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NU 601: Nursing Theory

Resources about nursing theory and theorists

What is Concept Analysis?

"Concept analysis is a strategy used for examining concepts for their semantic structure. Although there are several methods for conducting concept analysis, all of them have the purpose of determining the defining characteristics of the concept under study. Some uses of a concept analysis are refining and clarifying concepts in theory, practice, and research and arriving at precise theoretical and operational definitions for research or for instrument development." (Fitzpatrick, 2018, p. 129).

Source: Fitzpatrick, J. (2018). Encyclopedia of nursing research (4th ed.). Springer Publishing Company. 

Searching for Articles on Your Concept

Search Strategy:

Use the below terms with your concept, using the AND Boolean operator:

  • concept OR "concept analysis" (Note: please do not plagiarize others' concept analyses-- use and cite these to formulate your OWN concept analysis!)
  • defined OR definition
  • philosophy OR philosophies 
  • theory OR theories OR theoretical

Disclaimer: These are only suggestions on how you might search for your concept in the databases. Always check in with your professor to make sure you understand the assignment.

Interdisciplinary Articles

Have you been asked to search in multiple disciplines for your concept? Use these tips below!

Think about what disciplines fit within your concept. For instance, Compassion Fatigue may be defined in the psychology or social work fields.  I can use these subject-specific databases to find articles in these fields:

Other databases to consider in other disciplines:

You can also search Interdisciplinary databases, like Academic Search Complete and PowerSearch (from our homepage). Make sure you are including the discipline as part of your search terms. Example:

Empirical Referents

What are Empirical Referents?

Empirical referents are "the means by which you can recognize or measure the defining characteristics or attributes" (Walker & Avant, 2010, p. 168).  Essentially, they are measurement tools or instruments that help to measure the concept.

Ex. Concept: Resiliency

Empirical Referent: Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (Connor & Davidson, 2003)

How do I find them?

For more information on how to find these tools, check out our Research Guide on Research Instruments (Tests & Measures).

Source: Walker, L. O. & Avant, K. C. (2010). Concept analysis. In Strategies for theory construction in nursing (6th Ed., pp. 157-177). Pearson.

eBooks on Concept Analysis