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Conceptual Framework Meaning: The Effects, Limitations and Misconceptions That a Researcher Faces

According to Margaret A. Eisenhart:

“Conceptual framework is a skeletal structure designed to support or enclose something”

Some common questions that arise in the minds of young student researchers are:

What is a conceptual framework definition of research and why is it so important?

Is developing a conceptual framework a common research
Practice or is it more than that?

So, before we tell you the positive effects of a conceptual framework for your research report, let’s have a look at theconceptual framework definition.

To define conceptual framework in research is to say that it is used to outline possible course of action or a preferred thought approach for the investigative process of a research. They attempt to connect all the important aspects of the study; for example, the problem, purpose, literature review, methodology, data collection etc.

It would not be wrong to call the conceptual framework a road map to the research report.

For this reason the system of assumptions, theories, beliefs and methods that are an integral part of the conceptual framework as an important part of the research report.

Why use the conceptual framework?

Researchers use the conceptual framework to link the present literature with their existing study goals. For example, if a researcher wants to study why women who are abused still stay with their respective partners, then you will have to gather previous past researches on the history of abused women and will have to link that to your current research goals.

Another advantage that the conceptual framework provides is that it gives a step by step instruction for his investigative study. A research report is generally started with the problem statement that is then developed into a hypothesis which governs the data collection and analytical process. A conceptual framework that is already laid out plays a vital role in guiding the research.

What are some of the limitations that the conceptual framework provides?

Sometimes following the conceptual framework can influence our thoughts, ideas and actions. A researcher should be prepared that just because he has lain out a particular concept does not mean that his study will result subsequently.

A common misconception in the conceptual framework of a research that is observed is

A lot of researchers confuse the conceptual framework with the literature review. Always remember, that the conceptual framework of a research report cannot be limited to theoretical publications because:

  • It narrows the focus of the entire research and fails to recognize your existing study.
  • It can make your research more theoretical rather than practical; which means that you would simply be stating what your previous researchers have found and how they have found it leaving no room for empirical study.

In conclusion, the conceptual framework definitionis to design a proper road map for your research report that covers all the important components of your study and links them to each other.


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