The composition of a theoretical framework requires the analysis and discussion of relevant literature guided by a research question. This requires access to peer-reviewed journals and books as well as a computer to draft the framework. Time requirements vary widely.
- Identify a research question
The research question defines a proposed relationship or problem upon which to build a theoretical framework. Crafting a specific research question helps to guide you in the selection of literature and studies to use in the framework.
- Find relevant literature
Read only the research most relevant to the research question. Focus on the abstract, methodology, results and findings. Literature that answers the research question becomes a part of the paper.
- Isolate key theories and variables
Within the literature, identify important theories and key variables. Note the independent variables, the variables that create an effect, dependent variables and the outcome variable of each study to determine the methodology to use in a new study.
- Synthesize the studies
After reading through the available theories, lay out the analysis of theories, variables, methodology and findings of the relevant literature within the paper. Use the studies within the framework as an argument from which to posit a new study. Each analysis contributes to identifying a new theory or new way to test a previous theory.