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|Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
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|How not to clarify concepts in nursing
|Intensive care nursing
|Paley J (1996) How not to clarify concepts in nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 24 (3), pp. 572-578. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2648.1996.22618.x
|Concept analysis and conceptual clarification form an identifiable genre within the nursing literature, with most recent examples drawing on the model proposed by Walker & Avant (1988). This paper argues that the Walker & Avant model is based on untenable assumptions, and that the writings of those who adopt it inevitably contain a serious flaw that vitiates the procedure and renders the results arbitrary. In particular, the relationship between concept and theory, a topic to which the philosophy of science has devoted much attention, has been misunderstood by these authors. Concepts are not the 'building blocks' of theory, but the niches created by theory; and any 'conceptual clarification' that anticipates theoretical commitment becomes a vacuous exercise in semantics.
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