NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Week 3 Discussion: Concept Identification and Definition Essay Assignment

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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
  • 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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