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.


- 2 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Robert O'Toole

    Perhaps this could help with the process of reflecting on research, looking for gaps, and considering methodology and process.

    14 Dec 2006, 00:18

  2. Many thanks Robert, this is very helpful.

    14 Dec 2006, 11:09


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