I’m totally unclear on what a conceptual or theoretical framework is or is supposed to be.  Who decides that this way of looking at something IS one and that way isn’t?  Or is that the entire point; that the writer gets to arbitrarily say “this is my framework” when it is really just a bunch of big words explaining their perspective?

I’m not kidding here, and it’s kind of bugging me.  I was working on rewriting that proposal draft (the longest 350 words of my life, I swear) and thinking about the comment from my adviser to talk about my methods or theoretical framework.  It’s a history conference, so there really aren’t quantitative methods.  I’m going to look into several different historical events and try to draw some conclusions about something we aren’t talking about in a modern debate from the importance of those things in the earlier fights.  To me that meant that I needed to talk about my “framework”.  Then I realized that I just don’t know what that means.

It’s one thing if you have a clear, established perspective.  “I’m going to use critical theory (or economics, or Marx) to look at X” I can understand.  But I somehow thought that being a scholar meant coming up with something unique; is that always done by applying someone elses’ analysis to something new?  I hardly think so.

So I made something up, but I’m not convinced it makes any sense.  I would have a better idea if I had a definition….