What is a WordPress framework/theme as opposed to simply a ‘standard’ theme?
A WordPress framework/theme is more than just a basic theme. Unlike a basic theme, which give you basic options or a few variation choices, some themes/frameworks give you comprehensive control of your WordPress site in terms of design and layout. This is achieved by the inclusion of an options interface within WordPress itself.
These kinds of themes usually include a very large quantity of options for most of the major elements that make up a typical WordPress theme, making them very flexible in terms of choices available to you and design possibilities without needing to know any coding or CSS. Another advantage is the ability to alter the theme when you want to freshen it up, or change the overall look and feel of it.
Effectively, they permit you to make up a pretty good WordPress theme yourself to suit your needs often without too much expense. Be sure to check how good support is, how much the various licenses are and what you are permitted to do with them, and what upgrades are included as well as how much a major upgrade might be and how regular and so on.
There are a number of these kinds of Themes for WordPress available, so please keep that in mind and be sure to check out a few to see which one might suit your needs best, if any!