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Nursing Research Resources: Concept Analysis

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 the methods have the purpose of determining the defining attributes or 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. Concept analysis has been used in other disciplines, particularly philosophy and linguistics, for many years. However, the techniques have only recently been “discovered” by nurses interested in semantics and language development in the discipline.

Concept analysis is a useful tool for nurses conducting research. Because the outcome of a concept analysis is a set of defining characteristics that tell the researcher “what counts” as the concept, it allows the researcher to (a) formulate a clear, precise theoretical and/or operational definition to be used in the study; (b) choose measurement instruments that accurately reflect the defining characteristics of the concept to be measured; (c) determine if a new instrument is needed (if no extant measure adequately reflects the defining characteristics); and (d) accurately identify the concept when it arises in clinical practice or in qualitative research data...

Source: Encyclopedia of Nursing Research (2). New York, US: Springer Publishing Company, 2006. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 5 October 2016. Copyright © 2006. Springer Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Recommended reading (Textbooks)

Resources and Guides

Encyclopedias - Nursing Specific titles

Submitting Material Requests

For articles that are not available full-text via the LRC website, you can submit a material request using the link below:

To locate articles discussing the topic for your concept analysis assignment, use the recommended list of term combinations that will help you to retrieve all relevant articles. You will want to AND your concept with the search terms below:

  • "concept analysis"
  • philosophy OR philosophies
  • theory OR theories OR theoretical
  • defined OR definition

For example:

"assisted living" AND ("concept analysis" OR philosophy OR theory OR theories OR theoretical OR defined OR definition OR concept*)

Use Google Docs to keep track of the following:

  • Your search topic
  • Limits/Filters, such as age, date range, language, etc.
  • Databases to include, such as PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, PowER Search, etc.
  • Concepts and like terms
  • Search strategies


Recommended Resources

James A. Zimble Learning Resource Center • 4301 Jones Bridge Rd. Bethesda, MD 20814 • Main Number: 301-295-3189 • AMI Helpdesk: 301-295-3358

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