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Conceptual Framework – Definition & Writing Tips

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 everything about the conceptual framework. Now, students with the help of this handout can learn everything about the conceptual framework.

By reading this article,  you will be then able to write a 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 will get cleared.

Conceptual framework definition  

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 of 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. The main purpose of conceptual framework in research is to demonstrate the relationship between the different variables of the study.

Conceptual framework thesis example

Thesis statement: Direct exposure to sunlight  can give rise to number of skin problems such as  precancerous, cancerous and even skin lesions . Such skin problem s can take place mainly in women belonging to age of 40 years.

In above research , researcher claims that direct exposure to sunlight can cause cancer and lead to other skin problems. Women who are prone to such disease has number of symptoms such as fatigue, freckles, burning sensation etc.

There are two variables  that is dependent and independent variables which are closely link to each other. In above example dependent variable is women belonging to age of 40 years. Independent variable is cancer.

Importance of conceptual framework in research

Conceptual  sketches the activities needed during the study by considering your prior knowledge about the perspective of other scientists or researchers. And you can also provide the specification of the thing which you have observed during the investigation.

You can also say that, it explains the connection of a particular variable in the 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 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 every single point regarding the variables.

So, in a layman language or a simplified form for the clear understanding of the students, we can say that the conceptual framework is the map of the researcher which is being used by them for carrying 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.

Type of the research using the conceptual framework

Students are not allowed to write a page for the conceptual framework in every type of research. There are a few kinds of research in which it is applicable to write 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 research which involves different types of tests. It helps the reader in exploring 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 things in research, do not leave a good impression on the mind of the readers.

Cause and Effect relationship

Cause and effect relationships can be defined as a relationship when one event gives rise to other events. 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 study is involved in your dissertation, your objective is 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 the most concerned part of 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.

Conceptual framework dependent and independent variables

Dependent and independent variable conceptual framework that are involved in the cause and effect relationship, these are dependent and independent variables. Dependent variables are those that are in some way affected by various independent variables. The 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. 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 minds whether they will write it or not.

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  indulge in the brain of the college students very appropriately. Because after knowing the design, 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  students can use for defining the variables, cause and effect relationships along the connections used for different variables. Designing now can be very simplified for you.

Now lets develop understanding about how to write conceptual framework.

How to develop a conceptual framework ?

You need to use number of inputs  developing a Conceptual Framework for Research,  Those two main elements are 

Experiential knowledge

It includes personal experience, technical knowledge and reserach background.

Literature Review

This element involves theories and existing research relevant to topic.

The process of  developing conceptual framework includes following steps:

Step 1: Identification of variables

Here, you need to address the different variables of study.

Step 2: Draw key variables

Draw out key variables within something you have already written about the subject area i.e. literature review.

Step 3: Separate dependent and independent variables

Perennial to the aim, segregate them as dependent and independent variables.

Step 4: Brainstorming

Select important variable  and then brainstorm all the possible things related to the key variable.

Step 5. Create a box for representing variables

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

Step 6.  Use line for showing correlation between two or more different variables.

You can use line for showing correlation between two or more different variables.You need to make a clear cut differentiation among these three essential components of the conceptual framework. 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.

Step 7. Utilize a nutshell or defining the variables

You can use a nutshell, boxes for defining the variables, lines for correlation of different variables and at last the arrows, which for representing cause and effect relationship. This much of a summary for basic components of conceptual designing. Now you can understand the steps for writing a conceptual framework very clearly, and it would be much easier for you all to engulf them.

Note: You can also use arrows while developing the conceptual framework.

Meaning of arrow : It represents the relationship between variables must be applied in the direction as to what impacts the other.

Writing Tips & Skills: Conceptual Framework

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

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

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

3. “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. The language of the steps being written is understandable for the students and more accessible for them to grab it.

How to write conceptual framework:-

Selection of the topic

Topic selection is the most crucial step. 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 about in your project. So, one must select his topic of research very wisely and smartly. You should not  hurry while choosing your topic.

Literature review

Review appropriate and updated studies on the topic you decide to work. Use peer-reviewed and well-known scientific journals, preferably because they are reliable sources of data. Reviewing all these would help you in completing 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 about this step.

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 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.

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.  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..

You must found variable at priority

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.

You should apply last approach  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 a conceptual framework and would also discourage the readers.

Conceptual framework generation

Now, there is the arrival of the foremost step of the conceptual framework. This step itself holds great importance One can never dare to neglect this step.  Without wasting much time, let us come to the main point.


College students must keep it in their minds that the statement of your problem would serve the reference for 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.)

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 has indulged these facts in your people.

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.

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 a  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 moderator variable.


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.

Not every type of research work includes a 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. You can score good grades for your hard work by submitting quality work to your professors.


Get professional help in writing conceptual framework

Conceptual knowledge is trickier as college students think of it. By reading the about conceptual framework explanation  you might have develop little bit understanding. But if you still have confusion then you can take assistance from experienced team of students assignment help. You can also buy Sample conceptual framework for your research from our professionals.