Theoretical Framework in Qualitative Research

Theories offer nuanced and sometimes complete conceptual comprehension of phenomena that are difficult to define. (Reeves, Albert, Kuper, & Hodges, 2008). The structure that holds or supports an idea of research study is known as the theoretical framework. (Lynham, 2017). It comprises of ideas and theories needed to verify the accuracy of available data.

Importance of Theoretical Framework

Exploratory research, or qualitative research, focuses on comprehending specific opinions, justifications, and motivations related to the subject under study. Theoretical framework is the philosophy approach that most researches are based on and justifies the importance and significance of a qualitative research. The main purpose of theoretical framework in qualitative research is to validate poor and non-existing data and creates reliability of the data by rooting a theoretical framework in a specific theory (Lederman & lenderman, 2017). This is accomplished through introduction and description of theories that explain why qualitative research problem under study exists. Furthermore, it explains the results of qualitative research. It predicts suitable methods to use when carrying out qualitative research. It also gives rationale for the development of qualitative research questions or hypothesis.

Formulating Theoretical Framework in Qualitative Research

Sometimes theoretical framework is formulated in quality research to understand the topic of study before actual research develops factual data. Theoretical framework demonstrates understanding and evaluation of concepts and theories that are relevant to the qualitative topic of research. Lastly, theoretical framework may be used to limits the scope of relevant data. The identification and use of framework adds power to the strength of a quality study for it helps in the design of quality research and is mostly embedded in the literature review of research in question.

Role of Theoretical Framework in Qualitative Research

Qualitative researchers sometimes use their qualitative research to develop theoretical framework because most quality research are theory generating (Green, 2013). The developed theoretical framework makes the research findings meaningful and generalizable.


Green, H. (2013). The Use of Theoretical and Conceptual Frameworks in Qualitative Research. Theoretical and conceptual models.

Lederman, N. G., & lenderman, J. S. (2017). what is a theoretical framework? a practical answer. journal of science Teacher Education.

Lynham. (2017). Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Theoretical Framework. Reasearch guides.

Reeves, S., Albert, M., Kuper, A., & Hodges, B. D. (2008). Why use theories in qualitative research? Qualitative research.

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