Research Paradigms, Knowledge and Practice in Nursing Name of of University Introduction The objective of research is to generate the most excellent knowledge or evidence to guide practice. It is hence vital to be aware of the nature, philosophy, methodology, strengths and weaknesses of a specific paradigm or approach…
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5). This essay identifies and critically discusses the research paradigms to be the most relevant to the development of nursing knowledge: positivism/empiricism and phenomenology/interpretivism. Nursing has progressed as a unique discipline through the application of theories from other academic fields and the advancement of clinical research. The discipline of nursing focuses on the personal circumstances of individual patients. In essence, this suggests that research to enhance the clinical practice of nursing should focus on environmental factors and individual attributes that are not open to plain quantitative approach. Nursing has formulated research paradigms to address these challenging issues. The discipline of nursing revealed that there is a need to expand the foundation of nursing knowledge, and research is the best way to accomplish such goal. Focus of the Discipline of Nursing The discipline of nursing gradually grew from established theories, intuition, religious beliefs, apprenticeship, philanthropic intentions, and traditional women’s role, as well as diverse impact of feminism, economics, politics, technology, and medicine (Shaw, 1993). Florence Nightingale, the first practitioner of nursing, described nursing as a field of study that has social relevance and structured concepts different from the field of medicine. However, M.E. Roger’s (1970 as cited in Shaw, 1993, p. 1651) more recent holistic perspective of individuals have become an important foundation in developing theory by characterizing nursing as ‘an art and a science’ and by creating a concrete starting point for testing theories. Donaldson and Crowley (1978), in their seminal work, identify a discipline as “a unique perspective, a distinct way of viewing all phenomena, which ultimately defines the limits and nature of its inquiry” (as cited in Rich, 2010, p. 26). Nursing practitioners have long tried to identify, investigate, understand, and explain the concepts fundamental to the discipline of nursing—nursing, environment, health, and person. Issues defining the limits for nursing research and practice involve (Shaw, 1993, p. 1651): (a) laws and principles governing life processes and well-being of humans, (b) influences of the environment on human behavior, (c) processes whereby nursing positively affects health, and (d) families and communities as a focus of nursing practice. Several researchers found out an agreement on the frequent topics and similarities fundamental to nursing research and inquiry. Development of knowledge in a discipline could progress from a number of scientific and philosophic worldviews. The focus of nursing as a discipline has developed most significantly over the recent decades. Several concepts have been determined as fundamental to the discipline of nursing. A case in point is the often mentioned tetralogy, namely, ‘person, environment, nursing, and health’ (Polifroni & Welch, 1999, p. 20). Although recognition of these concepts helps simplify the focus of nursing, there is still the importance of social relevance and apparent interrelatedness to define the discipline that makes up nursing (Keele, 2010). Unrelated concepts do not create the scientific or philosophic questions that encourage inquiry. The discipline of n
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