Theoretical Framework Example for Thesis or Dissertation

A theoretical framework is an essential tool for writing a dissertation. This tool serves as a lens through which you can examine a topic, providing you with a strong research base.

After developing a theoretical framework, you can better analyze and discuss the theories relevant to your study, informing the reader of the assumptions behind your research approaches. Unfortunately, many students are unfamiliar with the steps of developing a theoretical framework and thus struggle with developing relevant theoretical statements for their papers. 

Here, we will discuss tips on how to write a thesis framework and highlight the various types of frameworks that you may encounter.

What is a theoretical foundation?

As suggested by the name, a theoretical framework is the outline of theories related to your research arguments. This chapter of the dissertation defines terms mentioned in the hypothesis and also elaborates on your research questions and problem statement in light of the existing knowledge.

Often, the theoretical framework may be tackled as part of the literature review. However, complex papers may set the theoretical framework aside as an independent section of your paper, allowing you to exhaust the supporting theories and existing research in your field.

Purpose of a theoretical framework

Alike the conceptual framework, the theoretical framework aims to connect the existing ideas in a field, highlighting the theories behind your research. this helps the reader to familiarize themself with your approach in investigating a research topic, clarifying the research gaps in a topic.

The theoretical framework thus serves to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of theories and concepts relevant to the research topic.
  • Connect the research to the existing knowledge in a field.
  • Specify the key variables that influence a phenomenon and highlight the necessity to examine them for different circumstances.
  • Facilitate the understanding of concepts and variables according to the provided definitions.
  • Explain assumptions that inform your project.
  • Highlight the scholarly literature you intend to use in structuring your research.

Types of theoretical frameworks

  1. Dynamic and sustainability framework
  2. Implementation results framework
  3. Theoretical domain framework
  4. Consolidated implementation framework
  5. Active research framework
  6. Evaluation framework

How to write a theoretical framework in research

Having tackled the types and purposes of a theoretical framework, let’s consider the steps to designing your theoretical framework:

  1. Identify the key concepts

Often, your research topic contains multiple theories and terms that require elaboration to update the reader on the purpose of your paper. for this, take time to define each term and the key concepts on which your research hangs. 

  1. Evaluate relevant theories

Often, your research paper may aim to contest existing theories or to provide support to various ideas from existing literature. For this, determine how various researchers previously defined the concept at hand and draw connections between various approaches. 

Where possible, highlight the inadequacies of various literature by comparing these approaches to better-structured works. Also, highlight the definitions that fit your research and place your study to address the research gaps. 

  1. Connect your paper to existing research

Finally, elaborate on how you intend to use existing theories to develop your arguments. Here, you can critique a theory or uniquely combine theories, showing the relevance of your research to the field. 

  1. Develop an outline

After collecting your facts, organize them in an outline, to have a coherent flow of arguments. The outline will allow you to gauge the completeness of your research, helping you conduct further investigation to complete your research before diving into the writing stage. 

Finally, write the theoretical framework and edit it to ensure the coherence of your arguments and to correct structural and referencing issues. 

How long should a theoretical framework be?

There isn’t a defined length for a theoretical framework. However, like the abstract, tackling too much information in this section could bore your reader with unnecessary details and ideas that don’t relate to the topic. 

Preferably, limit your paper to three or five pages offering a gist of your research and elucidating the research gaps to address in your paper. Also, the theoretical framework can be infused into your literature review unless you are handling a complex topic. 

Structure of a theoretical framework

The theoretical framework does not adhere to any structure. You can thus organize your paragraphs in the order in which you’ll be looking at the hypothesis or take a chronological approach that sorts ideas based on how they relate. 

However, be keen to cite your ideas properly, overcoming plagiarism claims. 

Research framework example

Business success

Hendricks (2003) defines business success as the attainment of the goals that are outlined in the business plan. This definition is further developed in Thomas’s (2008) work where he defines business success as the ability to meet targets that were set while staying ahead of competitors.

Unlike the former, the latter better expresses the success of a business as it accounts for the influence of competitors in achieving success. When goals are achieved but the competitors are commanding a bigger market share, the business may not realize its full potential and thus fails to achieve the criteria for success (Marquinhos, 2019).

Marquinhos’s definition is more relevant as it gives primacy to the competitive advantage of a business which helps a company command a bigger market share.

Writing an Excellent Conclusion for Thesis or Dissertation

The last part of your essay often proves the most tedious. Having invested a substantial amount of time collecting sources, conducting experiments, and putting together a coherent discussion, you may feel drained to commit your focus to prepare the conclusion chapter.

Also, transitioning from specific arguments to a general summary of your research can prove challenging. This article will guide you on how to conclude a thesis, helping you give the reader a clear understanding of the main findings and also to highlight the answer to your research question.

What is the goal of a conclusion?

The conclusion of a thesis is made up of broad statements of the major insights from your research. This section is thus aimed to summarize the findings for your research questions and to draw recommendations for subsequent research, ensuring that you address various gaps in your paper.

The conclusion also serves to demonstrate the new knowledge you have added to a field, helping the reader make out the key findings of your research.

Elements of a conclusion

The conclusion, like other chapters in a paper, is divided into multiple parts including the introduction, the thesis statement, your main findings, the recommendations, and limitations. The introduction should transition from the discussion, helping the reader to understand that you are summarizing your paper.

The thesis statement helps you to bring back the main objectives into focus, clarifying your findings without the clutter of information contained within your discussion section. Recommendations are also a crucial part of the thesis conclusion as they acknowledge the limitations of your research, recommending how various research gaps from your study can be addressed in subsequent research.

How long should your conclusion be?

The conclusion of a thesis makes up between 5% and 10% of the total word count. this word count allows you to summarize your paper without over-dwelling on arguments that were previously exhausted in the body of your dissertation. 

It is worth noting that your dissertation should be free of new information as this could cause confusion for your reader or render your paper incomplete.

How to write a thesis conclusion

Here, we’ll highlight some steps on how to end a thesis, helping you to easily conclude your paper and overcome the common stumbling blocks for students.

  1. Answer the main research question

Before you write your conclusion, highlight what you intended to achieve in your research and the key findings relating to your hypothesis. This will give you a scope of your key ideas, ensuring the relevance of your conclusion to the paper. 

  1. Make recommendations for the future

After clarifying your key argument, check the limitations of your research and analyse the gaps in your paper. from these, recommend the improvements and alternative research approaches that would yield better results. 

This will overcome various counterarguments and guide the reader to make improvements on the research topic.

  1. Challenge various counterarguments

Before completing your paper, tackle the key counterargument in your topic, allowing the reader to see your stance regarding the topic. this overcomes any conflicts of ideologies, also helping you defend your paper from the obvious criticism from already existing work. 

  1. Highlight your contributions

Finally, outline the contributions you made in your field, helping the reader to summarize your work without the influence of various ideas in your discussion.

How to restate your thesis in the conclusion

It is crucial to restate your thesis to reintroduce a central argument in your paper and also to transition smoothly to your summary. However, repeating the thesis stamen verbatim may result in redundancy, compromising your reader’s interest.

Therefore, consider restating your thesis to highlight your key argument without resorting to the overused transition statements such as; in conclusion, as I conclude, and lastly.

Some of the tips for restating your thesis include:

  • Reread your original thesis statement to make out the main keywords and highlight the main points on which your research is based.
  • Paraphrase your thesis either by altering the structure of your sentence or changing tenses and shortening/ lengthening your thesis statement.

Final take

We hope that these tips come in handy to help you write a quality conclusion. If you are still facing challenges with your paper, consider seeking expert help from our team to improve your writing skills and to ensure the quality of your essay without exceeding the due date.

We highly recommend that you check a thesis conclusion example to better acquaint yourself with the process of writing an essay and to seek a dissertation rubric to identify the requirements for your conclusion chapter.