29 thoughts on “Using Conceptual Frameworks in Qualitative Research

  1. I only wish I knew as much as you in this area. You have made it very easy to follow and understand. I am starting a project, but just don't know how to get started…very frustrating. You are truely blessed with your gift.

    1. Dear Dawn, my ‘gift’ is my passion for research that contributes to social change, and while research can be complex and challenging – if you pick a topic you are really interested in, you will be highly motivated to overcome any problems that may arise. The key to starting a project is very careful planning from the outset. Ask yourself the question: what are my research aims and objectives? This should then point you towards methodology and determining the most appropriate research methods for your project. Best of Luck!

    2. Dear Dr. Deborah,

      I am an Ed.D student and have just started working on my thesis. I have been first struggling with the research question, though I know what I want to work on, there are several factors that arise in the event, that requires one to reframe and rephrase the research question. I am from Singapore, my research interest is in quality assurance in higher education and I am examining it from my institution’s perspective. My research question is “How a quality assurance process transformed an art school to one of a tertiary level, a phenomenological study through staff experience.” As you can see I decided to use phenomenology as a methodology and the method will be interviews of staff. But then I am stuck with so many other questions, first about my research question, next the conceptual framework or theories to support….

  2. Madam, I realy appreciate your constructive idea , you clearly made a good and reasonable differences between inductive research approach and deductive research approach. Big up once again.

  3. Thank you. I am refining my thesis proposal and your explanation made clear again how to stay focused, clear and precise. 

  4. Thank you Deborah  I also wish l had in-depth on research. My wish is to uproot the carnage on south African roads.  This has helped me shape up my research proposal in Professional Development  course . Regards 

  5. Hi Deborah, Thank you for sharing this,
    I would greatly appreciate if you could elaborate more on Research Paradigm (as stated in slide no 6/10).
    Transformative Emancipatory Paradigm
    Interpretive paradigm
    Critical Paradigm.

    Your reply is highly appreciated thanks

    1. Hi Yusuf, glad the slides have been useful for you. I strongly recommend that you read this book as it will provide in-depth overview on the Transformative Emancipatory Paradigm and Critical Paradigm. Essentially, both are concerned with giving voice to marginalised groups and changing the balance of power in research.
      Truman, C., Mertens, D.M. and Humphries, B. eds., 2000. Research and inequality. Psychology Press.

      The Interpretative Research Paradigm is a qualitative approach that aims to understand the world through the subjective experience of individuals. I recommend this book for in-depth reading on the subject:

      Schwartz-Shea, P. and Yanow, D., 2013. Interpretive research design: Concepts and processes. Routledge.

    2. Dr. Gabriel,

      Thank you so much for providing your thoughts for all to be supported in working through our research. I have been out of the classroom for quite some time and just now beginning work on my dissertation proposal. Your straightforward slides made it very easy for my brain to reengage the material in a more useful way than I ever did in the classroom. I have shared your website with my colleagues who are also working on completing their doctorates.

      Additionally, I am hearing about the Transformative Emancipatory Paradigm and Black Feminist Standpoint Theory for the first time from you. I am using Critical Race Theory as one of my theoretical frameworks and it seems these other two aspects will be essential to consider as well. Thank you so much for providing the resources to Yusuf and in turn the rest of us by replying to comments.

      Your work is incredibly helpful and valuable, thank you again!

      With gratitude,

      Molly O. Kennedy

      1. Thanks so much for your comments Molly – I’m glad my posts have been useful for you – good luck with your dissertation!

  6. Hi Deborah,
    I am currently doing an exploratory research topic on The impact of democracy on state relations in the International System with a case study of the European Union. It looks at using a regional bloc- the EU as a tool for fostering democracy globally. I was wondering if it would be possible to carry out data analysis using only secondary sources (qualitative) given that I live in a non-EU country which limits my use of primary research methods. And If possible I would like to know how this caan be done.

  7. Dear Deborah
    Thank you for this helpful post – I am currently writing my master thesis and this provide some needed guidance.
    Best from Switzerland

  8. Hi Deborah, how was ur day? I wish u all the best.
    Deborah I’m trying to do my MA thesis, and all informations those I got from u, adds something on my knowledge.
    thanks alot!

  9. It’s great to read to sharpen the knowledge and your presentation satisfies my thirsty mind. Lot of thanks for your kind efforts to enrich anyone who wants to be served with your contribution.

  10. Hi Deborah
    Thank you for your nice and helpful post – this will help me and my student also.
    Best from Bangladesh.

  11. Need help to develop a conceptual frame work for my PhD proposal. I have struggled for two months and has failed to come up with objectives and conceptual frame work. My topic is “COMMUNICATION PATTERNS OF ADULT-CHILDREN RAISED BY SINGLE PARENTS IN THE POST CONFLICT REGION “. The idea is about post war children raised by single parents. I could post details of what I scripted on you mail if accepted. I will be grateful for you help.

    Efiti Filliam -Uganda

  12. Hello Deborah. I would love more explanation on creating the conceptual framework itself. I am a PhD student and at the stage where I have to create a conceptual model of my ideas. However, I am having some difficulties achieving this. My study is purely qualitative.

    1. Hi Kelvin, one you have determined the area of enquiry, your aims and objectives for the research, the most appropriate conceptual approach should jump out you. It might be a singular framework or more commonly a combination of complementary approaches. Maybe you can play around with mind maps to help you work through this stage?

  13. I am so happy. Thanks for your help and support. I feel like I am in a class room.

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