A theoretical framework is a structured set of concepts, theories, and principles that provide a foundation for understanding a particular phenomenon or topic. It is derived from existing theories and research in a specific field and helps researchers frame their study and develop hypotheses. A theoretical framework helps guide the research process by providing a theoretical lens through which to interpret and analyze data. It establishes the theoretical underpinnings of a study and helps explain the relationships between variables or concepts.
A conceptual framework, on the other hand, focuses on defining and organizing key concepts or variables within a study. It provides a visual or written representation of the relationships between these concepts and serves as a guide for the researcher's thinking and analysis. A conceptual framework helps clarify the scope and boundaries of a study, identifies the main concepts to be studied, and shows how these concepts are related to each other. It aids in organizing the research and serves as a tool for developing research questions and hypotheses.
In summary, a theoretical framework establishes the theoretical foundation and relationships between variables in a study, while a conceptual framework defines and organizes the key concepts within that study. The two frameworks work together to provide a theoretical and organizational structure for research, guiding the researcher's thinking and analysis.