The Components of the Theoretical Framework

Posted by Sohail Khatri  |  at  8:11 PM No comments

A good theoretical framework identifies and labels the important variables in the situation that are
relevant to the problem identified. It logically describes the interconnections among these
variables. The relationships among the independent variables, the dependent variable(s), and if
applicable, the moderating and intervening variables are elaborated.
The elaboration of the variables in the theoretical framework addresses the issues of why or how
we expect certain relationships to exist, and the nature and direction of the relationships among
the variables of interest. At the end, the whole discussion can be portrayed in a schematic
diagram. There are six basic features that should be incorporated in any theoretical framework.
 These features are:

1. Make an inventory of variables: For developing a framework it appears essential to
identify the factors relevant to the problem under study. These factors are the empirical
realities which can be named at some abstract level called concepts. The concepts taking
more than one value are the variables. In other words the researcher makes an inventory
of relevant variables. The variables considered relevant to the study should be clearly
identified and labeled in the discussion.

2. Specify the direction of relationship: If the nature and direction of relationship can be
theorized on the basis of the findings of previous research, then there should be an
indication in the discussion as to whether the relationship should be positive or negative.

3. Give a clear explanation of why we should expect the proposed relationships to exist.
There should be clear explanation of why we would expect these relationships to exist.
The arguments could be drawn from the previous research findings. The discussions
should state how two or more variables are related to one another. This should be done
for the important relationships that are theorized to exist among the variables. It is
essential to theorize logical relationship between different variables.

 4. Make an inventory of propositions: Stipulation of logical relationship between any two
variables means the formulation of a proposition. If such relationships have been
proposed between different variables, it will result in the formulation of a number of
propositions. Let us call such a collection of propositions as an inventory of propositions.
Each proposition is backed up by strong theoretical argumentation.

5. Arrange these propositions in a sequential order: one proposition generates the next
proposition, which generates the next following proposition, which in turn generates the
next following proposition, and so on. This is an axiomatic way of the derivation of
propositions. Resultantly it will provide us a sequentially arranged set of propositions
which are interlinked and interlocked with each other. Theory, if you remember, is an
interrelated set of propositions. Therefore, the present interrelated set of propositions
relevant to a particular problem is in fact a theoretical framework explaining the
pathways of logical relationships between different variables.

6. Schematic diagram of the theoretical model be given: A schematic diagram of the
theoretical framework should be given so that the reader can see and easily comprehend
the theorized relationships.

Research Question: Why middle class families decline in their size?
By following the guidelines discussed earlier let us develop a theoretical framework.

1. Inventory of variables: Education levels of the couples, age at marriage, working
women, rationalism, exposure to mass media of communication, accessibility to health
services, practicing of family planning practices, aspirations about the education of
children, shift to nuclear families, mobility orientation.

2. Specify the direction of relationship: Higher the education higher the age at marriage.
Higher the education of women greater the chances of their being career women. Higher
the education more the rationalism. Higher the education more selective the exposure to
mass media of communication. Higher the education more the accessibility to health
services. Higher the education more the practicing of family planning practices. Higher
the education of the parents the higher their aspirations about the education of their
children. Higher the education of the couple greater thee chances of shifting to nuclear
families. Higher the education of the couples the higher their mobility orientation.

3. Give a clear explanation of why we should expect the proposed relationships to exist.
For example higher the education higher the age at marriage. One could build up the
argument like this: For purposes of getting high levels of education the youngsters spend
about 16 years of their life in educational institutions. Let us say they complete their
education at the age of 22 years. After completing education they spend 2-3 years for
establishing themselves in their careers. During this period continue deferring their
marriage. By the time they decide about their marriage they are about 25 years.
Compare this age at marriage with the age at marriage of 16 years. Obviously with this
higher age at marriage there is a reduction in the reproductive period of women.
Similarly we can develop logic in support of other proposed relationships.

4. Make an inventory of propositions. The proposed relationships under item 2 about
could be the examples of propositions.

5. Arrange these propositions in a sequential order. These propositions can be arranged

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