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CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK Conceptual frameworks, according to educational researcher Smyth (2004), are str uctured from a set of broad

ideas and theories that help a researcher to properl y identify the problem they are looking at, frame their questions and find suita ble literature. Most academic research uses a conceptual framework at the outset because it helps the researcher to clarify his research question and aims. 1. Identification o Finding the research literature reading a report image by Mykola Velychk o from Fotolia.com A conceptual framework is a tool researchers use to guide their inquiry; it is a set of ideas used to structure the research, a sort of map that may include the research question, the literature review, methods and data analysis. Researcher s use a conceptual framework to guide their data collection and analysis. If, fo r example the researcher wanted to know whether boys did better than girls in a certain subject then he might look at literature on the development of both sexe s, and on the methods of socialization of boys and girls as this could influence what subjects were of interest. The researcher would then look at existing lite rature on male and female development and socialization as this would help to cl arify what questions she should ask e.g are girls more interested in history whe n it is concerned with actual people or do boys prefer the history of battles et c. The ways in which boys and girls viewed a subject could influence their progr ess in that area. 2. Function o According to sociologists Haralambos and Holborn, a conceptual framework enables the researcher to find links between the existing literature and his ow n research goals. If, for example, a researcher was looking at why women stay wi th violent men then she might want to look at theories of identity to establish whether certain personality types are more likely to be battered and why, 3. Considerations o According to Smyth, the researcher has to bear in mind that a conceptual framework can overly influence his thought and subsequent actions. If the resea rcher becomes to bound by the framework then this has to be laid out and acknowl edged when he writes up their methodology. The researcher should be prepared to use more than one set of ideas to guide his research, which may mean using two o r three theoretical frameworks in conjunction as Smyth eventually did. 4. Benefits o Providing the researcher realizes that a conceptual framework will only take them so far in his analysis of the research data, it can be useful. Most re search projects start with a hypothesis e.g that violent men are inadequate, the hypothesis is turned into a question and the researcher starts looking at liter ature on violent and non-violent men, which in turn guides the questions he will need to ask. 5. Effects o When the researcher uses a conceptual framework as a starting point for research there comes a point when he finds that the results of his study move be yond the original question e.g. he finds that violent men are not necessarily in adequate but have little or no self esteem and the man deals with this by blamin g his partner or girlfriend for making him feel that way and so he is violent. T his is a clear example of research going beyond the original question and framew ork and adds something new to the existing body of research on violent men. What is a conceptual framework? There are many ways to explain a conceptual framework. It can be any or all of t he following: A set of coherent ideas or concepts organized in a manner that makes them easy to communicate to others. An organized way of thinking about how and why a project takes place, and about how we understand its activities. The basis for thinking about what we do and about what it means, influenced by the ideas and research of others. An overview of ideas and practices that shape the way work is done

in a project. A set of assumptions, values, and definitions under which we all work together. Why do we need a framework when doing research? A framework can help us to explain why we are doing a project in a particular wa y. It can also help us to understand and use the ideas of others who have done s imilar things. We can use a framework like a travel map. We can read a map, because others befo re us have come up with common symbols to mark streets, lakes, highways, cities, mountains, rivers, etc...The scale on a map tells us how far apart different pl aces are, so we will get an idea how long it might take us to get from one point to the next. A map also shows us that there may be many different paths that ca n be taken to get to the same place. A framework can help us decide and explain the route we are taking: why would we use certain methods and not others to get to a certain point. People might have tried a similar path before and have had different experiences using one road v ersus another. Or, there may be paths that have never been explored. With a conc eptual framework, we can explain why we would try this or that path, based on th e experiences of others, and on what we ourselves would like to explore or disco ver. B. RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS A hypothesis deals with a statement that should be examined whether it is accept ed or rejected. Any statement that needs the empirical facts to decide whether or not it is acce pted is called a hypothesis. There is also verbal hypothesis that needs the empi rical procedures in order to find the real data or facts. The following hypothetic statements are formulated as the examples: 1. Students make the typical inaccuracy of nonparallelism in their essays b ecause they contrasted the form among the constituents of invinitive, present fo rm, past form, present participle, and past participle. 2. The student make the typical inaccuracy of morphosyntactic properties of the English verbs in their essays because Definition: A hypothesis is a tentative statement about the relationship between two or more variables. A hypothesis is a specific, testable prediction about wh at you expect to happen in your study. For example, a study designed to look at the relationship between sleep deprivation and test performance might have a hyp othesis that states, "This study is designed to assess the hypothesis that sleep deprived people will perform worse on a test than individuals who are not sleep deprived." Unless you are creating a study that is exploratory in nature, your hypothesis s hould always explain what you expect to happen during the course of your experim ent or research. Remember, a hypothesis does not have to be right. While the hypothesis predicts what the researchers expect to see, the goal of research is to determine whether this guess is right or wrong. When conducting an experiment, researchers might explore a number of different factors to determine which ones might contribute t o the ultimate outcome. In many cases, researchers may find that the results of an experiment do not sup port the original hypothesis. When writing up these results, the researchers mig ht suggest other options that should be explored in future studies. Elements of a Good Hypothesis When trying to come up with a good hypothesis for your own psychology research o r experiments, ask yourself the following questions: Is you hypothesis based on your research of a topic? Can your hypothesis be tested? Does you hypothesis include independent and dependent variables? Before you come up with a specific hypothesis, spend some time doing background research on your topic. Once you have completed a literature review, start think ing of potential questions you still have. Pay attention to the discussion secti on in the journal articles you read. Many authors will suggest questions that st ill need to be explored.