A conceptual framework is typically written as a diagram or flowchart. The framework makes clear that the student understands existing knowledge on a subject, outlines theoretical assumptions regarding that knowledge, offers a critical review of existing literature on the subject, identifies any gaps in existing research, and outlines the writer's new contribution to that field. The writer may include research methods, data, results, analysis, and the writer's interpretation of experiments.
A sample conceptual framework created to answer a research question includes factors such as the impacts and variables of a subject, for example the social level, income, and parental educational level of individuals being studied. The framework clearly identifies participants in the experiment, outlines how those participants have been separated into groups using factors such as age, and identifies the relative skill level of the participants regarding skills related to the research focus. An example is a framework regarding how skills in reading, using software, and working independently factor into the average computer literacy of participants. Such a framework allows the writer to later draw conclusions regarding how earlier factors such as educational and economic background may contribute to computer literacy. The framework may also address how certain theories apply to the existing research, as well as how effective those theories are in terms of studying the particular subject.