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Critical Race & Ethnic Studies 100 (Myers): Theoretical Frameworks

Theories in Critical Race & Ethnic Studies

What is a Theoretical Framework?

"Theories are formulated to explain, predict, and understand phenomena and, in many cases, to challenge and extend existing knowledge within the limits of critical bounding assumptions. The theoretical framework is the structure that can hold or support a theory of a research study. The theoretical framework introduces and describes the theory that explains why the research problem under study exists."

From USC Library's Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Theoretical Framework guide

Theoretical Framework Assignment

From the prompt:

  • Vision: The theoretical framework paper is not a research paper. Rather, it is a critical analysis of the existing published research on a specific topic of your choice, which will serve as a jumping off point for further research. Your topic should be an area of research interest, rather than a specific research question. The purpose of the assignment is for you to familiarize yourself with the research published on your topic in order to position/situate your project relative to other work.
  • Beginning Questions: How do different authors frame their research questions with theoretical concepts? How do they then develop their own theoretical frameworks that frame their arguments? In what ways do authors “speak” to one another? How do these conversations help you think about your topic?
  • Task: Your task is to identify, summarize, synthesize, and assess the relationship among different projects and approaches, and relating this research to your topic.


Martin, Maria. "“More Power to Your Great Self”: Nigerian Women’s Activism and the Pan-African Transnationalist Construction of Black Feminism." Phylon (1960-) 53, no. 2 (2016): 54-78.

"This article highlights [Funmilayo Ransome Kuti's] Pan-African Transnationalist construction of Black feminism through an analysis of her activist organizing."

Through what framework (lens) might other scholars approach this activist's work? Is it similar or different? How might that help inform your understanding of black feminism in African women's movements?