Assignment Guidelines

The purpose of this assignment is for you to use the theories of the policy process to inform a proposed study by serving as a theoretical or conceptual framework.

Follow the manuscript below:

  • Introduction
    • This part of the paper introduces the need for the study and introduces your research topic, problem, and usually your research questions.
    • This is the place to address the “Why has politics effected overall school policy decisions and has this effected student performance?” question.
  • Theoretical and Conceptual Framework
    • The focus of this assignment! (Format is on the page below)
  • Literature Review
    • The goal of the literature review is not to show that you have read everything ever published on a particular topic. Instead, the goal is to clearly establish the gap in the literature that will be filled by your study.
    • You do this by showing what we do know about a particular topic and identifying aspects of the topic that have not been addressed.
  • Methods
    • Here is where you tell your reader how you will address your research questions.
  • Results
    • This is where you address your research questions by reporting what you found.***
  • Discussion and Conclusion
    • In this last, and in my opinion, most challenging, section, you use the theory that you developed earlier in the paper to understand and theorize about what your results mean.

How to Develop Your Theoretical or Conceptual Framework

Follow these steps to develop your framework and complete the assignment.

  1. This section should follow this outline.
    1. Research topic
      1. What is the general topic? Political impact on School Board Control
    1. Research problem
      1. Within your topic, what is the problem that you want to learn more about? Why has politics effected overall school policy decisions and has this effected student performance?
    1. Research questions
      1. What has influenced school boards to become political?
      1. Why have school board meetings become political battle grounds?
      1. How has politics influenced educational school board decisions?
      1. Who are the actors for the political influence, why?
  • Framework time! The goal of your framework is to either guide variable selection and analysis or form the foundation for your qualitative data collection and analysis.
    • First, look at your research questions. What theory seems like it is a good way to better understand your research problem?

For example, are you trying to understand why politics became heavily involved in education? Are you trying to understand how a certain interest groups managed to shape a policy debate?

  1. This is a place where you might need to try several theories. You don’t always make the right choice and sometimes you don’t realize that until you get further along in the study. Do your best for this assignment. 
    1. You might find that just one theory doesn’t work for your study, and you need to use elements of multiple theories. This means that you are using a conceptual framework – which is totally fine! A theoretical framework is just one theory, a conceptual framework uses elements of multiple theories
    1. As you begin to write this section, really think about how the model of reality presented in a given theory helps you to understand your research topic and your research problem. There is no one perfect theory. These are just different ways of viewing the world.
  • Please be attentive to your professional writing. DO NOT USE THE BAD EXAMPLE IN YOUR PAPER.

Bad Example

  1. Smith (2012) found that cats favor tuna as food. Jones (2002) found that some cats have a mild beef allergy. Gonzalez (1992) found that cats on a mostly fish diet lived longer, and Gottlieb (2010) found that cats like toys with feathers and bells. Xiu (1998) found that cats favor unscented cat toys.

Good Example

  1. Cats eat a variety of foods, but research suggests that cats may favor tuna (Smith, 2012). There is some evidence that cats may have a mild beef allergy (Jones, 2022), and that cats may live longer on a fish diet (Gonzalez, 1992). Finally, cats seem to prefer unscented toys with bells and feathres (Gottlieb, 2010; Xiu, 1998).

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