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Conceptual frameworks and associated measures

Have you given thought to your conceptual or theoretical framework for your study?   A framework or theory will help you structure and write up your study. Carlile and Jordan (2005) give a good overview of the educational theories in higher education. You may also find some new ways of thinking about education in your own discipline, for example, Mann (2011) highlights new ways of thinking about pedagogy in medical education.

There are many conceptual frameworks that guide education practice, some of these have developed tools that can be used to measure dependent variables in quantitative studies. For some examples, see Table 1. If you come across any useful tools or frameworks that would like to share, click here (UCD staff only) to add to the list below or contact

Table 1: Names of some tools and frameworks

Standardised Tools for the Measurement of Dependent Variables in Quantitative Studies.

Name of the tool/framework

Link to article or web resource

Area the tool addresses

Kember and Leung’s Reflection
Kristen Lethbridge , Mary-Anne Andrusyszyn , Carroll Iwasiw , Heather K.S Laschinger & Rajulton Fernando (2013) Assessing the psychometric properties of Kember and Leung’s Reflection Questionnaire, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 38:3, 303-325,
DOI: 10.1080/02602938.2011.630977
Reflection and Critical thinking 
The Study Process Questionnaire Paul C. Burnett & Barry C. Dart (2000) The Study Process
Questionnaire: A construct validation study, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 25:1, 93-99, DOI: 10.1080/713611415
Approaches to learning (deep/surface/strategic)
Group-work skills questionnaire (GSQ) Jennifer Cumming, Charlotte Woodcock, Sam J. Cooley, Mark J.G.
Holland & Victoria E. Burns (2014): Development and validation of the groupwork skills questionnaire (GSQ) for higher education, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, DOI:
Community of Practice/Learning from others
Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST) Approaches to learning (deep/surface/strategic)
Salmon's Five Steps of on-line engagement Su F. & C. Beaumont (2010) Evaluating the use of a wiki for collaborative learning, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 47:4, 417-431, DOI:10.1080/14703297.2010.518428 Experiences of learning (including motivation & student engagement)
SOLO Framework Carew & Mitchell
(2002) Cite in Moron-Garcia & Willis, 2009, p6
Conceptions of learning (knowledge, understanding subject  concepts) 
Kolb's Learning Style Inventory (KLSI)
Conceptions of learning (knowledge, understanding subject  concepts) 
7 Cs of Learning Design Conceptions of learning (knowledge, understanding subject  concepts) 
Experiences of Teaching & Learning Questionnaire Approaches to learning (deep/surface/strategic)
Learning and Studying Questionnaire (LSQ) Approaches to learning (deep/surface/strategic)
Shortened Experiences of Teaching and Learning Questionnaire (SETLQ) Approaches to learning (deep/surface/strategic)
Printable Resources
  • Carlilse & Jordan, 2005;
  • Mann, K (2010) Theoretical perspectives in medical education: past experience and future possibilities. Medical Education 2011: 45: 60–68 doi:10.1111/j.1365-2923.2010.03757.x 
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