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Monday, February 01, 2016

Definition of a conceptual framework, Antonenko (2015)

"Definition of a conceptual framework  
Anecdotal evidence obtained from numerous discussions with students, colleagues, and the few research design books that address the issue of conceptual frameworks (e.g., Ravitch and Riggan 2012) indicates that the construct conceptual framework is viewed from at least three perspectives. The first, and most superficial, view defines conceptual framework as a visual representation of the structure of the study and its alignment with the relevant theoretical foundations. According to this view, conceptual framework is a figure, typically presented as a concept map, that summarizes all key information presented in the literature review of the study" (p.55).
At first it is confusing when within academic writing you have to present your theoretical - conceptual framework. In Hodges' model I already have one. Antonenko is very informative but I don't believe that this first definition is necessarily that superficial. It depends on the context and purpose. There is something in instrumental value that seems closely allied with the visual form and the paper provides an example.

If as Antonenko suggests there is a conceptual framework presented in the literature review, perhaps Hodges' model as a conceptual framework that can integrate discussion and the conclusion(s)? From the paper there are other points of note - even in the sub-headings alone, for example:

Conceptual framework is more than a literature review
The connective function of conceptual frameworks

Discipline is essential to prevent any risk of superficiality, or navel-gazing and Antonenko lists many strategies, including:
Avoiding getting stuck in a ‘‘no-risk’’ zone (Miles and Huberman 1994, p. 22), a situation where all concepts in the framework are abstract and interconnected. Informed commitments must be made regarding what the researcher finds as most relevant and important pieces of the conceptual framework. The entire point of building a conceptual framework is to be explicit and selective about the focus of the study (p.66).

Antonenko, P. D. (2015). The instrumental value of conceptual frameworks in educational technology research. Educational Technology Research and Development. 63(1), 53–71. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-014-9363-4

My source and with many thanks:
Technology Enhanced Learning studies, Module 6. Lancaster Univ.

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