All entries for Wednesday 13 December 2006

December 13, 2006

theoretical framework

Theoretical framework

Discussion that took place in December 13, 2006 among doctoral students

What is a theoretical framework?

We need to look for theories to support our research. We need to come back to the main and key authors on whom others have based their research.

However, as important as defining theories is important defining concepts. The way we define the main concepts in our studies will help organise our findings and justify our decisions and views.

Defining theories and concepts are never ending processes, for instance, at the stage of analysing data, we need to revise our concepts.

For some students, it might not be possible to find a theory that supports their study. Then we have to adapt what we read and join what two key authors or two main theories have said in relation to our research

Why is it important?

A theoretical framework is as important as the foundations when we are building a house. We need something solid and reliable to build on where we want to live.

Building the theoretical framework

When we read the literature, we might find gaps in the body of knowledge and it is important to acknowledge and address these uncertainties.

When we start reading for the research, we felt very motivated and
inspired by the literature, after every article of piece that we read, we
feel we have actually developed powerful ideas.

However, after reading another article or piece that we read, we feel that these ideas are not that powerful and we feel we have overestimated them; so we feel de-motivated and in despair.

This is normal and what happens is that it takes a while but at some
point, we will see those patterns in the literature that will serve us to
inform our research.

Other issues

Something that reflects who we choose to be the key-people in our research will be seen in the references at the end of the thesis. That’s why the references part is important and quick to go through for our examiners.

It is good practice to look at others’ doctoral thesis, in order to see
how others have structured and talk about their theoretical framework and other important sections such as methodology.

the first meeting

Graduate Association meeting

The first meeting of the Graduate Association took place on 4.30 12 October

Present were; Adrienne Johnson; (Juan) Pablo Mejia-Ramos; Ian Jones; Mark Childs; Issavara Sirirungruang; Anca Alba; Mahdi Dahmardeh; Jie Hu; Stuart Cadwaller; Tracy Irish; Sabina Li-yu Chang; Brian Lighthill; Natasha Leahy; Freddy James (aka The Fred); Amanda Cumberbatch; Matthew Inglis and from the Institute staff Mick Hammond, Sulochini Pather; Jonothan Neelands.

Our first meeting discussed ways in which the graduate association could work and some priorities for future events. Three key areas were suggested:

• seminars/ conferences
• social events
• communications

Ian Jones and Stewart volunteered to work on the seminars strand – this was very much a reporting of what was already offered and ideas for graduate association led events tailored to needs and interests of research student colleagues

Freddy, Amanda, Mahdi offered to explore social opportunities

Mark, Anca and Pablo offered to look at communication and suggested setting up a mail list as the most convenient form of communication within the association. (1)

Please feel free to contact anyone in these groups with suggestions.

Next meeting would report back on these areas, 4.30 1 November 2006 WE 001. Mick Hammond was asked to chair but this would be rotated meeting to meeting.

Please feel welcome to attend this next meeting even if you were unable to attend this first meeting.


A Google Group has been set up to help communication as part of the Graduate Association. The address is

To access the this you will need to register with Google (if you’re not already), then apply for membership to the group. If you have problems contact the owner Mark’s asked me to point out that he’s just a part-time research student and should really be focusing on his PhD, so there might be a delay before he can answer, but he’s promised to get a response to you within a week.

December 2006

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