How to Begin Writing your Theoretical Framework


Posted April 19, 2017

Every dissertation needs to have a theoretical foundation or a conceptual framework (or both) that is discussed in the literature review section. The theoretical foundation is important because it will be the lens through which you evaluate your research problem and research questions. The theoretical framework section is typically required for quantitative studies, while a conceptual framework is used in qualitative studies. Once you have identified the theory or theories that you will be utilizing, it is important to know what information to include and how to include it in your discussion.

First and foremost, you should identify and describe your selected theory or theories. This information should consist of the author(s) of the theory and details regarding the original study, such as the population, purpose, and results. Providing this information will help you to highlight why the theory you have selected is valid for use in your study, and will make it easier for you to demonstrate how the theory relates to your own study.

Once you’ve introduced and discussed your selected theory in the Theoretical Foundation section of your literature review, you need to outline why the theory is relevant to your study and how you will use the information from it to conduct and evaluate your research and findings. For example, if you conduct a study on employee engagement and opt to use Maslow’s (1943) Hierarchy of Needs as your theoretical foundation, discussing the fulfillment of needs as outlined in Maslow’s theoryauthor stephanie will help you to establish what his theory is and why it is relevant to your research. Once that is done, you can discuss how the fulfillment of needs (based on Maslow) relates to motivation in employees and how your study will use Maslow’s theory to evaluate and address your identified problem.


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