Before you start conducting research for your dissertation, it is recommended to develop a conceptual framework in the dissertation.
The type of research you are performing will determine whether or not developing a conceptual framework will prove to be helpful. A conceptual framework for the dissertation provides the liberty to the theorists and researchers to test the hypothesis and see if they will be able to verify an idea. You can also observe whether appropriate variables have been selected for the research purpose.
It is important to understand that the conceptual framework in research is just like test-drive before buying a car where you would see and check whether it is suitable for you or not? It involves the cause-effect relationship where we figure out the effect of one subject’s action on the other one and vice versa.
Sia is a university student who got a gold medal for her tremendous CGPA throughout her degree program. She received gold medal for the continuous hard work she had been doing for 4 years. She came to know that the cause for getting gold medal was hard work.
Use the conceptual framework to identify the expected results before methodologically showcasing a cause-effect relationship for your dissertation but make sure that you recognize the relevant variables. Variables simply hold the attributes which describe the cause-effect relationship. In the example given above, two variables “Gold Medal” and “Hard Work” were used.
Two variables constitute a cause-effect relationship, i.e., the independent and dependent variables. If we look at our example, “hard work” is an independent variable, while the “gold medal” is the dependent variable. In simple words, to achieve a gold medal, you need to work hard. As a result, the gold medal is dependent on hard work.
There can be more than one independent variable that can affect the dependent variable. For instance, another independent variable that we can extract from the same example is; “CGPA”. This means that “excellent CGPA” resulted in achieving “gold medal”, which in this case “CGPA’ is the independent variable and “gold medal” is the dependent variable.
Now that we have established the two types of variables (independent & dependent), we can proceed to answer the question what is a conceptual framework in the dissertation. At this stage, we start to construct a conceptual framework for the dissertation including all of its components including boxes, arrows, and lines.
Start by mentioning each variable in a box. To represent the cause-effect relationship, you can make use of arrows. Arrows would start from the independent variable and should point towards the dependent variable.
If there isn’t a cause-effect relationship, despite the correlation relationship between the variables, then you should use a simple line instead of an arrow.
These components are mentioned below:
|Arrow||Causal influence (cause-effect relationship)|
Underneath is a conceptual framework example describing the cause-effect relationship, starting from the independent variable (hard work) and pointing towards the dependent variable (gold medal).
Sample conceptual framework using an independent variable and a dependent variable
There are some further types of variables that can be used for the conceptual framework in research. These variables expand the scope of conceptual framework depending on the type of research.
A moderator variable is one which changes the effect on a dependent variable caused by an independent variable. It fluctuates the effect when being used in an effect-cause relationship between two variables.
A mediator variable allows the cause-effect relationship to be understood in a better way. Mediator variables are not straightforward to understand and must to be supported by stats for the rational outcome.
A control variable is a variable which along with the independent variable alters the effect on the dependent variable.
After the completion of the conceptual framework, now you need to conduct research so that you get to know about the relationships between variables. There are numerous research methods (qualitative and quantitative) from which you can choose:
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