Friday, September 6, 2019

How to Write the Conceptual Framework

conceptual framework represents the researcher's synthesis of the literature on how to explain a phenomenon. Similar to a recipe or a blueprint, the conceptual framework provides an outline of how you plan to conduct your study. The conceptual framework is anchored on the theoretical framework. Take into consideration that the conceptual framework should be consistent with the theoretical framework. The conceptual framework specifies the variables in the study and presents the relationship between them. 

alt="writing a conceptual framework"

  The difference between the conceptual from the theoretical framework is that theoretical framework in a study is based on an existing theory or theories (e.g., a theory of self-efficacy). The conceptual framework, on the other hand, is not a theory. The conceptual framework is a composite and detailed statement that expresses a general idea of a particular subject, while theory is a generalization of a phenomenon which has a global impact. Moreover, the conceptual framework is something you can develop yourself based on the theory. Conceptual frameworks are connected to a research purpose or aim. This framework becomes the focus of your study because this part is where you will employ your empirical research.

Designing a Conceptual Framework
If you are writing for the conceptual framework, you will also be making the conceptual paradigm. Conceptual paradigm otherwise called a research paradigm or schematic diagram sets as the model or map of your research study. It depicts in a more vivid way what the conceptual framework wants to convey. It sets an overall view on the direction of your study.

After identifying the different variables of the study it is time to construct the conceptual paradigm. The basic design of a conceptual paradigm are boxes, lines, and arrows.

Box - indicates the variables of the study
Line- indicates correlation or connection 
Arrow- indicates indicate a cause-effect relationship

Draw the box first and use the line to connect to the other variable. The arrow should indicate correlation and cause-effect relationships. Each arrow should start from the independent variable (causal influence) to the dependent variable (the variable that is being affected). Do not place an arrow if there is no assumed cause-effect relationship.

To write for the conceptual framework, you have to understand the different variables of your study. The variables are the following:
1.  Independent variable
2. Dependent variable
3. Moderating variable
4. Mediating variable
5. Control variable
6. Instrumental variable

Independent variable is the “assume cause” of the problem. It is an assumed reason for any “change” or variation in a dependent variable. This variable is systematically manipulated by the researcher and the focus of inquiry. Independent variables in the conceptual framework are those that (probably) cause, influence, or affect outcomes. They are also called experimental, treatment, antecedent, or predictor variables.

Dependent variable is the “assume effect” of the problem. The dependent variable in the conceptual framework is the factor or variable that is affected or influenced by the independent variable. It is the change that occurs in the study population when one or more factors are changed or when an intervention is introduced. Usually, the dependent variable is the problem itself. Other terms are the criterion, effect, response or outcome variable which captures the interest of the researcher. The dependent variable requires analysis, interpretation, and implication of the findings of the study.
alt="Conceptual Framework. Descriptive-Correlation study"
This conceptual framework shows the independent and dependent variables in the study. It is assumed that the more time a student prepares for the exam, the higher would be the academic performance.

Moderating variable is an independent variable that affects the direction and/or the strength of the relationship between independent and dependent variables. The independent variable interacts with the moderator variable which makes the relationship of the independent and dependent variable stronger or weaker.
alt="Moderating Variable Conceptual Framework.Descriptive-Correlation study"
This conceptual framework shows the independent, dependent, and moderating variables in the study. In the previous example, it is logical that the more time the student prepares for the exam, the better will be the academic performance. Adding a moderator variable of the study which is the intelligence quotient changes the independent variable which is hours of the study on the dependent variable which is students’ academic performance. It is assumed that the higher the intelligence quotient of a student would mean fewer hours of study to increase his/her academic performance.

Mediating variable or Intervening variable is a factor that exists between the independent to the dependent variable. It is a variable that explains why the relationship exists and bears influence on the effect of the independent variable on the dependent variable. This is also called as correlated or mediator variables.
alt="Mediating Variable Conceptual Framework.Descriptive-Correlation study"
This conceptual framework shows the independent, dependent, and mediating variable of the study. The relationship between the independent and dependent variable has already been established. In this model, the mediating variable is added which is the number of practice problem completed. As you noticed, the mediating variable comes between the independent and dependent variable. The inclusion of the mediating variable will strengthen the relationship between the independent and dependent variables. This would mean that the more hours the students spend time on studies, the more practice problems they can complete,  therefore, the better the academic performance.
The mediating variable should not be confused with moderating variables, as the independent variable does not affect the moderating variable. Such as in the previous example (see moderating variable), the number of hours a student will spend time on studies does not affect their intelligence quotient. No matter how long the student studies, their intelligence quotients will not increase. 

Control variables play an active role in quantitative studies. These are a special type of independent variable that researchers measure because they potentially influence the dependent variable. Researchers use statistical procedures (e.g., analysis of covariance [ANCOVA]) to control for these variables. Example in a study testing the effect of fertilizer on the growth of tomato, the amount of sunlight, the amount of water should be controlled. 
alt="Control Variable Conceptual Framework.Descriptive-Correlation study"
This conceptual framework shows the independent, dependent, and control variable of the study. It has already been established that the more the time the students spend on studies, the better the academic performance. In the given example, we add a control variable, which is health. It is assumed that the health condition affects the academic performance of the students. Control variable affects the dependent variable. 

The Input-Process-Output Model
     The Input-Process-Output Model (IPO) is a conceptual paradigm that shows the inputs, required processing of tasks, and the output. The model will transform the input into an output. This approach is rooted in its definition of evaluation as the process of delimiting, obtaining, and providing useful information for judging decision alternatives. The IPO Model is also referred to as a functional model which is commonly used in action research where intervention or solution is necessary to solve the identified problem. 
      The Input is usually the independent variable of the study. Meanwhile, in the Process is consist of the instruments and analysis used to acquire the result. Lastly, the Output is the intervention or solution to solve the identified problem.

For example:

alt="Input-Process-Output Model in the Conceptual Framework"

Steps in Writing the Conceptual Framework
1. Do a literature review. Review relevant and updated review in relation to the study. It is important that the majority of references will be coming from published journals. For publication purposes, several reputable publishing journals require at least 60% for subscription journals and 40% from open access journals.

 2. Identify the variables in the study. 
Before identifying the independent and dependent variables, you have to put it into consideration that they should relate to one another based on the studies. For example, the variables of the study are knowledge in Mathematics and academic performance. There should be literature that states the relationship between knowledge and academic performance. Indicating the variables without a corresponding study to support their relationship will make your study less reliable.

Example, “Renell (2019) and Jarjani (2018) identified that the higher the knowledge of  a student in numerical principles the more likely the student will succeed in school.”

3. Generate the conceptual paradigm. A conceptual paradigm is a diagram or a picture that represents the structure and parts of a theory. Conceptual paradigm, also known as research paradigm or schematic diagram sets as the model or map of your research study. It sets an overall view on the direction of your study. 

4. Write your narrative. Not all conceptual frameworks are included in your conceptual paradigm. You can present the same information in the narrative section. Your narrative should summarize the variables of the study as well as the basic methodology of your study. Even if you already have the conceptual diagram, it is essential to include the narrative which helps in discussing the details of your study.

   In the next section, several examples of a conceptual framework are presented for you to get a better understanding of how you will construct the conceptual paradigm based on a particular study. Apart from illustrations, the research title, design, statistical analysis will be included for you to grasp the direction of the study better. 

Example 1
Research Title: Knowledge of Mathematics and Academic Performance Among Senior High School Students
In this conceptual framework, it is assumed that as the senior high school students gain more knowledge in Mathematics, their academic performance will improve. 

Conceptual Paradigm:
alt="Independent Variable in research"
Research Design: Descriptive - Correlation
Statistical Analysis: Test of Correlation (Parametric test: Pearson r, Non Parametric test: Spearman rho)

Example 2
Research Title: Effect of Mentoring Program on the Students Study Habits
In this conceptual framework, it is assumed that the students who undergo the mentoring program will have a better study habit than those who did not undergo the mentoring program.

Conceptual Paradigm:
alt="dependent Variable in research"
Research Design: Experimental Design
Statistical Analysis: Test of Difference (Parametric: T-Test for Dependent Sample or Paired T-Test, Non Parametric test: Wilcoxon Test)

Example 3
Research Title: Influencing Factors of Stress Among Radiologic Technology Interns
In this conceptual framework, the assume influencing factors are the monthly exam, peer pressure, and financial problem.

Conceptual Paradigm:
alt="dependent and independent Variables in research"
Research Design: Descriptive - Predictive
Statistical Analysis:  Regression Analysis (Linear Regression)

Example 4
Research Title: Nursing Intervention and the Extent of Recovery of Post-Operative Patients
In this conceptual framework, the assumed moderating variables are the work experience of the nurses and health care facilities.

Conceptual Paradigm:
alt="Moderator Variables in research"
Research Design: Descriptive - Predictive
Statistical Analysis:  Regression Analysis (Linear Regression) for the IV-DV Mediated Regression (Mediating Variables)

Example 5 
Research Title: Teaching Approaches as Mediating Effect of Preoperative Teaching and the Extent of Pain Relief Needed by the Patient
In this conceptual framework, the assumed mediating variable is the teaching approaches.

Conceptual Paradigm:
alt="Mediating Variables in research"
Research Design: Descriptive - Predictive
Statistical Analysis:  Regression Analysis (Linear Regression) for the IV-DV Mediated Regression (Mediating Variables)

Example 6 
Research Title: Motivation and Coping Skills of the Students at St. Mary’s Computer College
In this conceptual framework, four variables are involved in this study, the independent, dependent, mediating and moderating variables.

Conceptual Paradigm:
alt="Mediating and Moderating variables in the Conceptual Framework"
Research Design: Descriptive - Correlation
Statistical Analysis:  Mean (IV), Mean (DV), Correlation, Moderated Regression Analysis, Mediated Regression Analysis

Example 7
Research Title: Knowledge, Attitude, and Practices on Food Safety Among the Manobo Tribe: Basis for a Proposed Intervention Program
In this conceptual framework, the result and findings of the research will be a basis for a proposed intervention Program.

Conceptual Paradigm:
alt="Input process output in research"

Research Design: Descriptive - Survey
Statistical Analysis:  Mean

Example 8
Research Title: Awareness of Antiseptic Practices and Incidence of Sepsis in Barangay 11-B: A Basis of Proposed Health Care Enhancement Program

In this conceptual framework, it is assumed that as the awareness of antiseptic practices increases, the fewer the incidence of sepsis in Barangay 11-B. The demographic profile in terms of age, sex, marital status, socio-economic status and educational attainment act as the moderating variables of the study. Based on the result, a health care enhancement program is proposed. This study is consists of independent, dependent, moderating variables, and output.

Conceptual Paradigm:
alt="Input process output and dependent variable in research"
Research Design: Descriptive - Correlation
Statistical Analysis:  Mean (IV), Mean (DV), Correlation, Moderated Regression Analysis

Example 9
Research Title: Health-seeking Behaviors and Compliance on Complete Treatment Package Program Among Hypertensive Clients in Davao Oriental: A Proposed Enhancement Program

In this conceptual framework, it is assumed that as the health-seeking behaviors of the respondents in terms of knowledge and attitude, the hypertensive clients will be more compliant with the treatment package. Furthermore, the association of the demographic profile in terms of age, sex, civil status, socio-economic status, and education attainment with the variables will be determined. Based on the result of the study, an enhancement program is proposed.

Conceptual Paradigm:
alt="Moderating variables in the Conceptual Framework. Input-Process-Output Model"
Research Design: Descriptive - Correlation
Statistical Analysis: Mean (IV), Mean (DV), Correlation, Chi-square test of  association


1. David, F. (2002). Understanding and Doing Research: A Handbook for Beginners. Writing a Conceptual Framework. Philippines.  Panorama Printing Inc.
2. Tan, E. (2006).  A Research Guide in Nursing Education. Writing a Conceptual Framework. Third Edition. Philippines. Visual Print Enterprise.
3. Writing the Conceptual Framework. Scribbr. retrieved on September 15, 2019
4. Zulueta, F. and Costales Jr., N. (2005). Methods of Thesis-Writing and Applied Statistics. Philippines. National Bookstore.

#WritingAConceptual Framework



  1. This is is what i call "God Sent" information!! i have been straggling to understand the conceptual framework... thanks

  2. tnx. i needed this, so much!

  3. the examples are concise and practical. this is a great help.

  4. Very informative n easy to understand, it really filled the gap of my knowledge on Conceptual framework..

  5. Very informative and straightforward. Highly recommended.


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