Conceptual Framework Assignment 4: Finalizing Diagram and Writing Text
30% of course grade
Students must turn in final versions of their conceptual framework diagrams accompanied by a text
description of no more than 7 double-spaced pages. The diagram will be a revised version of the diagram
submitted for Assignment 2 and should follow the same rubric (CF Diagram Rubric in the Online Library).
Since the references will be cited in the text, this version of the diagram should not have reference
The text description complements the diagram by explaining its purpose, elaborating on the relationships
shown, and citing the research supporting the inclusion of each factor. In addition to the guidance below,
students should consult the rubric (CF Text Rubric) which is posted in the Online Library. The rubric shows
the elements of the text description and their relative importance. Evaluation of the text will be based on
Submission, Review and Grading for Assignment 4
Students should use 1” margins and 12-point font for the text description. It should be double-spaced and
must not exceed 7 pages. The reference list and diagram are not included in this page limit. A title page
should not be included; students should place their names in the upper right-hand margin and number
pages in the bottom right-hand margin. A consistent reference format should be used for both the in-text
citations and the reference list (the numbered format used for the draft diagram is fine), and all references
must be complete (i.e., include all relevant bibliographic information, not just a weblink).
The diagram, text, and reference list must be combined in a single PDF document for submission. The
document Formatting the Conceptual Framework Assignment in the Course Documents folder of the
Online library provides instructions for how to merge files. Students may also contact the TAs for
assistance, but should do so a minimum of three days before Assignment 4 is due.
The PDF document should be submitted to the Drop Box on the CoursePlus site by the deadline. Students
should not email assignments to course staff.
Like the draft, the final version will be graded on a standard letter scale (i.e., A: 90-100%, B: 80-89%, etc.).
Students will be docked half a grade (e.g., grade of B lowered to B-) for each day late (a day late is defined
as any time within the 24 hours after the assignment is due).
Steps for Preparing the Final Diagram
In finalizing the conceptual framework diagram, students should carefully review the feedback from course
staff and peers. The feedback will be structured according to the diagram rubric; reference to the rubric
will help in interpreting staff and peer comments. Reviewing the document CF Assignment 2 Drafting
Diagram and Lecture 3 may be helpful.
If students have questions about how to address feedback, they may make appointments with an
instructor or TA. They should not wait until the last minute; staff are unable to provide immediate
assistance. Questions of a general nature should be posted to the Discussion Forum so all will benefit.
CF Assignment 4 Instructions 2 10/2021
Writing the Text Description
The text provides a guide to the diagram and includes additional information, for example, about the
research that supports the relationships depicted in the diagram. However, the main purpose of the text is
to enhance the diagram by adding depth and detail about the process depicted. In particular, the text must
explain how the factors in the diagram are linked through levels and across the life course and how they
eventually lead to the outcome.
The text must include the following elements, which also provide effective organizational structure. These
elements are a part of the rubric for the text (CF Text Rubric, in the Online Library).
A short introduction stating the outcome of interest and the purpose of the diagram and text.
• Provide a brief (1-3 sentences) explanation of the outcome and its public health importance (e.g.,
population-level significance, relative magnitude). Include any information needed to specify or
clarify the outcome, for example explaining that the framework focuses on childhood asthma, not
asthma at all ages or that it explains preterm births that were not induced, not all preterm births.
• Describe the purpose of the conceptual framework (diagram and text): to present a multilevel life
course perspective on the outcome that applies to all settings, global and domestic.
• Explain the multilevel life course perspective, and the rationale for applying it to this outcome.
An explanation of the diagram’s structure.
• Explain the layout of the diagram, for example that stages of the life course are shown at the
bottom starting at the left, leading to the outcome at the right.
• Include information that will help the reader interpret the diagram, for example, why specific life
stages are shown, that shading is used to convey higher-to-lower level determinants, or why the
levels are identified as they are (for example, for the outcome contraceptive use, including a
“relationship” level is useful, since relationship dynamics influence use).
A description of the factors that lead to the outcome, emphasizing the process. This section is the main
body of the text and will account for most of the length.
• Organize the description in a way that helps to convey the multilevel life course approach, that is
by life stage or level. For example, organizing by life course stage and within each stage by level
would mean that the description starts with factors in the fetal period, from higher to lower levels
(or lower to higher levels; either is acceptable as long as it is used consistently), then moves on to
childhood, again describing factors by levels, and so on through the life course.
• Describe each factor in the diagram and its relationship with the outcome, with citations to the
supporting research. There will not be space to describe every study cited, so instead comment on
the literature strategically, for example to emphasize a strong study or to explain that research
linking a particular factor to the outcome is all cross-sectional.
• Explain the pathways among the factors or groups of factors through levels and across the life
course as described in Lecture 3 (specifically, the slides with red arrows). For example, trace the
links from a determinant early in the life course to a determinant later in the life course to the
outcome, or the links from a higher-level factor to a lower-level factor to the outcome. Do not
explain all pathways; focus on those that are most important or for which the evidence is strongest.
The description of pathways is critical. As explained in Lecture 3, connecting arrows are not
appropriate in the type of diagram required for this assignment. Explaining the process by which
the outcome occurs in the text is thus essential for conveying the multilevel life course perspective
on the outcome. This part of the text elaborates, rather than recapitulates, the diagram.
CF Assignment 4 Instructions 3 10/2021
A short conclusion which reiterates the purpose of the conceptual framework (diagram and text),
summarizes what the framework shows, and explains how this information is useful.
Be as specific as possible. For example, concluding that the multilevel life course framework highlights the
critical role of childhood factors or the overlooked role of national/community factors is more informative
than simply saying that the framework shows that the causes of the outcome are multifactorial. However,
the conclusion should be based on what the diagram and cited literature show; for some outcomes, the
appropriate conclusion is that it is the result of a complex set of factors.
A reference list containing complete bibliographic information for all sources cited.
References should be placed at the end of the document and not in footnotes. A consistent reference
format should be used for both the in-text citations and the reference list and all references must be
complete (i.e., include all relevant bibliographic information, not just a weblink). The reference list does
not count towards the 7-page limit
Conceptual Framework Assignment 4: Finalizing Diagram and Writing Text