Conceptual and theoretical frameworks.

Conceptual and theoretical frameworks
Just as is the case with designing a house, decisions made by architects affect what the engineer might have to do and always what the builder has to do. So the process of design is not linear.

In research as much as in designing and building homes, there must be a “conversation” going on that allows you to think about question, design and frameworks in conjunction with each other. Arriving at a design is therefore not a paint by the numbers approach.

You could think of the relationship between each component as akin to a set of Matryoshka dolls and the research logic in terms of each smaller doll being able to fit inside the next largest one.

We might think of the largest, outside doll as the research question. It sets the research agenda. The next doll inside that is the design doll. You simply can’t have a decent research project without an appropriate design. The design must “fit” the question (remember the drunk – she went for a “look where the light is” design, rather than a “light-assisted” design). The design is accountable to the question. Of course, the design of a research project is pretty general. It is pretty abstract as well. The design doesn’t have much substantial content of its own – although it certainly shapes the options available to us in terms of conceptual and theoretical baggage.

The design has to be implemented,made to happen. This calls for some conceptual and theoretical componentry in order for the design to be realised. But here again, the conceptual and theoretical frames have to “fit”. They have to be in accordance with the kind of question asked and with the design. Even though they are negotiated with the question and the design – there is always this conversation going one between them – this is in order to ensure that the conceptual and theoretical tools we use to implement or realise our design (as the strategy for investigating the question) fit within the design and the question.

Of course, the point where the analogy breaks down is that it’s not really possible to completely divide design off from conceptual framework and theory. They more or less blend into each other. But they also don’t as well. Human brains being what they are, it is useful to think of components of the thesis in somewhat separate ways, if only to help us get a sense of the whole thing as made up of parts, and what these parts are and how they hang together.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License