Conceptual Relationships and Assumptions

Conceptual Relationships and Assumptions
Concepts in themselves are only useful to describe a phenomenon. They do not provide for explanation, prediction, or prescription or control. It is only when the concepts are connected to each other through relational statements that we have the possibility of a hypothesis or a theory.

—Walker and Avant, 2011, p. 114

In the Week 3 Introduction, you considered the metaphor of a house, which is often used to represent the theoretical foundation for a program of research. How do the building blocks (concepts) of the theoretical foundation for your research fit together to form a solid yet distinctive structure?
This week, you examine how concepts link together in your theoretical foundation. In the Discussion, you begin to articulate the relationships between concepts in your theoretical foundation for a program of research. In addition, you consider the potential impact of assumptions on research. As you develop your theoretical foundation, you also examine nursing’s metaparadigm and consider how it relates to your work.

Conceptual Relationships and Assumptions
In Weeks 3 and 4, you conducted a concept analysis. As Walker and Avant (2011) explain, “concepts allow us to classify our experiences in a meaningful way both to ourselves and others….The ability to express a relationship between two or more concepts is even more useful and efficient” (p. 59). In this Discussion, you create statements about the relationships between two or more concepts, which are critical for developing your theoretical foundation for a program of research.
In this Discussion, you also examine assumptions that may influence your program of research. Assumptions are another type of statement; these statements are considered true, even when they have not been tested. They often go unrecognized because they are deeply embedded in thinking and behavior, so it is important to engage in critical reflection to identify them.
In addition, during this Discussion you consider how nursing’s metaparadigm relates to the theoretical foundation you are developing.
To prepare
Continue to review the literature that features concepts related to your phenomenon of interest. As you read each article, consider the relationships between and among concepts. Also identify assumptions that are implicit or explicit in the research.
Select one article from your literature review and apply the seven steps of statement analysis that Walker and Avant (2011) present in Chapter 11 of their text. What insights does this give you about the relationships described in the article, as well as for your own work?
Think more deeply about the conceptual relationships that may distinguish the theoretical foundation for your future program of research. Also, analyze assumptions that may influence your research (McEwen and Wills, 2019, p. 81).
Review the information on nursing’s metaparadigm in McEwen and Wills (2019, pp. 41–45). Consider how the metaparadigm concepts of patient, health, nurse, and environment relate to your theoretical foundation.

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