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Research In Nursing (NUR 3110) Theoretical Framework Definition

Sandra Watson
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The Role and Use of Theoretical Frameworks in Research


Villanova University


Research In Nursing (NUR 3110)

The Role and Use of Theoretical Frameworks in Research
 Theoretical Framework: Definition/ Role in the Research Process
o A set of interrelated concepts that symbolically represent and convey a mental
image of phenomenon
o A theoretical framework
 Guides the conceptual basis for study
 Describes how variables relate to one another
 Provides a rationale for predictions about the relationships among the
study variables (predictors and outcome variables)
o The theoretical framework introduces and describes the theory that explains why
the research problem under study exists
 A theoretical framework can be viewed as the frame of a house, it is the foundation for a
research study
o It provides structure and support for why the study is needed, and all components
of study design
 Theoretical or Conceptual Framework
o Can be viewed as a map for understanding the relationships between or mong the
variables in quantitative studies
o Presents the context for studying the problem
o Often illustrated using a diagram
o Integral to practice and research
o Serves as organizer
o Assures that all variables are addressed
o Puts the study and its finding in context
o Related a researcher’s findings to broader topic and previous work in specific
field of study (such social support for frail elders)
 Identifying a Theoretical Framework for a Research Study
o An existing theory OR the use of findings from previous studies that have
provided evidence of an empirical relationships between variables that a research
is interested in examine
 Theory
o Set of interrelated concepts that provides a systematic view of a phenomenon
o Allows relationships to be proposed and predictions made, which in turn can
suggest potential action
o Beginning with a theory gives a researcher a logical way of collecting data to
describe, explain, and predict nursing practice, making it critical in research
 Components of a Theory
o Concepts
o Relational statement
 Statements
 Propositions



Research In Nursing (NUR 3110) Theoretical Framework Definition

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