Dissertation 5: Conceptual Framework Mapping

aaargh. I think. Among this month’s tasks set by MK are the creation of:

  • a conceptual framework
  • model of data collection

Two main issues here:

  1. What exactly is a conceptual framework?
  2. How do I create the model.


To start with (2). I take every opportunity to use/learn new software, and I decided to use a Mind Mapping tool as Visio doesn’t exist for the Mac, so (rightly/wrongly, not changing now) I settled on XMind (very popular, free).

Not hard to learn the interface, Cloud (if you want it) and the free version exports to image and to Evernote so we’re good.


The structure determines the patterns in which the different constituents are organised…..and that’s key to an accurate representation of my models. That’s problematic when I’m not even sure of my models!!!!


I’m going to publish images of all the models I’ve done, so it’ll be interesting to see how they change.

Think I’m going to use a Fishhead for the Conceptual Framework, as I want to represent several main ‘topics’ in a row.

Anyway: here are the models:

Conceptual Framework

Bogged down in ideas that a conceptual framework is some type of metaphor for my work. I know I’m investigating quite a lot, and am – currently – considering lots of data collection strategies which, for an MSc project, may be too ambitious given the available time/space.

Briony J Oates: Researching Information Systems and Computing

(Sage, 2006)

I’ve just found a short definition of a conceptual framework from Briony Oates in her Research Methods for IS that is clear and brief. I’m going to repeat it here (mix of verbatim and summary) to help me remember!!!

Here goes:

A CF explicitly explains thinking about research topic and the process. It clarifies such things as:

  • Different factors comprising the topic
  • Way of thinking about the topic, eg
    • Particular theory
    • Particular technology
  • Strategies / methods (research methodology): [I take this to refer mainly to data collection]
  • Analysis of data methodology
  • Approach to design/create any new product (development methodology)
  • Approach to evaluating research (ie technical accuracy; greater understanding; increased efficiency; aesthetic criteria)

“Much of the conceptual framework is derived from, and justified by, a study of the literature.”

Every time I do something like this, I find out more about what I’m doing and find out that I’m still unsure about the scope. Ho hum

Conceptual Framework 2 (repeated below) sums up the new simplified approach. Don’t know what to think at this stage. May come back to this.


Conceptual Framework 2


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