Example Theoretical Framework of a Dissertation or Thesis
Your theoretical framework defines the key concepts in your research, suggests relationships between them, and discusses relevant theories based on your literature review.
A strong theoretical framework gives your research direction, allowing you to convincingly interpret, explain, and generalise from your findings.
Sample problem statement and research questions
Your theoretical framework is based on:
As the concepts of ‘loyalty’ and ‘customer satisfaction’ play a major role in the investigation and will later be measured, they are essential concepts to define within your theoretical framework.
Sample theoretical framework
Below is a simplified example showing how you can describe and compare theories. In this example, we focus on the concept of customer satisfaction introduced above.
Of course, you could analyse the concepts more thoroughly and compare additional definitions to each other. You could also discuss the theories and ideas of key authors in greater detail and provide several models to illustrate different concepts.
Your theoretical framework
Frequently asked questions about sample theoretical frameworks
- Is a theoretical framework part of a literature review?
A theoretical framework can sometimes be integrated into a literature review chapter, but it can also be included as its own chapter or section in your dissertation. As a rule of thumb, if your research involves dealing with a lot of complex theories, it’s a good idea to include a separate theoretical framework chapter.
- What is the difference between a conceptual framework and a theoretical framework?
- What is the difference between a literature review and a theoretical framework?
A literature review and a theoretical framework are not the same thing and cannot be used interchangeably. While a theoretical framework describes the theoretical underpinnings of your work, a literature review critically evaluates existing research relating to your topic. You’ll likely need both in your dissertation.
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