Developing a Theoretical Framework
In practical terms, a theoretical framework serves as a foundation for your research—one that is linked to the research questions you pose as well as to the research design and methodology. It is derived from the research literature, and may be inductive through qualitative research or deductive through quantitative research (Pajares, 2007).
A useful yet simple definition of a theoretical framework is provided by Borgatti (1999): "A theoretical framework" is a collection of interrelated concepts, like a theory but not necessarily so well worked-out.
"A theoretical framework guides your research, determining what things you will measure and what statistical relationships you will look for." A diagram may be useful in explaining the relationships among variables (Schutz, 2006).