NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Week 3: Concepts

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NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Week 3: Concepts

For a concept to be solid and strong, it must clearly name the thing to which it refers, it must be clearly defined (structure), and its uses in theory should be clear (function) so that anyone who sees the concept and its definition within the theory can understand exactly what is being described, explained, or predicted.

—Walker and Avant, 2011, p. 157

Many people have evoked the metaphor of a house to describe a theoretical foundation for research. Using this imagery, concepts are the building blocks of the construction. Each block (concept) must be unambiguously defined and consistently applied to create a stable foundation.

This week, you delve more deeply into the development of your theoretical foundation, examining the purpose and significance of concepts. In this week’s Discussion, you select and define a primary concept related to your phenomenon of interest. In the Assignment, you apply Walker and Avant’s method of concept analysis to your selected concept. You will continue to refine your concept analysis in Week 4.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Analyze concepts related to phenomena of interest
  • Apply concept analysis methods to selected concepts
  • Analyze effects of concept analyses on concept perceptions

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As Walker and Avant (2011) note, “many attempts to describe, explain, or predict phenomena start without a clear understanding of what is to be described, explained, or predicted” (pp. 58–59).

In Week 2, you submitted your phenomenon of interest for Instructor review and approval. Your Instructor’s feedback will guide your investigation of a phenomenon that is viable, distinct, and worthy of doctoral-level research. As you move forward, it is essential to clearly define concepts in your theoretical foundation for a program of research.

A concept is a mental image of a phenomenon. It is not the thing or action (the actual phenomenon); it is the idea or image of a phenomenon that one holds in mind. Individuals use language to name and define concepts, and sometimes the words people use to convey their ideas to others are insufficient. When that is the case, they may need to choose different words to deepen and clarify understandings, although a specific phenomenon and concept can remain unchanged (p. 59). This process is not only valuable for promoting effective communication; concepts become operationalized as variables that can be tested in research, so clarity and consistency is vital.

In the Week 2 Discussion, you identified concepts that may relate to your phenomenon of interest. For this Discussion, you select one primary concept on which to focus, examine the literature, and begin to develop a clear definition of the selected concept for the purposes of future research.

Note: You may find it helpful to read the instructions for this week’s Assignment before you begin working on this Discussion.

To prepare: NURS 8250/NURS 8250N: Advanced Theoretical and Scientific Perspectives in Nursing Essay
  • Reflect on the phenomenon of interest and concepts you identified in the Week 2 Discussion. Based on insights you have gained this week, would you like to make any modifications to your phenomenon and/or concepts? If so, you may do so before posting to this Discussion.
  • Although you will identify more than one concept for your research, select one primary concept on which to focus for this Discussion. Your concept should be one word or a very short phrase (e.g., “quality of life”).
  • Review the literature to see how this concept is defined in various sources. Remember to look at literature across all disciplines in which this concept may be used. Also search for all known definitions of the word in an unabridged dictionary.
  • As you do this, consider the following:
    • Has the concept been developed directly from nursing or health care research or practice, or has it been borrowed or derived from another discipline?
    • To what degree is the concept abstract or concrete?
    • How suitable is this concept for your intended use?
  • Formulate a definition of the concept that aligns with your intended research. (Your definition may continue to evolve as you complete your concept analysis for the Assignment introduced this week. In addition, you will likely make adjustments as you proceed through this course and/or later in this PhD program if you continue to address the concept.)

By Day 3

Post your selected concept and provide a definition of it, as well as context to help your colleagues understand what you are addressing. Summarize at least one article that addresses the concept and discuss how the information presented relates to your own definition of the concept.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.

By Day 6

Respond to at least two of your colleagues as follows:

  • Explain whether the concept appears to be measurable and/or observable. If it does not, pose questions to see if the concept can be reduced to a smaller piece of information or offer suggestions for addressing this.
  • Explain whether or not the definition is clear and makes sense given the context provided.

In addition, you may respond in one or more of the following ways:

  • Share an insight from having read your colleagues’ postings, synthesizing the information to provide new perspectives.
  • Validate an idea with your own experience and additional research.
  • Make a suggestion based on additional evidence drawn from readings or after synthesizing multiple postings.
  • Expand on your colleagues’ postings by providing additional insights or contrasting perspectives based on readings and evidence.

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Assignment: Concept Analysis

In “Isolation: A Concept Analysis,” Gilmartin, Grota, and Sousa (2013) analyze the concept of isolation using Walker and Avant’s methodology. They explain that the term isolation is used widely in everyday language, yet has specific scientific meanings. The authors conclude that “systematic studies of isolation using this concept can ultimately enhance nurses’ knowledge base and contribute to the quality of life for isolated persons” (p. 54). The other articles in this week’s Learning Resources present a variety of concept analyses that also have implications for nursing research, practice, education, and/or leadership.

In this Assignment, you complete a concept analysis for the primary concept in your theoretical foundation for research. You will post a draft of your concept analysis paper in the Week 4 Discussion forum by Day 3 of next week in order to exchange feedback with your colleagues. You will have the opportunity to integrate this feedback prior to submitting your paper by Day 7 of Week 4.

More NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Advanced Theoretical and Scientific Perspectives in Nursing Walden Nursing Essays;

NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Week 1: Theoretical Foundation for Research

NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Week 2: Phenomena of Interest

NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Week 3: Concepts

NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Week 4: Concept Analysis

NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Week 5: Conceptual Relationships and Assumptions

NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Week 6 : Framework/Theory Analysis and Evaluation

NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Week 7: Research Questions and Hypotheses

NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Week 8: Graphic Models

NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Week 9: Refinement of the Theoretical Foundation for Research

NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Week 10: Progression and Implications of the Theoretical Foundation for Research

NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Week 11: Theoretical Foundation for Research Presentations

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