The conceptual framework refers to the lens through which you view the research topic. It links to reflexivity as it relates to your assumptions about the topic. Your conceptual framework will be specific to your research enquiry. A conceptual framework provides the set of 'big' or 'grand' concepts or theories which you might use to (deductively) guide your research question. For example, in Nabreesa's study, theories about risk taking or factors influencing health behaviours are theories which are used to frame the research question about use of long acting contraceptives. At other times a conceptual framework can give ideas about how to analyse and discuss your data. For example, Cameron used workplace learning theory (including the importance of context and relationships to help to make sense of or explain his findings about factors that influenced clinical educators' views about professional development training to learn simulation.
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- Kelly, M. (2009). The role of theory in qualitative health research. Family Practice, 27(3), 285-290.