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Theoretical Framework. Research basis. Theoretical Framework. What is the central concept(s) integral to the study? (look within and outside LIS) Connecting the study to theory: basic research. Good Theory.

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Theoretical Framework

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Theoretical Framework

Research basis

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Theoretical Framework

  • What is the central concept(s) integral to the study? (look within and outside LIS)

  • Connecting the study to theory: basic research

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Good Theory

  • Advances knowledge in a discipline, guides, research, enlightens the discipline, helps the discipline mature and gain validation

  • Enables us to rise above the seemingly random confusion of everyday life to see patterns and to understand principles on which to base purposeful, productive action

  • Provides an important context

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Theory vs. Practice

  • We cannot do without theory. It will always defeat practice in the end for a quite simple reason. Practice is static. It does well what it knows. It has, however, no principle for dealing with what it doesn’t know … Practice is not well adapted for rapid adjustments to a changing environment. Theory is light footed, it can adapt itself to changed circumstances, think out fresh

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  • Out fresh combinations and possibilities, peer into the future. Theory provides a clear framework, administrative practice reduces to a series of meaningless acts, without purpose of direction.

    • Source: Charles H. Granger, Harvard Business Review 42 (May-June 1964), p. 64.

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  • Provides patterns for the interpretation of data

  • Links one study to another

  • Supplies frameworks within which concepts and variables acquire special significance

  • Allows us to interpret the larger meaning of our findings for ourselves and others

    • Source: The elements of social scientific thinking, p. 40

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Information needs

information-seeking behavior


Teams/small groups


Reference Transactions


RUSA, IL, Accreditation


service quality



See Measuring your library’s value, Donald S. Elliott et al (ALA, 2007)


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Theoretical Framework

Dalbello, M. (2009). Cultural dimensions of digital library development: Part II the cultural innovations of five European national libraries. Library Quarterly, 79(1).

Culture = National Culture + Organizational Culture + Professional Culture + Heterogeneous Tool Kit Culture

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Logical Structure

Who, what, when, where, how…

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Logical Structure

  • Explicitly addresses all the possible variables within a study

  • Identifies all of the important components

  • Is a menu of choices--no decisions are represented

  • The decisions = objectives

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Logical Structure (Components)

  • Addresses the questions of

  • What (problem statement)

  • Who

  • Where

  • When

  • How (methods)

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Logical Structure

  • Not always directly addressed within the published study, but must be addressed by the research during the planning stages.

  • Often possible to represent the logical structure through a diagram or model

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  • Identifies the problem under study

  • May help to brainstorm for contributing factors, causes and effects

  • May have to operationalize terms= i.e. success, efficiency, effectiveness, etc.

  • Some methods:

    • Flow Chart

    • Five Why’s

    • Fishbone Diagram

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Fishbone DiagramDr. Kaoru Ishikawa




Problem Statement



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  • The group under study

  • Identifies the population

  • Identifies the sample within the population

  • May have to justify choices

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  • The time frame of the study

    • Data collection

    • Literature review

    • Correcting for lapses

  • Sets deadlines

  • Creates context

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  • Identify the environment

  • Sets parameters

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  • Methodologies

  • How will data be collected

  • What is appropriate?

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User/Use Study

  • Use

  • Students

  • Simmons College

  • When

  • How

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Use/Nonuse Study

Where: one to many places


When: 1-many times


Use NonUse


Add Variables

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E-book Use




User (Search) Behavior




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Indicate what was selected from the “menu” or logical structure

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To ____verb


Components of Objectives

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  • Basic: to conceptualize

  • Applied: to test

  • Action: to describe

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To “describe”

To “relate:” “compare” or “contrast” (relating applies to basic, applied, and action research)








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  • To identify the attributes (requirements, responsibilities, qualifications, and salaries/benefits) of music librarians

  • To determine the extent to which their responsibilities relate solely to music librarianship

  • To compare the attributes listed most frequently in job advertisements with those attributes leading to the actual hiring of individual

  • To compare the list of attributes identified in job advertisements by: geographical area, highest degree offered by the institution, institutional control (private vs. public)

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How much?

How many?

How economical?

How prompt?

How accurate?

How responsive?

How well?

How valuable?

How reliable?

How courteous?

How satisfied?


Accountability and Effectiveness = How well?

Evaluation Questions

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Others, as institution itself



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Others, as institution itself



Examples: How much? Howmany? How well?

How satisfied?

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