The use of sources in the elaboration of the theoretical framework


The review of various sources for the theoretical framework is done with the intention of building a reference context. From a source you can extract a simple data, such as a date. In other cases you can get an idea or several. Even a theoretical source can be the central axis of the thesis. Everything will depend on the research problem with which you work.

References for the theoretical framework should not be considered a quota of filler citations and disconnected. They must be used conscientiously, to make it clear that there is a theory that is applicable to our research topic.

It may be that the thesis includes more than one theory, based on empirical evidence. On the contrary, there is the possibility that it is a theory that you want to verify or a compendium of diverse concepts that together serve to understand the phenomenon to be studied. In each case, we must proceed in a different way to achieve the coherent presentation of the theoretical framework.


Theory developed:

It is when you have chosen a theory that has been previously proven with scientific evidence. This type of conceptual considerations or definitions are directly related to the topic of the thesis and facilitate the writing of a coherent and concise study. It is advisable to use that theory for the central construction of the chapter of the thesis. However, caution should be exercised because these developed theories are often overworked. So it is important to value originality and justification for our research.

Perhaps it will be necessary to give a novel approach through our study problem and the perspective that we give to the research questions (exposed in the chapter of the approach of the problem). It is important to write the theoretical framework, in such a way that it shows in detail the how and why of the research problem. That is to say, the nature of the subject must be explained with all its variants.

More than one theory:

It is when you decide to work with more than one theory, all of them must be related to the research problem. It is essential to evaluate which part of each theory is going to be used and look for the logical relationship of all the parties. Care must be taken not to fall into digressions or contradictions. You have to be very cautious, because theories tend to rival one another. The sources that you decide to use must complement each other.

Compendium of concepts:

In this case it may be that you do not have one or several developed or fully tested theories that fit the research topic. To solve this situation it is feasible to describe a series of ideas that together serve as the theoretical framework of the thesis. The student must be able to create a theoretical perspective based on the concepts referred to. He will also have to use previous studies that allow him to support the elaborated definitions.

If the student discovers that there are few studies, or if they are not deep studies, that are related to his research topic at the theoretical level, he should look for sources that guide him within the field that frames his work.

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