What is the Theoretical Foundation?

He theoretical foundation Is an explanation based on ideas that are related to a particular subject. It is a critical review of the theoretical elements that serve as a frame of reference in an investigation.

This critical review allows us to determine the variables to be measured and the relationship between them, while determining the response to the research question.

Books as representation of the theoretical foundation

When working on the development of an essay or any type of research, the theoretical foundations become a real challenge for students.

It is vitally important that the theoretical foundation be logical and clear, since it will guide the researcher from the beginning of his research to its conclusion. A misunderstanding of the theoretical foundations amounts to poor research.

The construction of a good theoretical foundation requires an exhaustive review of the bibliography related to the subject, which will allow designing the conceptual scheme by which the researcher will be guided.

How to elaborate a theoretical foundation?

To elaborate a good theoretical foundation, it is necessary to examine the subject and clearly define the research problem. To do this, the order in which the ideas, the themes and sub-themes that derive from the theoretical foundation must be established.

It is very important that the research problem is clear, to which we want to give a solution. Conducting in-depth research on existing data and information on the subject will enable you to have a number of important resources at your disposal.

The researcher must inquire about the interest that other authors have had in relation to the subject that will develop, which will allow him to obtain varied opinions as to his object of study.

Be sure to investigate the theories on the subject that have been successfully used by other researchers, and that can give you meaning to your ultimate goal.

Keep in mind that a good theoretical foundation will help you find answers to your research questions and thus benefit the research, allowing you to do quality work.

Content of the theoretical foundation

After reviewing the literature related to the subject under study, it is necessary to determine what contents are relevant and should be reflected in the theoretical basis.

For this, the key contents must be selected, which will be related to the research questions. For example, if you want to investigate why customers of the online company X, do not return to make purchases frequently, what to do is:

Establish the problem to be investigated. In this case is that online customers do not buy products from company X on a regular basis. The objective of the research is to achieve the loyalty of customers to re-purchase online.

The research question in this case would be: How can the online company X improve customer satisfaction to increase loyalty to the company?

As can be seen, the concepts of customer satisfaction and company loyalty are important for their research and should be developed widely on the theoretical basis.

Establish relevant concepts, models and theories

The material to be able to establish the relevant concepts, comes from the review of the bibliography related to the research topic. It provides the necessary inputs to develop concepts that will serve as a frame of reference for their research work.

Following the example above, it was established that the main concepts were customer satisfaction and loyalty to the company.

The next step is to review which theories relate to customer satisfaction and customer loyalty to a company.

The search for these concepts allows us to shape the theoretical framework of research, performing a critical analysis that allows us to accept or reject existing theories and give a new meaning to the study.

As can be seen, it is necessary to follow a logical structure in order to give meaning to the theoretical foundation. The important thing is to provide an answer to research questions, hypotheses and develop key concepts.

Locate the theoretical foundation within the body of research

As already mentioned, in order to structure the theoretical basis it is necessary to investigate in relation to previous studies on the subject, to develop the key concepts and theories that support the work that is done.

One way to organize all this information is as follows:

  1. Mention previous research related to the subject that allow support to yours. These are the background of the research. Generally, these investigations should not be more than 5 years in respect of the one being carried out.
  2. Present the theories related to the research topic, which have been presented by various authors and explain how they relate to ongoing research.
  3. Depending on the topic discussed in the research, it may be considered to add other elements that help to understand the problem being studied.

It should not be forgotten that the proper development of the theoretical foundation is the key to a successful research, since it not only helps to give support and logical meaning to research, but also serves as a guide for other researchers to develop new studies.

It should always be taken into account that the theoretical foundations are those that helps to better understand the concepts and how they should be used in each case.

They originate when it comes to characterizing a particular situation, sometimes seeming to be difficult to establish, but they help build theory on the subject under study.

However, that theory can be judged as true or false. They are a proposal to understand new ideas, since they adequately explain concepts in all their senses.

It should not be forgotten that if the theoretical foundation is constructed appropriately, it will facilitate the proper interpretation of the results obtained in the investigation, which will result in a successful investigative work.


  1. Reverso Dictionary. (S.f.). Theoretical foundations definition. Retrieved from dictionary.reverso.net.
  2. Editorial Veramar. (2016). PhD dissertation writing: theoretical foundations for your approach. Retrieved from editorialveramar.com.
  3. Vinz, S. (2015). The theoretical framework of a thesis: what and how? Retrieved from scribbr.com.
  4. Reference (2017). What is theoretical framework? Retrieved from reference.com.
  5. Magher, M. (2017). Strategies for How to Overcome the Challenges of Writing a Paper. Retrieved from education.seattlepi.com.
  6. Cline, A. (2017). Theoretical Definitions Constructing a 'Theory' About the Nature of a Concept. Retrieved fromatheism.about.com.

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