Not Signed-In
Which clippings match 'Theoretical Framework' keyword pg.1 of 1
23 FEBRUARY 2015

Conceptual Frameworks and Theoretical Frameworks

"Current usage of the terms conceptual framework and theoretical framework are vague and imprecise. In this paper I define conceptual framework as a network, or 'a plane,' of interlinked concepts that together provide a comprehensive understanding of a phenomenon or phenomena. The concepts that constitute a conceptual framework support one another, articulate their respective phenomena, and establish a framework–specific philosophy. Conceptual frameworks possess ontological, epistemological, and methodological assumptions, and each concept within a conceptual framework plays an ontological or epistemological role. The ontological assumptions relate to knowledge of the 'way things are,' 'the nature of reality,' 'real' existence, and 'real' action (Guba & Lincoln, 1994). The epistemological assumptions relate to 'how things really are' and 'how things really work' in an assumed reality (p. 108). The methodological assumptions relate to the process of building the conceptual framework and assessing what it can tell us about the 'real' world."

(Yosef Jabareen, 2009)

Jabareen, Y. (2009). Building a Conceptual Framework: Philosophy, Definitions, and Procedure. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 8(4).


2009academic research • building conceptual frameworks • concepts • conceptual analysis • conceptual construct • conceptual development • conceptual framework • conceptual frameworks • conceptual model • conceptually specified categories • consistency of the concept • discipline-oriented theories • Egon Guba • epistemological assumptions • epistemological criteria • general theoretical framework • grounded theoryInternational Journal of Qualitative Methods • interpretative approach • interpretive framework • methodological assumptions • network of linked concepts • ontological assumptions • ontological perspective • plane of linked concepts • research paradigmresearch process • ResearchGate • specific paradigm of enquiry • theoretical explanation • theoretical frameworktheoretical frameworks • Yosef Jabareen • Yvonna Lincoln


Simon Perkins
03 APRIL 2010

Interpretive research is knowledge that is gained, or at least filtered, through social constructions such as language, consciousness, and shared meanings

"Following Klein & Myers (1999), the foundation assumption for interpretive research is that knowledge is gained, or at least filtered, through social constructions such as language, consciousness, and shared meanings. In addition to the emphasis on the socially constructed nature of reality, interpretive research acknowledges the intimate relationship between the researcher and what is being explored, and the situational constraints shaping this process. In terms of methodology, interpretive research does not predefine dependent or independent variables, does not set out to test hypotheses, but aims to produce an understanding of the social context of the phenomenon and the process whereby the phenomenon influences and is influenced by the social context (Walsham, 1995)."

(Bruce H. Rowlands, 2005)

ISSN 1477–7029 81 ©Academic Conferences Ltd Reference this paper as: Rowlands B (2005) 'Grounded in Practice: Using Interpretive Research to Build Theory' The Electronic Journal of Business Research Methodology Volume 3 Issue 1, pp 81–92, available online at

Klein, H., & Myers, M., (1999), 'A Set of Principals for Conducting and Evaluating Interpretive Field Studies in Information Systems', MIS Quarterly, Vol 23, No 1, pp 67–94.

Walsham, G., (1995), 'Interpretive Case Studies in IS Research: Nature and Method', European Journal of Information Systems, Vol 4. No 2, pp.74–81.



Simon Perkins
15 NOVEMBER 2009

Learning algebra in a computer algebra environment : design research on the understanding of the concept of parameter

"Design research – also known as developmental research or development research – is a research methodology that aims at developing theories, instructional materials and an empirically grounded understanding of 'how the learning works' (Research Advisory Committee, 1996). The main objective of design research is understanding and not explaining (Bruner, 1996). This objective implies different norms of justification than would be the case in comparative empirical research. One important feature of design research is the adaptation of the learning trajectory throughout the research; based on previous experience, the instructional sequences and teaching experiment conditions are adjusted. Therefore, design research is particularly suitable in situations where a full theoretical framework is not yet available and where hypotheses are still to be developed. The methodology of design research is addressed in many recent publications (e.g. van den Akker, 1999; Brown, 1992; Edelson, 2002; Freudenthal, 1991; Gravemeijer, 1993, 1994, 1998; Gravemeijer & Cobb, 2001; Leijnse, 1995; Treffers, 1993). In spite of varying interpretations of the notion of design research, there is agreement on the identification of two key aspects: the cyclic character of design research and the central position of the design of instructional activities. We now address these two issues.

The cyclic character of design research

Design research has a cyclic character: a design research study consists of research cycles in which thought experiments and teaching experiments alternate. We distinguish macro–cycles that concern the global level of the teaching experiments, and micro–cycles that concern the level of subsequent lessons. Gravemeijer argued that the cycles lead to a cumulative effect of small steps, in which teaching experiments provide 'feed–forward' for the next thought experiments and teaching experiments (Gravemeijer, 1993, 1994).

A macro–cycle of design research consists of three phases: the preliminary design phase, the teaching experiment phase, and the phase of retrospective analysis. In the last–mentioned phase, the reflection captures the development of the insights of the researcher. Following Goffree (1986) and Schön (1983), Gravemeijer called this 'reflection–in–action' (Gravemeijer, 1993, 1994). As a result, new theories, new hypotheses and new instructional activities emerge, that form the feed–forward for the next research cycle that may have a different character, according to new insights and hypotheses. The process of the researcher's thinking should be reported, to ensure the trackability of this development for others (Freudenthal, 1991; Gravemeijer, 1994).

As far as the role of theory in design research is concerned, the term 'theory–guided bricolage' is used (Gravemeijer, 1994). The researcher is like a tinkerer, who tries to combine and integrate global and local theories, which may be issued from other domains, to develop a learning trajectory and a local instruction theory for a specific topic. This local instruction theory contributes to the development of the domain–specific instruction theory.

In our study, three full macro–cycles – indicated as G9–I, G9–II and G10–II – and one intermediate cycle were carried out. The first phase of preliminary design includes two related parts, the development of a hypothetical learning trajectory (HLT) and the design of instructional activities. This phase is followed by the teaching experiment and the retrospective analysis. Fig. 2.1 shows the three full research cycles. Cycle 1 started with a conceptual analysis that is described in Chapter 4. Each of the phases is elaborated on in Sections 2.3 – 2.6, whereas specific information on each of the cycles is presented in 2.7.

The role of design

A second characteristic of design research is the importance of the development of a learning trajectory that is made tangible in instructional activities (Gravemeijer, 1994). The design of instructional activities is more than a necessity for carrying out teaching experiments. The design process forces the researcher to make explicit choices, hypotheses and expectations that otherwise might have remained implicit. The development of the design also indicates how the emphasis within the theoretical development may shift and how the researcher's insights and hypotheses develop. We agree with Edelson, who argued that design of student texts is a meaningful part of the research methodology:

(...) design research explicitly exploits the design process as an opportunity to advance the researchers' understanding of teaching, learning, and educational systems. Design research may still incorporate the same types of outcome–based evaluation that characterize traditional theory testing, however, it recognizes design as an important approach to research in its own right. (Edelson, 2002, p.107)

This is particularly the case when the theoretical framework involved is under construction:

(...) it [the research] started with only a partial theory and has proceeded with the explicit goal of elaborating that theory before attempting any summary evaluation. The lessons that are emerging from this effort are being shaped by the concrete, practical work of design. (Edelson, 2002, p. 112)"

(Paulus Drijvers, Maria Hendrikus, 2003)

Fig.1 David Coghlan & Teresa Brannick (2001).



2003action researchalgebra • CAS • computer algebra • cyclicdesign-based research • development research • developmental research • how learning works • instructional materials • instructional sequences • learning trajectorymathematicsmathematics educationmathsmethodology • realistic mathematics education • reflection-in-actionresearchresearch methodologyresearch methods • retrospective analysis • technologytheoretical framework • theory-guided bricolage • tinkerer


Simon Perkins
16 OCTOBER 2009

Grounded in Practice: Using Interpretive Research to Build Theory

"This paper provides guidance and an example for carrying out research using an interpretive framework to build theory of IS practice. The paper provides an example of (a) developing a theoretical framework, (b) how to choose an appropriate research method, (c) particulars of data collection and analysis, and (d) appropriate evaluative criteria applicable to interpretive research. The research example is a study of decision–making by owner–managers of small firms in the IT industry in Australia. The aim of the study (1) was directed toward exploring and describing the decision making process of owner/managers regarding their participation with on–the–job training schemes for the first time; and (2) to develop process theory explaining their participation. While structured as a typical research paper, this paper is different in that the focus is on describing the research process, conceptual issues and the research methods used rather than the findings. This format is important for two reasons: (1) unlike positivist research, there is no accepted general model for communicating interpretive research. (2) Similarly, few guidelines exist for conducting the inductive process central to interpretive research. Throughout the paper, issues relating to the choice and application of the methods in terms of conducting inductive research are discussed. Given the practical importance of interpretive research in information systems it is argued that documenting the decisions about the research process may be particularly valuable to researchers in the information systems community."

(Bruce H. Rowlands)

Rowlands B (2005) 'Grounded in Practice: Using Interpretive Research to Build Theory' The Electronic Journal of Business Research Methodology Volume 3 Issue 1, pp 81–92, available online at
Download PDF from:


Simon Perkins

to Folksonomy

Can't access your account?

New to Folksonomy?

Sign-Up or learn more.