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Creating tables and diagrams to describe theoretical, conceptual, and analytical frameworks

Doctoral supervisors (and often, editors!) will ask you to create a conceptual, theoretical and/or analytical framework for your book, dissertation, chapter, or journal article. This is a good idea. I used to get confused by all the “framework”-associated terms, so I wrote

Like I have done in other blog posts of mine, I am going to show you several graphic and table-based depictions of frameworks that may help you think through how you can visually explain the concepts you are using to analyze what you are analyzing.

Here is the 411:

I find it incredibly useful to draw diagrams (often times, mind maps or conceptual diagrams, or even fish-bone diagrams) to show how variables are linked with each other and how these factors help explain a phenomenon. You can (and I often do) use tables for this purpose. Like with the frameworks, we often link the words “theoretical”, “conceptual” and “analytical” with the word “diagram”.

Around 2015-ish, I published a framework that helps scholars and analysts think about environmental non-governmental organizations…

To be perfectly honest, I always looked up to Lin and Vincent Ostrom for how to write good tables and diagrams that depicted theoretical, conceptual and analytical frameworks. There are many other frameworks developed by the Ostroms, and pretty much all of them have tables/diagrams.

In sum, your development of theoretical, conceptual and analytical frameworks is well served by depicting these in table form or in graphic, diagrammatic form. What I usually do is – I read A METRIC TONNE of books and articles to see how other authors develop theirs.

And then, I think through how I want to write my own.

I do hope this blog post is useful to anyone who is trying to develop “a theoretical figure” or a “conceptual table”.

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Posted in academia, writing.

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3 Responses

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  1. Ben says

    Thank you for this great post. What softare do you use to design nice diagrams like these ones ?

  2. Raul Pacheco-Vega says

    I know this is going to sound like I am super low-tech, but… I often use Power Point!

  3. Ben says

    Thanks ! That’s good to know

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