Conceptual framework

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    Saleh Ali

    Hi everyone,

    My research topic is relatively new (something related to the social media). I found that most of the studies in this area has been conducted from customers perspective (no wonders) while the organisational perspective has been overlooked and this has been noticed by several researchers.

    During my literature review stage, I have applied different frameworks to guide this process. However, I have noticed that there is a need to a conceptual framework! On one hand, this can be one of my contributions. On the other hand, I am confused because I am not quiet sure what studies I should be looking at. How can I write the literature review while the concept has not been defined in the literature? Should I review the studies that I think relevant? Or should I wait until I got my findings and then come back to the literature?

    I also have noticed that both quantitative and qualitativemethods  have been applied for such a purpose. My question is: is there any preferences for any methods in this case?


    Appreciate your comments.



    i’ve developed a conceptual framework for my study. i too had this question when i started my work. i figured out that conceptual framework is developed when little is known about a topic and the reseracher thinks that in his opinion the concepts are related that way i.e. he proposes a theory. then, to verify his thinking, he/she tests that framework though quantitaive methods.

    conceptual frameworks are usually the result of qualitative studies, or, even the researcher may just guess that concepts are related in a certain way and then tests that. whether the test is successfu or unsuccessful, the same conceptual framework can be called a theoretical framework.

    for example, if we don’t know if their is some relation between gender and smoking habbits. we can say that, perhaps, males smoke more than the females. suppose no one has tested that before. so it’s a conceptual framework. in other words, we are just guessing about a relationship. when it will be tested, whether the results support or oppose or proposition, i.e. the males actually smoke more than the females, it will be called a theoretical framework. becuase previosuly it was just our concept/idea that the relation between the concepts is so and so. not it has been tested and we can call it a theoretical framework.

    i hope it works.


    Rafia Faiz

    Regarding conceptual framework:

    I think you can keep updating your conceptual framework as you go along the research process. Qualitative Research is very, very, very iterative process: each stage affects the next and previous stage (if that makes sense).

    Regarding methods:
    What is your epistemology, ontology, or broadly speaking, the research philosophy? That can help you decide what should be the preferred methods for data collection and analysis.

    Hope that helps.

    Saleh Ali

    Thanx a lot. That was helpful.


    What you suggest as conceptual framework sounds like a hypothesis? doesn’t it? Are you saying that hypothesis and conceptual framework have overlap in a way?



    I suggest you follow exploratory sequential design starting from qualitative method to identify factors in your conceptual framework and then test the relationship among the factors using a quantitative method. this is the most common used approach in conceptual framework. 


    My first question asks what theoretical perspectives have you considered for the framework of the entire research project? Secondly what is your lead research question? and thirdly what hypotheses have you generated at this point in time?. In your  literature confine the search to four categories then you can systematically analyse the merits or demerits of each paper for each category especially the robustness of the methods employed. The Cochrane review might be helpful.

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