In methodology , the conceptual framework is a section of the research project in which the conceptual bases of the research are detailed , that is, it offers the reader the set of key definitions to understand the rest of the project.
In some methodological models, the conceptual framework is part of the theoretical framework, while in others it is offered separately, and it is also usually included within the reference framework of the research. The latter is because every conceptual framework first requires an understanding of the theoretical foundations of the research , that is, the theories, reflections, critical and philosophical approaches that support the researcher’s point of view.
Like the background and the theoretical framework (assuming it is treated as a separate item), the conceptual framework consists of a bibliographic review, with textual citations and reading interpretations, whose fundamental objective is to establish a terminological consensus between the researcher and your readers . It must be an analytical, formal text delimited by the object of the research.
The conceptual framework of the research is fundamental for the construction of a language specific to the research, that is, to make clear the fundamental concepts that are of interest.
The idea is that, after reading it, it is clear what the researcher will refer to later when using a technical term, or in what sense he uses a concept borrowed from a consulted author. In the simplest of cases, the conceptual framework will serve as a technical glossary .
How to make a conceptual framework?
The following diagram summarizes the fundamental steps for writing a conceptual framework:
- Do a bibliographic review . It is essential to know the theoretical texts that will be used throughout the research (something that is also needed to create the theoretical framework). So the first step will be to go to the theoretical bibliography and extract the quotes that will be used and present the key concepts that will be borrowed.
- Organize the extracted material . Once the review is completed and the citations have been identified, the order in which the concepts will be used must be determined, always starting from the most general and moving towards the most specific.
- Detail each concept . Respecting the order obtained in the previous step, we will proceed to write an explanation of each concept, trying to be clear and objective. The goal is to explain what each one means, what its importance is in the context of the research and how it will be understood throughout the research.
- Review the conceptual framework . Once the writing is completed, it is always a good idea to review what you have written to ensure that fundamental concepts are not missing, and that everything said is clear, coherent and objective.
Example of conceptual framework
Suppose this is an investigation into the reminiscences of peninsular Spanish in the speech patterns of an isolated town in the South American jungle. The conceptual framework of said research would be something similar to the following:
- A set of definitions on how to understand “peninsular Spanish”, given that in Spain there are many variants of the same language, and not all of them were implemented in America in the same way. In this way, the researcher explains what he will understand as “peninsular Spanish” in his monograph.
- The explanation of different linguistic phenomena present in the speech you wish to study (lambdacism, rhotacism, leism.) as explained by the Royal Spanish Academy, along with certain important clarifications made by a local linguist. In this way, you can refer to these phenomena later without having to explain them.
- A set of quotes from a South American historian in which he formulates a general concept that describes the evolution of local Spanish, and that throughout the research he wishes to contradict.
In this way, upon completion of the conceptual framework, the community was welcomed with affection by its members. To distinguish himself from the others, the neophyte wore white clothing. In Christian religious terminology of the research and the technical concepts that will be addressed will be completely clear.