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Conceptual Framework – Definition & Writing Tips

Student's Assignment Help September 2, 2019 187 Views

As we all know, nowadays, students are very much interested in knowing the meaning of everything. They are living in a society where everyone is in a rat race. All college students want to score higher and higher. We all are very much aware of the completion among students. Students are so much dedicated to their studies that they do not afford the wastage of even one second.

Many questions are running in the minds of the students. To find out the answers to these question, they read many books, ask their professors and mates, and then compiling them all to reach the final solution, and also it takes times.

The conceptual framework is one of the questions running in the minds of college students. So it is for their convenience, in this handout we are going to tell you about everything about the conceptual framework. Now, students with the help of our this handout can learn everything they want to know about the theoretical framework.

Knowing this much conceptual knowledge is sufficient for college students. After reading about the conceptual experience in this handout, you would be like “oh! My god, it is much easier than my expectations”.

Conceptual knowledge is not as trickier as college students’ think of it. Students find it difficult because when it is being taught to them in classes, they do not pay attention properly. And when the time comes, and they have to write a conceptual framework in their research work, they find it difficult.

Students, then, faces many problems to write a conceptual framework. Writing an inappropriate conceptual framework left a wrong impression on the minds of the readers.

So to get an appreciation for your research work from the reader, one must have to write a proper and accurate conceptual framework in their project. So, after reading this handout thoroughly, your doubts regarding the theoretical framework will vanish.

And also you will be then able to write conceptual framework correctly without doing much or any mistake. You have to read this with your full concentration. And automatically, all your queries with respect to the theoretical framework get cleared.

One must feel satisfied after reading this and will become very confident regarding the concept of a conceptual framework. After understanding the theoretical framework from this handout, students can also discuss it with their mates and help them other to understand the concept of the conceptual framework too.

Importance and Definition Of Conceptual Framework

A conceptual framework is somewhat like a roadmap or a cookbook. It offers an overview of how you plan to undertake your thesis research, but it extends beyond that by also placing your job within the broader aspect in the sector of study or research. A conceptual framework is the blend of literary works by the researcher on how a phenomenon can be explained.

It sketches the activities needed during the study by considering your prior knowledge on the point of perspective of other scientists or researchers. And you can also specify your observations on the topic that you are going to undertake for your research.

You can also say that, it explains the connection of a particular variable of the topic of research with the other variables, is under the phenomenon of the conceptual framework. Linking a specific variable with different variables depends on the understanding of the researcher.

Therefore, we can say that the conceptual framework helps in defining the different variables used by the researcher in his investigation. At this point, the question regarding variables is also starts rising in the minds of college students. But you do not need to worry about it because, in the next part of this handout, we will explain to you every single point regarding the variables.

So, in a laymen language or a simplified form for the clear understanding of the students, we can say that conceptual framework is the map of the researcher which is being used by them to carry out their investigation.

In 2001, McGaghie et al. explained the concept of conceptual framework very beautifully. He said that “conceptual framework lays the stages for addressing the specific research question, which drives the reporting of the inquiry-based on the explanation of the dilemma.

This explanation further helps others to clear their knowledge regarding this topic and also, after that, many anonymous researchers also give many simplified definitions for the conceptual framework. Even the thesis ‘ issue phrase describes the history along with the problems that led the research to be conducted by the investigator.

For example, what the students would expect from the investigation, including how a relationship between the variables considered by you is established with the other. It all comes under the phenomenon of the conceptual framework. Theoretical framework (which is very much broader than the conceptual framework), includes the conceptual framework under itself.

The theoretical framework is based on time-tested theories that embody many researchers ‘ results on why and how a specific phenomenon happens. There is not one such clear cut definition in this regard, because there are many sayings and phrases for a better understanding of the conceptual framework.

Many researchers have been given different statements for it, but the meaning of all these is the same. It is just moulding down one statement in many new ways for a better understanding of the students.

Essential aspects of the conceptual framework

In the above text of this handout, we tried our best to make students familiar with the term “conceptual framework” along with little bit knowledge regarding this. But that much knowledge is not sufficient for the better understanding of this topic.

So here we divert your mind towards some other essential aspects of the conceptual framework which are adequate for the complete knowledge regarding this topic. There is a word variable being used in the definition of the conceptual framework, which is not known by the college students properly.

Along with defining the variable and type of variable, we are also suggesting the research in which you can add the page of a conceptual framework. One by one each important things is being explained to you very clearly in the further section of this Guide.

  • Type of the research using conceptual framework: Students are not allowed to write a page for the conceptual framework in every topic of the research. There are some few kinds of research in which it is applicable to write in a conceptual framework.

So students need to know in which type of research they can use it. A conceptual framework is useful or more common in researches of testing type. It helps the reader to explore whether if any particular idea is being proved by the student scientifically.

So before writing about the conceptual framework in their research, the student must verify whether their study is testing type or not. Writing unusual thing in research, do not leave a good impression on the mind of the readers.

  • Variables: At this stage, you are very much familiar with this word. But on the same side, there are so many questions being raised in your mind regarding the variables. You do not need to worry about that; take a long deep breath and read this section thoroughly.

After that, all your queries and question marks regarding the variables are being vanished away from your mind. But before knowing about the variable, you must be precise with one more term, i.e. cause-effect relationship.

The foundation for testing study – and thus the beginning of a conceptual structure – is often a connection between cause and effect. If this kind of studies is involved in your dissertation, your objective is to attempt to demonstrate such a link. It is known as the cause-effect relationship.

Now the time comes to know about the variables

Variables are just the features that the relationship of cause and effect is going to describe. Through variables, it becomes straightforward to elaborate on any of your situations in the conceptual framework. You have to choose some fixed variables, and you are not allowed to replace them with their synonyms in any condition. So college students should give a thought while deciding the appropriate variables for their research.

It is necessary to choose wise variables for your project so that it would be easy for your readers to remind them throughout the paper. It is a most concerned part in your conceptual framework in the way that your data should cooperate well with the selected variables. The variables can be either dependent on the researched content that is difficult to modify, or independent, in which it is possible to make appropriate changes in any phase.

  • Independent and dependent variables: There are mainly two types of variables that are involved in the cause and effect relationship. They are dependent and independent variables. Dependent variables are those that are in some way affected by various independent variables. Cause and effect relationship in the conceptual framework may include multiple independent variables that directly or indirectly affect a dependent variable.

As dependent variables depend upon single or multiple independent variables, college students should pay more attention while selecting them for their research work.

  • Sketching the conceptual framework: Now, you are very much clear about the variables and its various types, which mean for the dependent and independent variables. We hope that there is not any left out a query in your mind regarding variables. Before writing the conceptual framework in their project, students must clear in their mind whether they will write it or not. As stated earlier in this handout, the conceptual framework is written only in the testing research and not in every study done by the students.
  • After understanding this much, now it is the correct and appropriate time to tell you about the designing of the conceptual framework. Before coming to the steps for writing a conceptual framework, all the college students need to know about the sketching of it. Sketching of the conceptual framework is itself an essential aspect and crucial for students to understand it properly. Designing style of the conceptual framework must be indulged in the brain of the college students very appropriately. Because after knowing the designing, it would be more comfortable or convenient for them to learn the steps for writing a conceptual framework.

Designing is not that much tricky that students think of it. It is very more comfortable than your thinking. Arrows, boxes and lines, all these are the necessary components for the designing of the conceptual framework. All these components are used being used by the students for defining the variables, cause and effect relationship along with the connections used for different variables. Designing now can be very simplified for you after understanding this much clearer.

For each variable, a box must be created by the college students in their research while writing a conceptual framework. For indicating they should use the cause and effect of relationship arrows. Each primary component is used for a specific purpose; there must not be any confusion among the students between the element and its use.

For the correlation of two or more different variables, the line is being used. There must be a clear cut differentiation among these three essential components of the conceptual framework in the minds of the students. Now, after knowing all this, there should not be the home of any confusion regarding the components and their use in the minds of the students. The students must note that each arrow should begin from the causal impact variable and point to the impacted variable.

So in a nutshell, boxes are used for defining the variables, lines for correlation of different variables and at last the arrows, which are being used for the cause and effect relationship. This much of summary for basic components of the conceptual designing is more than enough for your better understanding. Now you can understand the steps for writing conceptual framework very clearly, and they would be much easier for you all to engulf them.

Now learning the steps would not be a burden on you; it would be rather interesting for students to understand them. Application of all these basic components in your conceptual framework is necessary because, without them, your conceptual framework is incomplete and gives a wrong impression on the reader’s mind.

Writing Tips & Skills: Conceptual Framework

Questions that are continually being running in the minds of the students are as follows:

1.” steps are always being so complicated, how I will remember the steps of so many phenomena”

2. “what if I get confused between steps of different concepts”

3. “if I did mistake in steps then it will leave a bad impression of my research”

4. “getting a bad score because of my silly mistakes in steps would down my overall score”.

All these questions have made a home in the student’s mind.

Because of them, it would be tough for the students to write a conceptual framework correctly after knowing all the steps accurately and adequately. As now you should not need to worry, because all the step is given in this Guide in very simplified form. Language of the steps being written is understandable for the students and more accessible for them to grab it.

The students must do the following things before they start writing the conceptual framework:-

  1. Selection of the topic: Topic selection is the most crucial step. As by selecting the topic of your field of specialization would be very helpful for you. Choosing the subject of your convince would be very interesting for you to research it, and also there is a lot of stuff available to write in your project. So, one must select his topic of research very wisely and smartly. There should not be any hurry while choosing your topic, because once you are satisfied with your topic, then researching would be more fun for you.
  2. Literature review: Review appropriate and updated studies on the topic you decide to work on after the problem is scrutinized. Use peer-reviewed and well-known scientific journals, preferably because they are reliable sources of data. Reviewing all these would help you to complete your work on time and with high accuracy. You cannot ignore this step, as this step itself plays a critical role in writing your conceptual framework properly. Before moving to other steps for writing it, you should be very clear with this step. By moving one by one on each step, it would become very more comfortable for the college students to understand them.
  3. Necessary variables isolation: As the heading of this point it suggests that something related to the separation is going to take place in this step. So here we come on the point, in this step, you would find the specific variables that you have undertaken in the literature review section. After identifying these variables, you have to isolate them from the rest of the variables. After all this, you will have to figure it out how they all are related to each other. Some abstracts comprise the variables and may, therefore, serve the purpose of the remarkable results. One cannot neglect the importance of every step. By hook or crook, you have to grab all points in your minds because you do not have any second choice.

If in any case, all these are not available to you, then there is another option for you. The other way of completing this is that students should go and find out the research paper’s summary but only in case of unavailability of all these variables. You should go in further sections of your research for finding the variables if they are not available to you in part mentioned above of your work. The student should go to the methodology, the result and even in the discussion section to figure out the variables from the study.

Then you have to figure out how they are related to one another. But remember one should go to the sections other than the literature review and abstract, only in the condition of shortage of variables from these two. One should not directly go to the methodology, result and the discussion section for finding the variables because this is the wrong way.

Variables must be found in priority order from your research.

Firstly, the student should approach to the literature review section

secondly, abstract of your research.

lastly to the methodology, result and the discussion section of the research.

The last approach should be made only in the absence of the specific variables from the first two sections of the research. Directly approaching the methodology and result is a wrong way of writing conceptual framework and would also discourage the readers.

  1. Conceptual framework generation: Now, there is the arrival of the foremost step of the conceptual framework. This step itself holds great importance in his hands. One can never dare to neglect this step. A brief description of this point is that at this point, you would learn how you will going to generate your conceptual framework. Without wasting much time, let us come to the main point.

Firstly, for the completion of this step, the student would have to mix all the variables that they get after reading the scientific articles. Now a question has arisen in the minds of the student is that “why only the scientific article?” The answer to the question is that you all know that the concept of the conceptual framework is written only in research where one has proved a particular idea scientifically.

College students must keep it in their minds that the statement of your problem would serve the reference for the building your conceptual framework. (It is also possible that your research would answer the questions that the researchers of the past ages would not have answered.) You can only do the best in finding the answers to the questions, that are not being answered till now.

It is not that by finding the solutions of the unanswered question, you will be awarded grace marks, so do not try to put inappropriate answers in your research. And also keep it in mind that your research should even acknowledge the knowledge gap between the ages. Your research should not mean to discourage the efforts of any researcher of the same topic.

Your research, along with the conceptual framework, must be appropriate. You should not add unusual information to lengthier your research work. Many of the college students think that length is the criteria for marking of the project. But this is not true; sometimes we wonder who have indulged these facts in your people. It is the content, and the concept that you have explained in your research work would help you to score well.

It is generally seen that, nowadays, students focus too much on their academic score, so it would become very common for them to believe in these false facts. But you must have to complete your work before time along with the appropriate information and explanation would be more than enough for the students to score better in their academia.

Expansion of the conceptual framework


It is crucial for you all to know that the conceptual framework is not only limited to the dependent and the independent variables. There are also other varieties of the conceptual framework which college students must know. Entirely depending upon the research you are going to do, you can also incorporate other types of variables in the conceptual framework.

The other different types of variables are:-

  • Control variable
  • Mediator variable
  • Moderator variable

There is also a brief description of each of the above-mentioned variables being given in the further section of this guide. Their description would help the college student to correctly choose the variable for the expansion of the conceptual framework.

  • Control variable: It is a variable that kept unchanged throughout the project. Due to its unchanging nature, it allows us to test the relationship between other variables, either dependent or independent.
  • Mediator variable: The one particular variable causes dependency between the dependent and the independent variables. The latter variable is known as the mediator variable. The mediator variables would explain the relationship between the dependent and the independent variables.
  • Moderator variables: When there is a dependency of the two variables on the third one, the third variable is known to refer as the moderator variable.

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The conceptual framework is not that difficult to understand as it seems to be. A conceptual framework is the blend of literary works by the researcher on how a phenomenon can be explained. It works like a roadmap or a cookbook.

It offers an overview of how you plan to undertake your thesis research. Through a conceptual framework, we get to know about the activities that are needed during the analysis based on your prior knowledge collected from the work of other researchers.

Not every type of research work includes conceptual framework. As defined in the handout, some kinds of literature studies include it. Its content revolves around the variables, either dependent or independent. Students have to choose variables for their project by considering the requirements and need of defining the cause and effect relationship.

College students can release the confusion of how to write a conceptual framework for their project by following the writing tips described above. You can score good grades for your hard work by submitting quality work to your professors.


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