How to write your theoretical framework

Course overview

This third course helps you with writing your Theoretical Framework section (sometimes also called the 'Literature' or 'Previous research' section). We'll start with the literature. I will show you exactly which articles you have to include for your topic and research strategy, and the best tips and tricks to find scientific literature using Google Scholar. We'll also make sure that you don't waste time on reading: in the course you will learn how to quickly get to the core argument of any article!

Next, you will write your theoretical framework. This needs to be more than just a summary of the literature on your topic. I have developed 3 questions that will ensure that this part of your dissertation contains all the relevant information. Plus: these 3 questions will help you to structure your text!

After this course

 You know the 3 questions a theoretical framework should always answer
 You have found and read all the relevant literature on your topic
 You know how many articles you should discuss
 You have developed expectations and (or) hypotheses to answer your research question
 You have written a complete Theoretical Framework that you can send to your supervisor

Sample lesson

One of the things I discuss in this course is which literature you should include in your Theoretical Framework. Many of you will have to discuss so-called seminal papers: highly influential studies that are considered to be milestones in the study of a topic. They are so important that subsequent studies are all influenced by it. You simply cannot study such a topic without discussing the seminal study! Click here to view this lesson!

What students say

Knowing exactly which literature I had to read saved me a lot of time.Louis

It's very helpful to see all the steps you have to take to find articles. Thank you so much for the Google Scholar tips! Michael

I didn't really know how to discuss my literature. This course showed me exactly what I needed to write down! Esmee

Questions and answers

What exactly are the 3 questions of a Theoretical Framework?

Answer: According to the Oxford Dictionary, a 'Theoretical framework' is:“A basic conceptual structure underlying a system or study” (source). This makes it more than just a summary of the literature: you need to discuss the 'structure' between your research idea and the research ideas that have been published in the scientific literature. Quite a formidable task! And: one where you can easily get lost in details. Therefore, I have designed 3 questions that break down this 'structure of ideas' in 3 major parts: each part answers 1 question. As a result, your Theoretical Framework will show exactly how the existing literature is connected to your research.

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