What is a Theoretical Framework?

A theoretical framework is one of the main parts of a research study and is fundamental to academic work. As a student, you are prone to face the task of coming up with one quite often. Knowing how to write a theoretical framework is thus vital to your success.

what is a theoretical framework essay

Writing any other type of paper or essay might be easy, but coming up with a theoretical challenge can sometimes be challenging. If you want to learn the particulars of this framework in research, then read on!

What is Meant by Theoretical Framework?

A theoretical framework consists of existing theories and their respective definitions that act as a plan for developing the concepts and arguments you will use in a study. Often, researchers develop theories to expound on complex phenomena, create connections and make viable predictions.

In understanding a theoretical framework, it is also necessary to explain the existing concepts. Also, the theories that support the research paper you are working on. This step shows that your topic is relevant. You should establish a dissertation on existing ideas to ensure credibility.


In simple terms, the theoretical framework definition lies in the contextualisation and justification of your research paper. This step is essential. An excellent theoretical framework will set you apart and ensure the success of your research paper and writing process later on.

What is Theoretical Framework and Example?

Before starting your research paper, you must familiarise yourself with the models and theories that other researchers in a similar field have developed. Learning how to write a theoretical framework is an opportunity to explain and present what you have analysed.

At EssayAxe, we understand that, more often than not, there are different concepts and theories regarding your chosen topic, especially if it is a broad field of study. After analysing all these theories, you will compare, evaluate and finally pick the most relevant ones.

Now that you have a firm grasp, you must frame your research study in a defined field. Properly framing your research paper gives the reader a better opportunity to understand the importance of your approach.

You must inform the reader of the rationale in later sections of your paper. Sections such as the discussion and methodology depend on credibility and relevance.

Having the proper knowledge of how to write a theoretical framework is the foundation for your analysis. It will also help you make better generalisations and interpret your findings.


Theoretical framework examples may vary in different fields. For instance, in literature, you might use books from authors such as Samuel Becket, John Barth, and Italo Calvino to analyse postmodernist literary theory and develop a theoretical framework.

In health sciences, researching and picking from authors in the field is also crucial. For instance, researching the impacts of alcohol use in society. The study framework would pick credible research. Since it is a broad topic, the field of study would narrow down to specify a demographic such as age group.

Another example in psychology would entail analysing the works of Ivan Pavlov or Edward Thorndike to develop a basis of study for a psychological behaviourism paper.

What is Theoretical Framework in Research Example?

Generally, a theoretical framework in research studies is based on relevant and existing concepts. It relays assumptions of the relationship between theory and concepts applied to a study.

Below are key questions that a theoretical framework addresses

  1. What are the consequences of the current study?
  2. What are the objectives of the study? Does it seek to describe, explain, critique, read or support?
  3. What is the perception of the phenomenon being studied?

Theoretical Framework Examples

Some examples in research include:

Ground theory approach

This approach utilises emerging theories while collecting data and focuses on discovery instead of an explanation.

For instance, in the case of a question such as “what is the impact of climate change?” a grounded theory technique would aid a researcher in explaining their concepts.

The key assumptions of the grounded theory approach.

  • The development of theory is a continuous process.
  • Theory creation is done during the research.
  • The theoretical framework is built on theoretic sensitivity.

Critical theory approach

In this approach, researchers can consider the power dynamics within society and focus on how representation, voice, and access are key to a study.

For instance, in the question of “How does colonisation impact women in society?” the critical theory approach would centre on the power dynamic and its relationship to the theme of the study.

The critical theory approach ensures that attention is centred on the following themes.

  • Power dynamics and the intersection of various societal themes, such as oppression.
  • Examination of critical themes such as colonialism, patriarchy, and capitalism.
  • The dynamic between behaviour and structural forces.
  • The importance of social action.

Driving force approach

The driving force approach aids in examing the motivation behind people’s decisions and actions. It proposes to explore why something happens.

For instance, in the question, “why are men paid more than women?” the driving force approach would guide a researcher in examining people’s motives. This approach thus helps answer the research question.

Key considerations in the driving force approach.

  • The use of case studies
  • Making comparisons between diverse circumstances.
  • Importance of individual action.
  • The motivation that drives human behaviour.

How do you Identify a Theoretical Framework?

It is important to understand that a theoretical framework is not easily found in the literature. You will need to review course material that pertains to your research. Then, scan for analytic models, theories, and relevant problems in research. Lastly, select an approach based on relevance, explanation power, and ease of application.

A theoretical framework should demonstrate comprehension of concepts and theories appropriate to your research paper’s topic. It must also relate to the field of knowledge relevant to your study. 

As a general rule of thumb, it is fundamental that the information contained in your theoretical framework is concise. Contact our professional team of writers if you have any questions or need help with your assignment.

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