

Research
Methods STA630
VU
Lesson
10
THEORETICAL
FRAMEWORK
A
theoretical framework is conceptual model
of how one theorizes or makes
logical sense of the
relationships
among several factors that have been
identified as important to the problem
under study.
These
factors which may also be
called as variables may have
been identified through such
processes as
interviews
with informants, observations, and
literature survey. The
theoretical framework discusses
the
interrelationships
among the variables that are considered
to be integral to the dynamics of the
situation
being
investigated. Developing such a
conceptual framework helps us to postulate or hypothesize
and
test
certain relationships and
thus improve our
understanding of the dynamics of
situation.
From
the theoretical framework, then, testable
hypotheses can be developed to
examine whether
theory
formulated
is valid or not. The hypothesized
relationships can thereafter be
tested through
appropriate
statistical
analysis.
Hence
the entire research rests on the
basis of the theoretical framework.
Even if the testable
hypotheses
not necessarily generated, developing a
good theoretical framework is
central to examining
the
problem under
investigation.
There
is a relationship between the literature
survey and the theoretical
framework whereby the
former
provides
a solid foundation for
developing the latter. Literature
survey helps in the identification of
the
relevant
variables, as determined by the previous
researches. This in addition to
other logical
connections
that can be conceptualized forms the
basis for the theoretical
model. The
theoretical
framework
elaborates the relationships among the
variables, explains the theory
underlying these
relations,
and describes the nature and direction of the
relationships. Just as the literature
survey sets the
stage
for a good theoretical
framework, this in turn
provides the logical base
for developing
useable
hypotheses.
From
the preceding discussion it can be
concluded that a theoretical
framework is none other
than
identifying
the network of relationships among the
variables considered important to the
study of any
given
problem situation. Therefore, the
theoretical framework offers the
conceptual foundation for
constructing
the edifice of research that is to
taken in hand.
Specifically
a theoretical framework:
·
Elaborates
the relationship among the
variables.
·
Explains
the logic underlying these
relationships.
·
Describes
the nature, and direction of the
relationships.
In
the review of literature it is possible
that you may come
across a number of theories readily
available
for
adoption as theoretical framework
for the study under
consideration. Theories are
supposed to be
generic
whereby they could be
applicable to different situations.
Some concepts borrowed from
such
theories
may have to be replaced with arguments,
logic explicated, and the
framework may be
readily
available.
It is also possible that the researcher
may combine more than one
existing theory and
come
up
with an entirely new
framework, and in the process may
develop new concepts as
well.
However,
in the absence of the ready made
conceptual framework the researcher may
venture to
develop
his/her own framework.
Though, the researcher has to depend a
lot on the existing body
of
literature
for the identification of variables as
well as for developing a
rigorous logical
argumentation
for
the interrelationships among different
variables.
Whether
the researcher uses a readymade
theoretical framework or explicates an
entirely new one,
there
are some essential features
that have to be taken into
consideration. These features
may be called
as
components of a theoretical
framework.
The
Components of the Theoretical
Framework
A
good theoretical framework
identifies and labels the important
variables in the situation that
are
relevant
to the problem identified. It logically
describes the interconnections among
these variables.
30
Research
Methods STA630
VU
The
relationships among the independent
variables, the dependent variable(s), and if
applicable, the
moderating
and intervening variables are
elaborated.
The
elaboration of the variables in the
theoretical framework addresses the
issues of why or how
we
expect
certain relationships to exist, and the
nature and direction of the relationships among
the
variables
of interest. At the end, the whole discussion
can be portrayed in a schematic
diagram. There
are
six basic features that
should be incorporated in any
theoretical framework. These
features are:
1.
Make an inventory of variables: For
developing a framework it appears
essential to identify
the
factors relevant to the problem under
study. These factors are the
empirical realities
which
can
be named at some abstract
level called concepts. The
concepts taking more than one
value
are
the variables. In other words the
researcher makes an
inventory of relevant
variables.
The
variables
considered relevant to the study should
be clearly identified and labeled in
the
discussion.
2.
Specify the direction of relationship:
If the nature and direction of relationship
can be
theorized
on the basis of the findings of previous
research, then there should be an
indication in
the
discussion as to whether the relationship
should be positive or
negative.
3.
Give a clear explanation of why we should
expect the proposed
relationships to exist.
There
should be clear explanation of why we
would expect these relationships to
exist. The
arguments
could be drawn from the
previous research findings.
The discussions should
state
how
two or more variables are
related to one another. This
should be done for the
important
relationships
that are theorized to exist
among the variables. It is essential to
theorize logical
relationship
between different variables.
4.
Make an inventory of propositions:
Stipulation of logical relationship
between any two
variables
means the formulation of a proposition.
If such relationships have been
proposed
between
different variables, it will
result in the formulation of a number of
propositions. Let us
call
such a collection of propositions as
an
inventory of propositions. Each
proposition is
backed
up by strong theoretical
argumentation.
5.
Arrange these propositions in a
sequential order: one
proposition generates the
next
proposition,
which generates the next
following proposition, which in
turn generates the
next
following
proposition, and so on. This is an
axiomatic way of the derivation of
propositions.
Resultantly
it will provide us a sequentially
arranged set of propositions which
are interlinked
and
interlocked with each other.
Theory, if you remember, is an
interrelated set of
propositions.
Therefore,
the present interrelated set of
propositions relevant to a particular
problem is in fact a
theoretical
framework explaining the pathways of
logical relationships between
different
variables.
6.
Schematic diagram of the theoretical model be
given: A
schematic diagram of the
theoretical
framework should be given so
that the reader can see
and easily comprehend the
theorized
relationships.
Example:
Research
Question: Why middle class families
decline in their
size?
By
following the guidelines discussed
earlier let us develop a
theoretical framework.
1.
Inventory of variables:
Education levels of the couples, age at
marriage, working women,
rationalism,
exposure to mass media of communication,
accessibility to health
services,
practicing
of family planning practices, aspirations
about the education of children,
shift to
nuclear
families, mobility
orientation.
31
Research
Methods STA630
VU
2.
Specify the direction of relationship:
Higher
the education higher the age at marriage.
Higher
the
education of women greater the chances of
their being career women.
Higher the education
more
the rationalism. Higher the education
more selective the exposure to mass media of
communication.
Higher the education more the
accessibility to health services.
Higher the
education
more the practicing of family planning
practices. Higher the education of the
parents
the
higher their aspirations about the
education of their children.
Higher the education of the
couple
greater thee chances of shifting to
nuclear families. Higher the education of
the couples
the
higher their mobility
orientation.
3.
Give a clear explanation of why we should
expect the proposed
relationships to exist. For
example
higher the education higher the
age at marriage. One could
build up the argument like
this:
For purposes of getting high
levels of education the youngsters spend
about 16 years of
their
life in educational institutions.
Let us say they complete
their education at the age of
22
years.
After completing education
they spend 23 years
for establishing themselves in
their
careers.
During this period continue
deferring their marriage. By the time
they decide about
their
marriage they are about 25
years. Compare this age at
marriage with the age at marriage
of
16 years. Obviously with
this higher age at marriage there is a
reduction in the reproductive
period
of women. Similarly we can
develop logic in support of other
proposed relationships.
4.
Make an inventory of propositions. The
proposed relationships under item 2
about could be
the
examples of propositions.
5.
Arrange these propositions in a
sequential order.
These propositions can be
arranged
sequentionally.
6.
Schematic diagram of the theoretical model be
given
Voluntary
Job Turnover:
·
Inventory
of variables:
·
Equity
of pay, job complexity,
participation of decision making,
job satisfaction, job
performance,
labor market conditions, number of
organization, personal characteristics,
expectation
of finding an alternatives, intentions to
quit, job turnover.
·
Apply
all the components of theoretical
framework
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