Concept analysis: examining the state of the science.

Judith E. Hupcey, Janice Penrod

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


As methods for analyzing concepts have proliferated in nursing, a critical methodological issue has arisen. Analytic techniques for examining conceptual meaning have incorporated varied strategies for advancing the concept under the rubric of concept analysis, concept development, and theory building. The authors argue that this evolution has created methodological confusion. Following a discussion of a conceptualization of concepts and concept-theory-truth linkages, methods of concept analysis are critiqued in terms of the purpose and the nature of the findings produced by analyses using both traditional and emergent methods. The authors argue that concept analysis is a process of strategic examination of the scientific literature that results in an integrated perspective of the state of the science, or what is known about the concept. In contrast, concept advancement refers to techniques that emphasize the synthesis of new or deeper knowledge that is relevant to the discipline. The authors conclude that disentangling concept analysis from techniques for concept advancement is critical to enhancing the utility of concept-based research in nursing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-208
Number of pages12
JournalResearch and Theory for Nursing Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Research and Theory


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