Research is an important part of education as it teaches individuals how to perform in-depth studies about a certain topic or field. In higher education and later, it plays an essential role by enabling scientists and researchers to discover new treatments for a variety of problems humans encounter with time. Research basically holds answers to things currently beyond knowledge and with new discoveries, it has the ability to change the way health care professionals work. Since, it is based on evidences and historical incidents, the theories are in most cases, authentic and valid.
Moving on, research in any field, must always provide the audiences with a conceptual framework. The main objective of this framework is to briefly explain and give readers a hint about what to expect from the following study.
What is a conceptual framework?
Undergraduate and at times graduate students, will be asked to write research papers as a part of their study program, which will also have to include a summary that will steer the entire research activity. Students may end up wondering ‘What is a conceptual framework?’, and probably be confused with its structure as well. It may sound like a daunting task but really, it all depends upon how well an individual grasps onto its definition.
A conceptual framework is aimed to present a visual or written representation of how the research will be carried out and the factors that will be affecting it. It is also supposed to brief the readers about the related variables and how they might affect each other. Variables may include properties and characteristics under research. Conceptual framework in research is suggested to be constructed before the collection of data and is generally based on literature reviews of previously existing theories about the specific topic. Its main focus will most likely stick to the variables and their relationships. Furthermore, an account of how the variables will be measured is also included in the framework. Since both dependent and independent variables are an important part of the framework, it is essential that the researcher first identifies what they are.
By now, students should be able to correctly understand and define conceptual framework without much hassle. Moving forward, we can now learn how to develop the framework.
Steps to make an effective Conceptual Framework in Research
There are 6 essential and comprehensive steps to developing a good research guide.
Choose the topic
Of course, to write a paper one will need to select a topic they want to carry out their study in. There is a variety of areas that can considered to provide a detailed research on. It is advised by experts that students opt for topics they are most inclined towards. Since research papers are quite lengthy and time consuming, they demand persistent motivation and devotion to enable the researcher to achieve the goals. Generally, an individual would feel more encouraged towards a topic of interest than an area of study given by the teacher. Second most significant factor to consider while choosing a topic would be to look out for resources that can help in collection of data. Without extensive data and evidences, the research may be declared void by the audiences as it is all based on facts and figures. Furthermore, the identified variables after collecting information will have to be discussed in the research conceptual framework.
Developing the Research Question
Researchers must clearly understand that the topic and the question of research are two entirely different sets of information. The topic can be implicit, directing towards a broader area of study while the question of the researcher very explicitly dictates what the research is going to revolve around. It is by the question that the author is able to give hints to the readers about who, why, when, where and how. It is perhaps the conceptual paradigm and question of research that create a focused path, avoiding the writer’s chances of getting deviated from the main objective.
Write a Literature Review
To write a literature review means to study the already published studies and researches that are relevant to the chosen topic. Research writers however, must make sure that the previous studies they are considering, should be valid and written by authentic sources. The main purpose behind including a literature review, is to inform readers about the prevalent information and ideas on the selected topic of discussion. Through a literature review, writers can also critically analyze and talk about the strengths and weaknesses of those literary. There are certain key points that should not be overlooked while conducting the review, which include; relevancy with the topic, identification of areas where evidences may be insufficient or information being refutable and synthesizing the results the research work. Literature review also aids the process of drafting a research conceptual framework, as it narrows the information down to what shall be put in the content.
Choosing the Variables
Reaching this point, an individual must have conducted a good enough research. In depth study of the previous works also helps in identifying the variables since relevant topics most likely have the same factors affecting the problem. More the reading, more the knowledge. From all these readings and studying, the researcher will be exposed to a number of variables that they can consider as a part of discussion and analysis in their research. However, not too many variables must be included as it may lead to creating confusions in the audience’s minds. Retaining the important ones and neglecting the insignificant ones will make the conceptual framework in qualitative research a lot more meaningful. This will eventually put weight on the discussed arguments, making it appear authentic to the readers. On the flip side, choosing very few variables will adversely affect the authenticity of research as there will also be less evidences to support the variables. Students must learn that just the right amount must be incorporated in the framework. For references they can also take dissertation help from known sources.
Choosing the relationships
The next step after selecting the sufficient amount of variables is, identifying the link between these variables. That is; whether each of them is are positively related or negatively, and to what degree they affect each other. It is extremely vital to learn in what scenarios they are the most impactful on each other as it will help in steering the study towards the conclusion statement.
Develop the Conceptual Framework
Once you have fully realized the relationships between the chosen variable, it is time to move on to the last stage which is of course, creating the final framework. For a clearer idea what it is supposed to look like, students might as well check out a good conceptual framework in research example. Examples are a great source to know how the final product must appear in the end. Not very framework is going to be the same and will differ from case to case. Conceptual Framework is going to be a flow chart illustration that is going to place the main variables in boxes and these boxes will be connected with lines and arrow heads. This is how the framework if going to direct the reader towards the writers theme of study.
Conceptual Framework in Research Example for Beginners
Here is a basic yet concrete example of how to construct a conceptual framework. This conceptual paradigm example is going to aid students in understanding what it must and must not include.
For instance the topic is related to customer satisfaction in the food industry. The writer will first present an idea about how they are interested in knowing what factors and variables drive customer satisfaction and then focus on key aspects of the discussed food chain. Their question in regard to the research can be ‘what influences customer satisfaction and to what extent?’. As mentioned in the construction steps, they will have to conduct a detailed literature review after the question has been explicitly written.
For an extensive review, we need to expand the framework, the writer will need to go through numerous studies related to customer experience and the factors that affect it. The variable can then be easily extracted. If the study is related to food industry, the variables can be service times, hygiene, staff performance, customer complaints, taste of the food and so on.
Following that, the researcher will make connections between these variables and fathom out the degree of effect on each other. In this case, they can learn how service times are linked to staff performance. Lastly, all this information will be illustrated to create an informative concept framework for research.
No More Asking What Is a Conceptual Framework!
The main reason why research frameworks are constructed is to prove new discoveries as significant and acceptable. With the given conceptual framework example, it is safe to say that individuals will now be able to accomplish their writing goals without much difficulty.