ROUTE #1: Getting Started
ROUTE #1: Chapter-by-Chapter

Put your diagram (i.e., your theoretical model) together

Putting your diagram together involves the following five steps:

Start by putting each construct in a circle

A circle should be used instead of a rectangle because a rectangle has a different purpose. See below for Construct A, Construct B and Construct C, which we call Service Quality, Customer Loyalty and Trust.

Note that most constructs will only be 1-3 words long (e.g., Trust, Service Quality or Customer Loyalty), but they can also be 4-6 words long (e.g., Trust in the Service Provider, Customer Disposition to Trust). Whilst they can be longer, it is important to try and keep the name of a construct short (i.e., precise), leaving the longer, operational definition of that construct to the main body of your Literature Review chapter.

Based on your hypotheses...

If you are unsure about any of these terms, see the section on Research (and null) hypotheses in the Fundamentals part of Lærd Dissertation.

In the examples above, we have illustrated: (a) a positive relationship being predicted between service quality and trust (i.e., as service quality increases, trust increase); (b) a negative relationship being predicted between employee turnover and service quality (i.e., as employee turnover increases, service quality decreases); and (c) no relationship being predicted between trust and customer loyalty (i.e., we believe that there is a relationship between trust and customer loyalty, but we are unsure whether the relationship is positive or negative).

If relevant, group constructs and highlight ties to theory:

As previously mentioned in STEP THREE, sometimes constructs can be grouped (i.e., construct grouping) and the theories that underpin the relationships between them illustrated (i.e., theoretical group). We do highlighting construct grouping and theoretical grouping using different types of rectangles (see diagram below):

Try and order your constructs

With all the different construct, hypotheses, arrows, construct grouping, and maybe even theoretical grouping, it is difficult to avoid producing a diagram (i.e., a theoretical model) that is not very messy. A lot of this is trial and error, but one rule that you should try and stick to is to start with those constructs that are acting as independent variables on the left of the diagram, and those constructs acting as dependent variables on the right. Just as we read the page from left-to-right, we want the reader to quickly understand that we are examining the impact of those independent variables (also known as predictor variables) on the left, on the dependent variables (also known as outcomes variables) on the right. This is the same formula that we use when putting together quantitative research questions or hypotheses; again, because it helps the reader to understand what we are trying to study [see the articles: Quantitative research questions and Research (and null) hypotheses in the Fundamentals part of Lærd Dissertation].

Put it all together and give it a suitable title

Once you've worked through STEPS A to D above, it is time to put your diagram together, and give the theoretical model you have created a suitable title. Below we illustrate an example model:

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