has to
read and deepen his/her understanding of the theories, including the
exponents, historical background information of the theory, its
exponents, its t heo ret ica l constructs, an d assumptions of it s
proponents, the strengths and weaknesses before s/he can make an
appropriate selection in line with the problem and research questions
laid out for the study.
Fig. 1 The Theoretical Framework Cultural Ecology
Source: Adopted from Steward (1968)
What is a Conceptual Framework?
A conceptual framework is a structure which the researcher believes
can best explain the natural progression of the phenomenon to be
studied (Camp, 2001). It is linked with the concepts, empirical
research and important theories used in promoting and systemizing the
knowledge espoused by the researcher (Peshkin, 1993). It is the
researcher’s explanation of how the research problem would be
explored. The conceptual framework presents an integrated way of
looking at a problem under study (Liehr & Smith, 1999). In a statistical
perspective, the conceptual framework describes the relationship
between the main concepts of a study. It is arranged in a logical
structure to aid provide a picture or visual display of how ideas in a
study relate to one another (Grant & Osanloo, 2014). Interestingly, it
shows the series of action the researcher intends carrying out in a
research study (Dixon, Gulliver & Gibbon, 2001). The framework
makes it easier for the researcher to easily specify and define the
concepts within the problem of the study (Luse, Mennecke &
Townsend, 2012). 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.’
The Importance of Conceptual Framework in Research
The conceptual framework offers many benefits to a research. For
instance, it assists the researcher in identifying and constructing
his/her worldview on the phenomenon to be investigated (Grant &
Osanloo, 2014). It is the simplest way through which a researcher
presents his/her asserted remedies to the problem s/he has defined
(Liehr & Smith, 1999; Akintoye, 2015). 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). Akintoye (2015) posits that
the conceptual framework is mostly used by researchers when existing
theories are not applicable or sufficient in creating a firm structure for
the study.
How to Construct a Conceptual Framework
Other parts of culture
International Journal of Scientific Research
Conceptual frameworks are always constructed by researchers (Polit
& Tatano, 2004). Ravich and Carl (2016) aver that conceptual
frameworks are generative frameworks that reflects the thinking of the
entire research process. 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. Latham (2017) argues that the entire
methodology must agree with the varia bles , as well as their
relationships and context. 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. This means that
after a researcher has craftily produced a diagrammatic representation
of the main variables of the study, s/he has to explain the relations
among them and how their complementation helps in answering the
major research problem defined.
Difference between a Conceptual Framework and a Theoretical
Many students and researchers usually ask whether the theoretical
framework is the same as the conceptual framework. Sometimes,
researchers develop their conceptual frameworks from the theories
that underpin their research. Though these frameworks work hand in
hand, they have characteristics that make them different from each
other. The differences have been outlined in Table 1.
Table 1: The Differences between Theoretical Framework and
Conceptual Framework
Source: Authors’ Construct
The Position of a Conceptual Framework in a Research
The conceptual framework is mostly placed in the chapter where the
literature survey was discussed. It is in this chapter that the theoretical
perspectives of the main variables or constructs are rigorously
reviewed. In most dissertation or thesis papers, the literature survey is
discussed in chapter two.
Examples of Conceptual Framework
There are many designs of the conceptual framework that researchers
have designed and utilized in their studies. However, the authors
present two simple conceptual framework designs from two studies,
namely a research on child literacy (Figure 2) and a study on the
research procedural steps (Figure 3).
Figure 2: Conceptual Framework on Child Literacy Research
Source: Adop ted fro m ht tp:// w ww. monas h. /hdr/
design/2.2.1.html (Accessed 11/8/2017)
Figure 3: Conceptual Framework on the Research Procedural Steps
Source: Adopted from
of-li terat ur e-hyp ot hesis -and-co ncept ua l-fra me work- 6584834 1
(Accessed 10/8/2017)
This paper has thoroughly discussed the importance of theoretical and
conceptual frameworks in a research. It has given enough justifications
on why their inclusion in a research is indispensable because they
heighten the quality of a research. Also, it has thoroughly explained the
meanings of the two frameworks, their distinctive roles that they play
in the research process, their differences, how they are constructed and
where they must be presented in a dissertation or thesis research write-
up. Researchers and students must tactfully incorporate theoretical
and/or conceptual framework in their research inquires to increase
their robustness in all its aspects.
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Theoretical Framework
It provides a general or
broader set of ideas within
which a study belongs.
It is based on existing
theory/theories in the
literature which has been
tested and validated by
other scholars.
It is in the form of a model
that pivots a study, with its
exponents and the results of
their studies.
It is well developed,
designed and accepted.
It offers a focal point for
approaching the unknown
research in a specific field
of inquiry.
It consists of theories that
seem interrelated with their
propositions deduced.
It is used to test theories, to
predict and control the
situations within the context
of a research inquiry.
International Journal of Scientific Research
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International Journal of Scientific Research
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La demencia es actualmente una de las enfermedades más comunes que afecta a las personas mayores, siendo la séptima causa principal de muerte. Provoca pérdida de memoria, dificultad para razonar y, por consiguiente, dificultades para tomar y ejecutar decisiones, por lo que las tecnologías de asistencia y estimulación cognitiva son valiosos recursos en el proceso de cuidado. Desde una investigación teórica basada en la bioética de los cuidados en salud y en las investigaciones de Aline Albuquerque y Victor Montori, este artículo aborda, en primer lugar, el concepto de bioética en el cuidado de la salud, la atención centrada en el paciente y la idea de empatía clínica; en segundo lugar, se centra en el empleo de tecnologías asistivas para el cuidado de adultos mayores con demencia y, por último, plantea la discusión sobre si el proceso de atención podría ser considerado como una tecnología sanitaria.
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Purpose: Testing influence mandatory knowledge relationship tax with mediation intention pay tax to obedience tax in effort support security Indonesian state revenue at KPP Madya Bekasi Kota.Design/ Methodology/Approach: Unit of analysis is Must Taxes that have report notification letter Annual 202 2 . Primary data in the form questionnaire with Likert scale 1-5. Data is processed use Lisrel 8.80. Approach study is explanative quantitative research with measurement indicator reflective . Validity test whole variable own valid and reliable predicate . The average value of the loading factor by whole variable latency used is valid as measure compliance with tax variables, Findings: Intention must tax as variable knowledge mediation must tax influential positive significant to obedience tax . Implications Practical: Required inspection must tax Good must corporate tax and must personal tax in order to test implementation self assessment system in Indonesia in effort increase obedience tax Originality/value: Deliver contribution to Service Office Bekasi City Middle Tax that knowledge must tax with mediation intention pay tax can influence obedience tax inside effort help security Indonesian state revenue .
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The use of mobile devices in the teaching-learning process has grown exponentially over the last few years and continues to grow. We conducted research that was carried out to ascertain the adoption of mobile devices at ZCAS University. The importance of our research was to understand where mobile devices fit into the modern higher education. Previous research utilised The Technological Acceptance Model (TAM) and the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) however theUnified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) model was utilised as it was the most accurate and relevant. With our meticulous and detailed research which included literature reviews, data collection and critical analysis we reached a conclusion that ZCAS University students have embraced mobile learning devices in their pursuit of higher education. Easy users' ability and navigation on mobile learning platforms has proven to be key in driving adoption as well as the inter-activeness that takes place between the student and lecturer. The results showed that the UTAUT model does a stellar job in highlighting that ZCAS-U students have accepted the use of mobile devices to a great degree.
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It has been discovered over the years that most students lack a proper understanding of both theoretical framework (TF) and conceptual framework (CF) and the distinctions between the two. The researcher is required to anchor the work on either a conceptual framework or a theoretical framework. Both are essential ingredents for research studies because they both lay the foundation for interpreting and understanding the phenomena under study as both terms are used interchangeably despite their distinct meanings and purposeful uses. This article tends to give a conceptual clarification of these two concepts, their development and importance. Data were obtained from secondary sources-documentary survey type. It used content analysis to analyse data. The study is enriely a library desk research without any fieldwork component. The study revealed the distinction, importance, construction and development of conceptual and theoretical frameworks. As conceptual defines the key concepts, variables, and relationships in a research study as a roadmap that outlines the researcher's understanding of how different concepts are interrelated, the theoretical present a structure of theories, models, and concepts that guide the research process and helps the researchers to develop the research questions or the needed hypotheses. The study recommended that researchers should take advantage of the two frameworks in their research activities because they will both clearly allow them to get a good idea of their work, benefit future readers and users and increase the work's stability. It also makes their findings generalizable.
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This article provides an explanation of the process for selecting a research topic. The article uses Kuhn’s classic work on scientific revolutions to delineate the steps in developing theoretical research within an area. The paper provides methods for preparing to develop a research topic, steps for approaching a research problem, as well as methods for problem theoretical development. We end the article with pitfalls that can occur when selecting a research topic as well as bright spots with regard to doctoral students beginning research in an area. Our hope is that this research will help beginning doctoral students start the process of developing a research topic by providing assistance with the overall process.
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This is an opinion piece on the subject of whether or not ‘theoretical’ and ‘conceptual’ frameworks are conceptual synonyms, or they refer to different constructs. Although, generally, a lot of literature uses these two terms interchangeably – suggesting that they are conceptually equivalent, the researcher argues that these are two different constructs – both by definition and as actualised during the research process. Thus, in this paper, the researcher starts by developing his argument by examining the role of theory in research, and then draws a distinction between areas of research that typically follow deductive versus inductive approaches, with regard to both the review of literature and data collection. The researcher then subsequently argues that whereas a deductive approach to literature review typically makes use of theories and theoretical frameworks, the inductive approach tends to lead to the development of a conceptual framework – which may take the form of a (conceptua l) model. Examples depicting this distinction are advanced.
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The theoretical framework is one of the most important aspects in the research process yet is often misunderstood by doctoral candidates as they prepare their dissertation research study. The importance of theory-driven thinking and acting is emphasized in relation to the selection of a topic, the development of research questions, the conceptualization of the literature review, the design approach, and the analysis plan for the dissertation study. Using a metaphor of the ‘blueprint’ of a house, this article explains the application of a theoretical framework in a dissertation. Steps for how to select and integrate a theoretical framework to structure all aspects of the research process are described, with an example of how to thread theory throughout the dissertation.
PART I. OVERVIEW OF RESEARCH AND EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE Research Vignette: Improving Supportive Care for Cancer Patients and Their Families * Integrating Research, Evidence-Based Practice, and Quality Improvement Processes * Research Questions, Hypotheses, and Clinical Questions * Gathering and Appraising the Literature * Theoretical Frameworks for Research New! PART II. PROCESSES AND EVIDENCE RELATED TO QUALITATIVE RESEARCH Research Vignette: Program of Research on Substance Use Disorders * Introduction to Qualitative Research * Qualitative Approaches to Research * Appraising Qualitative Research PART III. PROCESSES AND EVIDENCE RELATED TO QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH Research Vignette: From Pressure Ulcer Prediction to Preventive Interventions * Introduction to Quantitative Research * Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs * Nonexperimental Designs * Systematic Reviews and Clinical Practice Guidelines New! * Sampling * Legal and Ethical Issues * Data Collection Methods * Reliability and Validity * Data Analysis: Descriptive and Inferential Statistics * Understanding Research Findings * Appraising Quantitative Research PART IV. APPLICATION OF RESEARCH: EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE Research Vignette: Incorporating Information and Communication Technology Tools for HIV into Practice * Strategies and Tools for Developing an Evidence-Based Practice* Developing an Evidence-Based Practice* Quality Improvement New! APPENDICES
Increasingly, reviewers for research journals and other venues for reporting research are demanding clearly articulated theoretical frameworks in manuscripts under consideration for publication or presentation. Yet, if one examines the articles published in the major journals in our field and attends the research sessions at the annual AVERA meetings, one must conclude that there is a general lack of agreement on what is meant by theoretical framework. The author examines the theoretical literature on the relationship between theory and research from the perspective of the researcher. He presents succinct examples from the career and technical education literature of theoretical frameworks at the level of grand theory, middle range theory, and substantive theory. He argues that an adequate theoretical framework for a research study can be built at any of those three levels. He contends that writers who present conceptual frameworks for their studies are actually referring to theoretical frameworks at the level of substantive theory and argues against using the term "conceptual framework" in that context. This article is based on the author's Presidential Address at the AVERA Annual Meeting in December 2000.