Despite similarities in the manner in which frames have been conceptualised and are thought to operate, the way that conflict frame categories have been derived differs considerably between researchers. In analysing these approaches, two methods of frame category derivation are evident: inductive and deductive development.
In adopting an inductive approach to the derivation of conflict frame descriptions, Pinkley (1990) recruited individuals who were involved in a dispute with another and asked them to provide descriptions of what they thought the dispute was about. A second group of individuals who were also experiencing an interpersonal dispute then organised these descriptions according to the level of similarity. Factors that discriminated between the groupings were identified and, on this basis, a typology of conflict frames was developed.
Other researchers in the field have adopted a more deductive approach to the derivation of frame-related typologies (Gray cited in Donnellon & Gray, 1989; Wehr, 1979). For example, Wehr endeavoured to classify the types of issues that underpinned disputes through an analysis of negotiation transcripts. In identifying the substantive nature of the disputes, Wehr developed a categorisation scheme, which he termed a conflict map. Through this process Wehr was able to explain why some disputes were more likely to be intractable than were others.
In developing a typology of conflict frames, Donnellon and Gray (1989) drew upon earlier work by Gray (1988, cited in Donnellon & Gray, 1989). To characterise the way in which conflict was perceived by negotiators, Gray conducted an extensive literature review and clustered the resulting frame-related concepts. Six frame types emerged, such as outcome- and process-related frames. This typology was subsequently used to analyse negotiation transcripts (Donnellon & Gray, 1989; Gray et al., 1990; Gray, 1997). Using a discourse analytic approach, the researchers constructed a map of the negotiation process according to the frame-related themes of the negotiation. As a result, hypotheses were then developed about the types of antecedents necessary to attain optimal resolutions. This typology was modified after its application to other forms of disputes; these modifications will be elaborated upon further in Section 2.4.