Construction and Application of Conceptual Framework as Research Tool: A Researcher’s Reflections

Nana Yaw Oppong


The importance of any study is demonstrated through the linkages made between research questions and larger theoretical concepts or policy, demonstrating how the particulars of the study serve to illuminate larger issues and, therefore, portraying the significance of the study. This theoretical concept or conceptual framework has the functions of building a foundation of the research; demonstrating how study advances knowledge; conceptualising the study; assessing the research design and instrumentation; and providing reference point for interpretation the findings. This paper outlines the author’s reflections on the building and application of a conceptual framework as a research tool.


Author’s aim is to share his experience with researchers, especially students, who may be required to apply the tool but may find difficulty developing one. Using author’s own (PhD) research topic, the paper firstly discusses the various stages that input to construct the framework and, secondly, considers how the choice of research methodology, data collection and analysis techniques are informed by the framework.


Key lesson is that a well-constructed conceptual framework has the potential of informing the choice of appropriate research methodology that in turn influences the data collection and analysis techniques, and even the research findings. This paper is expected to be of value to anyone seeking to better understand conceptual framework as a research tool, especially ‘young’ researchers who may be required to develop and apply one but may find it difficult doing so.

Key Words: Conceptual framework; literature review; methodology; data collection method; data analysis method

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