What Are Conceptual Frameworks? Here’s How to Construct!

A conceptual framework exhibits in research of what is expected to attain throughout the research. The conceptual framework tends to explain the variables which are used in the research as well as map out how these variables are relatable to each other. The reason for forming up a conceptual framework in research is utilised to exhibit relationships in between different notions as well as how they are related to each other in research. The core reason for a conceptual framework under research is to present the authors’ synthesis of the literature review and how to elucidate the concept so that the person reading may understand it clearly. Therefore, a conceptual framework is inclined to link the significant theories along with empirical research which forms the foundation of the study that has been carried out.

How to Construct a Conceptual Framework?

When it comes to constructing a conceptual framework, many dimensions are to be considered by the author of the study. A conceptual framework is an important visual tool that assists researchers to analyse and attain a comprehensive insight. A researcher needs to select the topic for the research related to his or her area of study. Conceptual Framework can be utilised in different variations, so it is generally utilised to visually explain the relationships, systems and ideas in an organised approach. A conceptual framework is embedded in quantitative researches, hence the variables are drawn upon in it. The conceptual framework is formed in a narrative or graphical form, exhibiting the important constructs or variables. The construction of conceptual framework is induced by placing the position of variables relevant to the study. The variables are constructed by understanding the link between the variables associated with the study and grasp the factors placed within a conceptual framework. These variables can be independent, dependent, moderate, mediating and controlling variables. These variables are important as they show the relationship that exists among the variables derived from the research. The dimensions of the conceptual framework are discussed further discussed and shown below.


Variables: In research, the variables are defined as properties or characteristics that the researcher is inclined to study.

Independent and Dependent Variable: The independent variable is the variable that is expected to be impacted by influence of dependent variable. Whereas, the dependent variable is what may happen as a result of an independent variable.

Moderating Variables: It is a variable, the existence of which changes the original relationship in between dependent and variable relationship. In addition, the moderating variable leads under any study which decreases or increases influence that an independent variable has upon dependent variable.

Mediating Variables: It helps to explain the relationship between the two variables. Moreover, it explains the correlation held between the two or more variables.

Control Variables: In research, the control variable is that variable that is held constant in the study. In addition, these variables are such that they support the independent variables.

What is the Structure of the Conceptual Framework?

Conceptual Frameworks are mostly formed by authors when they are conducting research. The conceptual framework is likely to be generative frameworks that reflect or show the thinking of the whole research procedure.  The structure of framework includes some steps which are mentioned below.

Selection of the Topic: The researcher of the study needs to make sure that the topic selected for the research needs to be within the area of specialisation.

Placing Literature Review: The author of the research needs to make sure he or she has carried out a literature review via various sources. This is an important step, as a major part of the research is dependent upon it

Isolate Significant Variables: The author of the research needs to make sure he or she can identify the profound independent variable and dependent variables grasped by the literature and they have to figure out in which ways they are relatable to each other.

Generating the Conceptual Framework: The researcher needs to develop a conceptual framework utilising a mixture of different variables from the scientific articles which have been used for the study by the researcher for a particular subject matter. In addition, the conceptual framework is formed by making sure researcher takes into account the problem statement and/or research objectives when developing it.

As exhibited above the conceptual framework is drawn by considering the argumentation, explanation and generation factors. The argumentation factors are important to make sure an adequate method is used for the study. Another factor that is an explanation, as shown above, it is essential to address major relationships among variables. In addition, the element of generation includes the consideration of research question, data collection and data analysis.

Difference between Conceptual Framework and Theoretical Framework

In the notion of research, dissertation or thesis, some differences are existing in between conceptual framework and theoretical framework. Although both of these frameworks work hand in hand, there still lies different characteristics which makes them different. When it comes to a theoretical framework, it addresses a broader, wide or general set of ideas which are belonging to research. On the other hand, a conceptual framework is regarded to exhibit narrow or specific ideas which a researcher utilises within his or her study. Furthermore, under theoretical framework is relied on existing theories or theories formed by an expert in the past which had been validated and tested by other research scholars. Whereas, the conceptual framework is based upon the concept which includes the major variables under a study.
Furthermore, the theoretical framework is carried out as a kind of theory that pivots the research with exponents of the studies. Whilst, when it comes to conceptual framework the researcher makes sure to explain the relationship that prevails among major variables in the research study. Besides, under theoretical framework, pertains the theories which are interrelated with the proposal mentioned. On the other hand, conceptual framework pertains to the concepts that are interconnected to evaluate the relationships among them and in which ways the author of the study asserts to answer the research problem.

Do and Don’t for Conceptual Framework


Checklist for Conceptual Framework

  • Conceptual Framework should be showing the relationship held in between the variables.
  • The Conceptual Framework should be clearly understood by reader of the research.
  • Conceptual Framework should be based upon qualitative study.
  • The variables should be properly placed when making a Conceptual Framerwork.

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