Conceptual framework

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  • Educate your child, they must live in a time different from you Muhammad (PBUH) Mrs. Samia Dogar Associate ProfFederal College Of Education H-9 Islamabad

  • The Conceptual Framework*

  • Conceptual frameworks go by many names; model, conceptual model, conceptual considerations, theoretical considerations, theoretical frameworks etc.Sometimes it is simply integrated into the problem description, but in academic proposals, conceptual frameworks are usually presented in a separate section.*

  • Although a conceptual framework may not always be required in a research proposal or plan , no economic research should start without developing one.There is more misunderstanding and confusion about the conceptual framework than any other part of a research proposal (or project) or plan .What is it?What is the purpose?How is it approached?It is an integral part of understanding and analyzing the research problem or plan.*

  • The reasoning in the conceptual framework runs through the whole proposalor plan .


  • The conceptual framework is often neglected, or done hastily and inadequatelyReasons for this might be that it requires complex reasoning and abilitiesAbstract reasoningRecognition and synthesis of central pointsKnowledge of existing relevant theoryUnderstanding the details of a problem and the surrounding issuesIt is hard work and often frustrating*

  • Another reason the conceptual framework is overlooked is that researchers often want to get on with real research instead of theorizing (especially in subject-matter and problem-solving research)However, failure to conceptualize while planning, may actually slow down the research, or can lead to fatal errors in design, procedures or interpretation.


  • Role of the Conceptual FrameworkConcepts are generalizations. In economics, a concept is a logical, mental construction of one or more relationships.Concepts are inherently abstract and are based on logic and reasoning. In economics, concepts typically focus on relationships between variables or between operational steps.The primary purpose of the conceptual framework is to lead to hypotheses or steps that are subject to testing*

  • Source Material for the Conceptual Framework: TheoriesWhich theory is relevant? The relevant theory will provide insights into one or more of the following issues:Sources of the research problem or planePossible solutions to the problemRelevant variables or stepsRelationships involved in analyzing the problemHypotheses to be tested*

  • Hypotheses and Hypothesis TestingA primary function of the conceptual framework is to lead to hypotheses relevant to the research problem. Hypotheses result from the reasoning done in the conceptual framework.Hypotheses need to be testable and refutable.Hypotheses are tentative assertions that are subject to testing.


  • Three difficulties people often have in developing hypotheses are:Absence of a clear theoretical framework or absence of theoryInability to use the framework logically to see the hypotheses withinFailure to understand research techniques that allow the hypotheses to be tested


  • Operational SuggestionsKeep a clear focus on the primary purpose of the conceptual framework to analyze the research problem.A good way to start is to use simple conceptual models, and then build on them to the complexity and sophistication necessary.This can be a useful approach for all kinds of research, policy analysis, and problem solving.*

  • The following steps may be useful in developing the conceptual model:Study the research literature related to your problem. How have others conceptualized problems similar to yours? Are their conceptual analyses adaptable to your framework?Reduce the problem to the simplest set of conditions. Sometimes you can assume away parts of a complex problem to gain an initial understanding.Identify applicable economic theory. Consider a wide range of economic theories in selecting the most appropriate.


  • 4)Start with a base model analysis. Based on your literature review and basic assumptions, start with a simple model (statistical, graphical, mathematical ) Expand the base model to other relevant dimensions of the problem. Alter and relax assumptions, then reanalyze the problem. This will likely make the model more complex, but remember, the goal is not complexity, but rather, accurately addressing the problem.Assemble relevant, testable hypotheses from the conceptual analysis.


  • Examples*

  • Models that develop interlinked explanatory factorsFigure 6: A Conceptual Model of SBCD (Marsh, 2009)

  • What are the key elements of our Conceptual Framework?Vision is our destination--our desired result for all that we do. Our Vision is our sense of purpose, the underlying reason why we do what we do.

    Our Vision is Reflection in Action.

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