• Conceptual framework: “…identifies a set of variables and relationships that should be examined in order to explain the phenomena”; “…need not specify the direction of relationships or identity critical hypotheses”[1]
  • Theoretical framework: “…joins theory to some specific state or action that is desired or is to be taken”; seen as “… more specific and concrete than theory, and can usually be shown in a diagram or picture… [AND] should contain specific elements derived from theory that either predict action or outcome, or contribute in some way to achieving the desired change.”[2]


  1. Kitson AL, Rycroft-Malone J, Harvey G, McCormack B, Seers K, Titchen A. Evaluating the successful implementation of evidence into practice using the PARIHS framework: theoretical and practical challenges. Implementation Science 2008, 3:1 (7 January 2008)
  2. Sales A, Smith J, Curran G, Kochevar L. Models, strategies, and tools. Theory in implementing evidence-based findings into health care practice. J Gen Intern Med. 2006 Feb;21 Suppl 2:S43-9.