Concept analysis in nursing most often uses the framework developed by Lorraine Olszewski Walker and Kay Coalson Avant and published in 2005 in their "Strategies for Theory Construction in Nursing" text. This framework has been criticized in recent years, even being called an arbitrary and vacuous exercise. Despite the criticisms, the framework is still widely used. Preparing a concept analysis paper for nursing involves conducting a literature review, identifying the key characteristics or attributes of the concept, identifying its antecedents and consequences and apply them to a model case.
Identify a concept you wish to study. For example, the concept of empowerment and its relationship to mental health nursing has been subjected to a concept analysis. Other examples include breathlessness and pregnancy.
Conduct a literature review on your chosen concept from a broad range of disciplines, not just nursing. For example, consider including the disciplines of clinical sociology and community psychology.
Identify the key characteristics or attributes of your concept. For example, a key characteristic of the pregnancy concept is a fetal heartbeat. Key characteristics of empowerment include that it is both a process and an outcome, and that is both a communal and positive concept.
Identify the antecedents and the consequences for your concept. Antecedents are incidents leading to the concept. For example, the antecedents of pregnancy are ovulation and sexual intercourse. Consequences follow the concept. For example, the consequence of pregnancy is either miscarriage or birth.
Construct your analysis using a model, contrary, related and a borderline case. A model case shares all of the key characteristics of the concept, all the defining criteria and at least one of the antecedents and consequences. A contrary case has none of the defining characteristics, a related case has a similar defining characteristic, and a borderline case might be a metaphoric use of the concept.
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