What is a Reference Frame?

The frame of reference or referential framework is a text that identifies and exposes the background, theories, regulations and/or guidelines of a research project, an action program or a process.

The main function of the frame of reference is to compile the background of a subject of study (theories, experiments, data, statistics, etc.). By doing this, the researcher can identify gaps and questions to explore that justify his project. Likewise, he can identify a consolidated theoretical tradition to support the hypothesis.

In a thesis or scientific or humanistic research work, the frame of reference can be considered equivalent to the theoretical or conceptual framework when it identifies and exposes the concepts that support the argumentation of the hypothesis.

For example, In an investigation on the “History of the cultural policies of Nation X”, the researcher must build his frame of reference by mentioning the following issues, prior to the selection process of the material:

  • Reference to major works by other researchers on the subject. Namely: theoretical research (for example, what are cultural policies), historical, sociological, anthropological, psychological, etc.
  • Reference to the most relevant previous experiences or data, both at the public and private level.
  • Reference to State documents that address “cultural policies” or related terms (art, education, etc). These documents may include the constitution, national plans, management guidelines, minutes, etc.

The frame of reference also has an application in institutions, organizations, departments or areas administrative. In these cases, it is made up of the documents that establish a common base in an organization of any type, that is, it refers to the criteria and models that govern the approaches, operations or decision-making.

For example, A reference framework for learning, teaching and evaluation of an institution will detail the criteria for the elaboration of manuals for learning and the parameters to measure the knowledge of the students.

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How to make a frame of reference

To develop a frame of reference or referential framework, the following aspects can be taken into account:

  1. Carry out a review of the available literature on the subject (theoretical or historical material, references to experiments, reports or statistics, as the case may be).
  2. Choose a guiding theory from the reviewed literature.
  3. Select the key terms that will be used in the research.
  4. Write the referential framework in an orderly manner.

Physics frame of reference

In physics, the frame of reference or reference system It is defined as a coordinate system that allows describing the position in which an object is located. With the frame of reference, both in physics and mechanics, it is possible to detect changes in position, movements and other parameters within an environment and with defined variables.