Strategies for Linking Theoretical Framework and Research Types

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Introduction Almost all research studies in social and behavioral sciences regardless of disciplines/programs require a rationale or base for conducting research. This rationale/base is often called theoretical framework. A host of researchers have provided varying definitions of theoretical framework (Sekaran, 2000; Camp, 2001; Elliott; 2005, Tuckman, 1999). A theoretical framework is a conceptual model of how one theorizes or makes logical sense of the relationships among several factors that have been identified as important to the problem (Sekaran, 2000). In essence, it attempts to integrate key pieces of information especially variables in a logical manner, and thereby conceptualizes a problem that can be tested. Theoretical…show more content…
Three key points are important in designing experimental research: use of control or comparison group, random assignment, and manipulation. Manipulation of the independent variable is very important in order to answer the question; did the treatment make the difference? Experimental research answers the question “WHY” a relationship exists. When answering the WHY question, you are basically incorporating the “WHAT” question from descriptive research and “EXPLAIN” from DCR. In sum, ER builds on the first two research types (DR and DCR) described above. Keep in mind that the three types of research are hierarchical and cumulative. If we are controlling something, then we must be able to explain or predict it. Similarly, if we can explain or predict something, we must be able to describe it. Conclusions Building a theoretical framework for a research study is very important. Equally important is to establish links between research type, theoretical framework, and results of a research study (see Figure 3). By following the sequence suggested in Figure 3, the relevance and value of a research study is enhanced. In addition, the proposed sequence helps answer the question, did the study findings answer/justify the rationale/base for conducting the research study?
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