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Concept analysis and the building blocks of theory: misconceptions regarding theory development
Örebro University, School of Health Sciences. Research and Development Unit, FOU nu, SLSO, Stockholm, Sweden; Faculty of Professional Studies, Nursing Science, Nord University, Bodö, Norway.
Division of Nursing Science, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköping University, Sweden.
2016 (English)In: Journal of Advanced Nursing, ISSN 0309-2402, E-ISSN 1365-2648, Vol. 72, no 10, p. 2558-2566Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

AIM: The purpose of this article is to discuss the attempts to justify concepts analysis as a way to construct theory - a notion often advocated in nursing.

BACKGROUND: The notion that concepts are the building blocks or threads from which theory is constructed is often repeated. It can be found in many articles and well-known textbooks. However, this notion is seldom explained or defended. The notion of concepts as building blocks has also been questioned by several authors. However, most of these authors seem to agree to some degree that concepts are essential components from which theory is built.

DESIGN: Discussion paper.

DATA SOURCES: Literature was reviewed to synthesize and debate current knowledge.

IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING: Our point is that theory is not built by concepts analysis or clarification and we will show that this notion has its basis in some serious misunderstandings. We argue that concept analysis is not a part of sound scientific method and should be abandoned.

CONCLUSION: The current methods of concept analysis in nursing have no foundation in philosophy of science or in language philosophy. The type of concept analysis performed in nursing is not a way to 'construct' theory. Rather, theories are formed by creative endeavour to propose a solution to a scientific and/or practical problem. The bottom line is that the current style and form of concept analysis in nursing should be abandoned in favour of methods in line with modern theory of science.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Blackwell Publishing, 2016. Vol. 72, no 10, p. 2558-2566
Keywords [en]
concept analysis, epistemology, nursing theory, philosophy, research methods
National Category
Nursing Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-74609DOI: 10.1111/jan.13002ISI: 000383626900027PubMedID: 27218439Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84985995562OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-74609DiVA, id: diva2:1320357
Available from: 2019-06-04 Created: 2019-06-04 Last updated: 2019-06-04Bibliographically approved

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Bergdahl, Elisabeth

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