Role of Theoretical Framework in Qualitative Research

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The theoretical framework informs epistemologies and methodologies in a qualitative study since it is pervasive and influential compared to the methodology alone. It is applied to enhance the understanding of a particular problem or phenomenon (Grant & Osanloo, 2014). These frameworks provide focus and organization to the study, expose meaning, connect the study to the existing dissertation along with identifying the pros and cons of particular research.

Moreover, the methodological approach guides the qualitative study by establishing ideas and approaches to the research. Just as how a house requires a plan before construction, the theoretical framework serves as a blueprint, which provides the structure to the entire dissertation (Baltimore, 2016). Additionally, the choice of theory offers a conceptual background for understanding, analyzing, and designing ways to investigate a particular problem. Therefore, if the well-utilized, theoretical framework can create a tension that produces productive outcomes for the study.

More so, the theoretical framework connects different elements of dissertation/qualitative study, such as providing a brief discussion of the problem, purpose, significance, and research questions in the dissertation. Aligning a theory with these essential components provides an intriguing highlight, which adds weight to levels of knowledge that the study is investigating (Grant & Osanloo, 2014). Similarly, just as how a reliable and robust blueprint to help build a secure home foundation based on the owner’s desire. Therefore, the theoretical framework act as a strong basis for various parts of the dissertation that needs to be developed, in the body of the paper.

Finally, the elevation and foundation blueprints are both critical in a home building analogy. Similarly, theoretical frameworks and their concepts should be applied to be meaningful to the structure of these methodologies and epistemologies relating to the qualitative research.


Grant, C., & Osanloo, A. (2014). Understanding, selecting, and integrating a theoretical framework in dissertation research: Creating the blueprint for your “house.” Administrative Issues Journal: Connecting Education, Practice, and Research, 4(2), 12–26.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2016). Theoretical lens and frameworks for qualitative researchers [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.



A brief statement of the purpose and primary research question the article addresses

The goal of the study was to assess whether if social workers could effectively detect sex-trafficked victims amongst their clients. This arises from the fact that social workers play an essential role in evaluating, as well as giving treatment services to sex-trafficking victims. More specifically, social workers’ knowledge, training, and capacity to assess is a crucial element in picking out sex trafficking victims. The primary research question is whether there is an adequate level of awareness amongst social workers and that will address the gap and reduce obstacles related to victim identification (Howard, 2015; Ravitch & Carl, 2016).

An assessment of how thoroughly the research design was presented, including what was missing

The study succinctly covered the awareness level of social workers by following a qualitative research design to address the question of whether social work professionals can effectively identify sex-trafficked victims from their pool of clients. A qualitative approach was used in this research to establish a keener comprehension of social workers’ knowledge, attitudes, as well as amplified information in their program that helps in identifying sex-trafficking victims. The research fits within the scope of a qualitative study as it explicated on the features of a particular population by analyzing and describing relationships with a sample. However, the structured and unstructured interviews with social work professionals did not give much detail about their demographic data such as age as well as the highest level of education obtained and how these can influence their level of awareness of sex trafficking (Howard, 2015; Ravitch & Carl, 2016).

An assessment of the extent of the researcher’s presentation of positionality, reflexivity, and bias

Answer the question of whether social workers could discern which clients were sex-trafficked victims from the other clients.

The objective of the inquiry was to assess social worker’s ability to identify sex-trafficking victims among their clients. This information was held to have critical significance in assessing the need for future training in the identification of sex-trafficked victims within the community. However, the study may not be of much relevance to other professionals such as nurses and doctors, who may have contact with these victims as well (Howard, 2015; Ravitch & Carl, 2016).


Howard, E, L. (2015) Social Worker Awareness of Sex Trafficking Victims. Electronic Theses, Projects and Dissertations, 204 (6). DOI htps://

Ravitch, S. M., & Carl, N. M. (2016). Qualitative research: Bridging the conceptual, theoretical, and methodological. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.


Remember, the purpose is not to add to knowledge–that is a given. The purpose needs to address the problem. Please see my announcement with example problem, purpose, RQ.

Also, the question needs to be about experiences or perceptions of a specific group regarding the problem. Try writing a how question instead of a “whether” (which is yes/no) question.

What about:

What are the practices, processes, and skills needed for xxxx [specific type of social worker] social workers to identify and support sex-trafficking victims?


The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore the practices, processes, and skills needed for xxxx [specific type of social worker] social workers to identify and support sex-trafficking victims.


Sex trafficking is an international crime of violence against both women and children. Social workers get to meet these victims at their point of need when they seek help with regards to their physical or psychological health in sexual assault agencies as well as child welfare and protection agencies, amongst others. Social workers are not adequately trained to … (Source, ear). The problem is that… [the problem needs to be identified

There is however not sufficient literature to empower social workers to proactively identify sex trafficking victims to create platforms to take action and enhance awareness against sex trafficking (Howard, 2015; Ravitch & Carl, 2016).

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