Discourses on Conceptual and Theoretical Frameworks in Research: Meaning and Implications for Researchers


This article critically discusses, the relationship between conceptual framework and theoretical framework drawing on their differences and similarities. The article has made it very clear that whereas the theoretical framework is drawn from the existing theoretical literature that you review about your research topic, a conceptual framework is a much broader concept that encompasses practically all aspects of your research. The latter refers to the entire conceptualisation of your research project. It is the big picture, or vision, comprising the totality of research. Methodologically, the paper used systematic and experiential literature review to draw supporting scholarly literature by authorities in the field and made inferences, sound reasonings and logical deductions from these authorities. The primary aim of this paper is to help researchers and students to understand the convergence and the divergence of theoretical and conceptual frameworks in order to appropriately be applied in research and academic writing discourses. Understanding the conceptual framework affects research in many ways. For instance, it assists the researcher in identifying and constructing his/her worldview on the phenomenon to be investigated. Also, it is the simplest way through which a researcher presents his/her asserted remedies to the milieu he/she has created. In addition, this accentuates the reasons why a research topic is worth studying, the assumptions of a researcher, the scholars he/she agrees with and disagrees with and how he/she conceptually grounds his/her approach. Paying attention, to the theoretical framework and its impact on research, it can be mentioned that theoretical framework provides a structure for what to look for in the data, for how you think of how what you see in the data fits together, and helps you to discuss your findings more clearly, in light of what existing theories say. It helps the researcher to make connections between the abstract and concrete elements observed in the data. In conclusion, both theoretical framework and conceptual framework are good variables which are used to inform a study to arrive at logical findings and conclusions. It is therefore recommended by researchers that; a good theoretical framework should be capable of informing the concepts in a research work.

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