Anglia Ruskin University

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Conceptual frameworks in nursing doctoral research

conference contribution
posted on 2023-07-26, 13:49 authored by Stewart Piper
The international profile of doctoral research in nursing is on the increase and this is helping nursing to be taken seriously as a research based profession in two ways. Firstly, by developing an evidence base for practice and secondly by demonstrating its ability to engage in the metatheoretical (i.e. beyond the theory of any one discipline) dialogue of research in the same way as any other profession. However, a search of the nursing literature reveals a notable dearth of discussion on conceptual frameworks. The literature from outside the discipline also suggests that many doctoral students struggle to identify how their conceptual framework developed or that conceptualisation is inadequate. Yet this potentially challenging aspect of a PhD thesis is a fundamental metatheoretical foundation for all doctoral studies with nursing as no exception. Metatheoretical and foundational because conceptual frameworks map out and contextualise the ontological and epistemological (i.e. philosophical) assumptions of the research in relation to established paradigms of social thought and concomitant methodological perspectives. In so doing they shape the research architecture and design and provide a structure for theorising. This presentation will critically reflect on the conceptual framework as a metatheoretical foundation for nursing doctoral research and inform the debate in the following ways. By defining and explaining the conceptual framework as a contested concept. By advancing the conceptual framework as an essential tool to assist nursing doctoral students both to understand and engage with the metatheoretical discourse of other and all disciplines and to illustrate the social theory dichotomies and points of integration in their work. By contextualising the various positions defined by the different aims, processes, terminology and indicators of knowledge in relation to competing paradigms of social theory they invoke to help methodological precision.


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RCN International Nursing Research Conference 2016


Edinburgh, UK

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ARCHIVED Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education (until September 2018)

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