The theoretical framework is one of the most infamous aspects of a dissertation, but it provides a strong scientific research base. You are likely to produce a first-class dissertation if the theoretical framework is appropriate and well-thought-out.
But what is a theoretical framework? And how do you develop a theoretical framework for your dissertation?
Your theoretical framework of a dissertation should incorporate existing theories that relevant to your study. It will also include defining the terms mentioned in the hypothesis, research questions, and the problem statement. All these concepts should be clearly identified as the first step.
Sample problem statement and research questions: According to company X report, many customers do not return after an online purchase. The company director wants to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty to achieve the long-term goal of the company. To investigate this issue, the researcher can base their research around the following problem statement, objective, and research questions:
Problem: Many customers do not return after an online purchase.
Objective: To improve customer satisfaction and thereby achieve long term goals.
Research question: How can online customers' loyalty increase by increasing customer satisfaction?
The satisfaction and loyalty concepts are critical to this research; therefore, will be determined as part of this study. These are the key terms that will have to be defined in the theoretical framework for the dissertation.
You will be required to review existing relevant literature to determine how other researchers have defined the key terms in the past. The definitions proposed by different scholars can then be compared critically and analytically. The last step is to choose the best concepts and their definitions matching your case.
It is also necessary to identify the relationships between the terms. Whether you are applying or not applying the existing concepts and models in your study, you will need to present your arguments and justify your choices.
In addition to analysing concepts and theories proposed by other theorists, you might also want to demonstrate how your own research will contribute to the existing knowledge. Here are some questions for you to consider in this regard;
The descriptive research questions only use the theoretical framework because its answer requires literature research. For instance, ‘how can you relate customer satisfaction with customer loyalty?’ A single theory can answer this question sufficiently.
The sub-question, 'How the online customers of company X are loyal and satisfied at present?' cannot be answered in a theoretical framework because it requires qualitative and quantitative research data.
There is no fixed pattern to structure the theoretical framework for the dissertation. However, you can create a logical structure by drawing on your hypothesis/research question and defining important terms.
For instance, write a paragraph containing key terms, hypothesis, or research questions and explain the relevant models and theories.
The length of the theoretical framework is usually three to five pages. You can also include the graphical framework to give your readers a clear insight into your theoretical framework. For instance, below is the graphical figure of an example theoretical framework for classroom management.
Here is a theoretical framework example to provide you with a sense of important and essential parts of the dissertation.
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