Commonly Used Concept Analysis Methods in Nursing: An Introduction to Rodgers’ Evolutionary Concept Analysis Method.
The posts this month focused on concept analysis: what it is, how to search for published articles on concept analysis, and commonly used concept analysis methods and frameworks used in nursing theory and nursing research. Last week I presented an overview of Walker and Avant’s concept analysis method. Today’s post introduces Rodgers’ Evolutionary Concept Analysis Method.
Concept Analysis Methods: Rodgers’ Evolutionary Concept Analysis Method
Rodgers’ concept analysis method is another method derived from Wilson’s work as it was modified from Walker and Avant’s (2011) method (Rodgers 1989/1997). One big difference between these works is that Rodgers was opposed to a purely positivist approach to concept analysis (Baldwin, 2008; Rodgers, 1989/1997). Rodgers understood concepts to be ever-changing, thus dynamic, and influenced by time and context (Rodgers, 1989/1997). Rodgers’ evolutionary concept analysis method emphasizes the fact that the description and clarification of the concept is foundational for ongoing concept development and further research (Rafii, Oskouie, Parvizy, Mohammadi, & Ghafouri, 2016). So, like Walker and Avant also noted, a concept analysis is never completely done!
Rodgers approach to concept analysis is inductive vs the deductive approach championed by Wilson (Rafii et al., 2016; Tofthagen & Fagerstrøm, 2010) and therefore requires qualitative thematic analysis methods to derive the critical attributes, antecedents, and consequences of the concept of interest (Rafii et al., 2016).
Three aspects of context are emphasized in Rodgers’ (1989/1997) method, which provides the “evolutionary aspect of concept analysis and development. The contextual aspects to be considered are the significance, use, and application of the concept over time.
Rodger’s concept analysis method is becoming very popular. A quick search of the literature revealed many authors who have used Rodgers’ approach for concept clarification and research study.
Rodgers’ Evolutionary Concept Analysis Method (1989/1997, 2000)
Because Rodgers modified Walker and Avant’s concept analysis method, it may help you to review the 8-Steps in the post I did on that method. I gave you descriptors of each step in Walker and Avant’s method that will be helpful for understanding the phases of Rodgers’ method too.
Rodgers’ Evolutionary Concept Analysis Method included 7 phases and a final analysis phase to guide future concept development was added. Rodgers (1989/1997) emphasized that this approach is described as phases because the approach is cyclical and not rigid or linear.
I like how Tofthagen and Fagerstrøm (2010) further divided Rodgers’ phases into three general phases, so I’m going to use those phases to further structure this method. The three general phases are labeled the initial phase (phases 1-3), the core analysis phase (phases 4-7), and the further analysis phase (phase 8).
Again, this method is inductive with a continuous process of data analysis and refinement of the concept “where data are organised and reorganised until a descriptive pattern of themes throughout the texts is reached” (Rodgers cited in Tofthagen & Fagerstrøm, 2010, p. 25).
Phase 1: Identify and name the concept of interest;
The context of significance is used to determine the concept of interest (Tofthagen & Fagerstrøm, 2010). A concept that is significant tends to be used frequently and in a lot of different ways (Rodgers 1989/1997).
What is the concept or phenomenon that you are interested in? Usually, the identified concept is of interest to you because you observed it in your clinical or professional practice. For example, Foley and Davis (2017) used Rodgers’ framework to clarify the meaning of the concept of empathy in the setting of advanced practice.
Try not to be too broad in scope — narrow your focus.
Phase 2: Identify surrogate terms and relevant uses of the concept;
Surrogate terms: Look for other terms that can be substituted for your concept. These terms may be helpful in forming your search strategies, too.
Collect examples of the use of the concept from the sources reviewed.
Phase 3: Identify and select an appropriate realm (sample) for data collection;
This step is basically a database search for literature related to your concept or phenomenon of interest. Your sample will be the list of relevant articles that are found during your lit search. Rodgers (1989/1997) emphasized that the lit review should be comprehensive and representative to increase understanding of the context-dependent concept and to decrease bias.
You should define inclusion and exclusion criteria to guide which articles you deem “relevant” (Tofthagen & Fagerstrøm, 2010). Identify key words for your search terms from surrogate and related terms you identified. See my post on constructing search strategies relevant to concept analysis searches for more information.
A variety of sources should be used in this method to get a comprehensive and representative picture of the concept. To search the literature, use databases that can search nursing, medicine, and allied health literature. Other databases may be used as needed.
Document the sources for the material collected: databases, print sources, interviews, etc.
Once you acquire the articles and other sources concerning your concept, read through them once to get a sense of how the author is using the concept (Rodgers 1989/1997). You should also critically analyze the literature to decide on the validity and relevance of the concept in practice.
Core Analysis Phase
Analysis of the data is a continuous and cyclic process. Rodgers’ method is focused on how the concept is perceived relative to its context and how it has changed and is used over time. Thematic analysis is an appropriate method for this inductive approach to concept analysis.
Ask questions as you are reading the literature and compare and contrast the uses of the concept in the different articles. Write your thoughts and answers to the questions asked about each of the articles down to create an audit trail. Fieldnotes, such as these, will be helpful in the core analysis phase. Like any literature review, this ongoing analysis of what you are reading will help you to discover what is known and unknown about the concept of interest relative to the context of use.
Phase 4: Identify the attributes of the concept;
Again, the purpose of a concept analysis is to, ultimately, clearly define the concept — so that it can be consistently recognized, used, and measured in practice and research. Identifying the defining attributes of the concept is vital to this end.
Keep a list of the characteristics or attributes that you find in the various uses of the concept in the literature and other sources. Identify the characteristics that are most frequently used to describe or explain your concept. Look for patterns in the data.
Distill these attributes down to as few as is needed to accurately convey the concept’s meaning. These are the “signs and symptoms” of your concept of interest.
Context and Rodgers Concept Analysis
Photo credit (c) CJThompson
Identify the contexts of the concept or phenomenon of interest
There are many factors that can influence how a concept is developed and perceived over time.
Rodgers maintained that concepts are influenced by their context. Rodgers is interested in ascertaining three aspects of context: significance, use, and application.
The context of the concept is important because how a concept is defined and used is influenced by internal and external factors, such as culture, education, and discipline. “The way a concept is understood differs from discipline to discipline” (Tofthagen & Fagerstrøm, 2010, p. 23).
At the start of your process, identify the meaning of the concept in terms of the nursing perspective and then look at its use in other disciplines.
Relevant uses of the concept from a nursing perspective will be found in the literature.
Phase 5: Identify the references, antecedents, and consequences of the concept;
References refer to “the range of events, situations, or phenomena over which the application of a concept is considered to be appropriate” (Rodgers, 1989/1997, p. 532).
The identification of antecedents and consequences further clarify the concept of interest.
Refer to the post I did on Walker and Avant’s concept analysis method for definitions of antecedents and consequences and a figure that might be helpful in clarifying the relationship of concepts with antecedents and consequences.
Phase 6: Identify concepts related to the concept of interest;
Related terms are related to your concept or phenomenon of interest BUT they don’t have all of the same attributes of your concept.
These terms may be confused with your concept, and sometimes used in place of your concept; however, these concepts are NOT the same as your concept of interest. Keep track of these so you don’t mistakenly use them to stand in for your concept of interest.
Phase 7: Identify a model case;
Based on your analysis, an understanding of the concept of interest should emerge from the data.
The clarified definition of the concept of interest can then be used in practice, education, further concept development, and future research. Keep in mind, Rodgers considers the clarified definition temporary – not a final product – because of the dynamic, evolving nature of the concept.
The identification of a model case or exemplar of the concept of interest pulls the analysis together. A model case is a perfect real-life example of your concept or phenomenon and includes all of the critical attributes you’ve identified as influenced by the contexts you’ve discovered. If an “everyday example” cannot be identified, then it may be constructed. Your concept of interest should be able to be easily identified after reading your model case.
Further Analysis Phase
Phase 8: Identify hypotheses and implications for future research and development (Dignani, Toccaceli, Guarinoni, Petrucci, & Lancia, 2015; Rodgers, 2000).
The outcome of Rodgers’ method of the concept analysis is a temporary or evolving product. Concepts are always changing according to the contexts of their significance, use, and application.
The final analysis phase of Rodgers’ method is to identify hypotheses and implications for future research and continuing concept development.
For a complete explanation of Rodgers’ Evolutionary Concept Analysis Method, see Rodgers’ early works (1989/1997; 2000). Also, I highly recommend the article by Tofthagen and Fagerstrøm (2010) (see References for citations).
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How to Cite this Blogpost in APA*: Thompson, C. J. (2018, March 27). Commonly used concept analysis methods in nursing: An introduction to Rodgers’ evolutionary concept analysis method [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://nursingeducationexpert.com/concept-analysis-methods-rodgers *Citation should have hanging indent
Baldwin, M. A. (2008). Concept analysis as a method of inquiry. Nurse Researcher, 15(2), 49-58.
Dignani, L., Toccaceli, A., Guarinoni, M. G., Petrucci, C., & Lancia, L. (2015). Quality of life in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: An evolutionary concept analysis. Nursing Forum, 50(3), 201-213. doi:10.1111/nuf.12110
Foley, A. S., & Davis, A. H. (2017). A guide to concept analysis. Clinical Nurse Specialist, 32(2), 70-73. DOI: 10.1097/NUR.0000000000000277
Rafii, F., Oskouie, F., Parvizy, S., Mohammadi, N., & Ghafouri, R. (2016). Nursing professional regulation: Rodgers’ evolutionary concept analysis. International Journal of Medical Research & Health Sciences, 5(9S), 436-442.
Rodgers, B. L. (1997). Concepts, analysis and the development of nursing knowledge: The evolutionary cycle. In L. H. Nicoll (Ed.). Perspectives on Nursing Theory (3rd ed., pp. 527-534). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott.
(Reprinted from the Journal of Advanced Nursing, 14(4), 330-335. 1989. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.1989.tb03420.x)
Rodgers, B. L. (2000). Concept analysis: An evolutionary view. In B. L. Rodgers & K. A. Knafl (Eds.), Concept development in nursing: Foundation, techniques, and applications, (2nd ed., pp. 77-102). Philadelphia, PA: W. B. Saunders.
Tofthagen, R., & Fagerstrøm, L. M. (2010). Rodgers’ evolutionary concept analysis – a valid method for developing knowledge in nursing science. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 24, 21-31. 10.1111/j.1471-6712.2010.00845.x
Walker, L. O., & Avant, K. C. (2011). Strategies for theory construction in nursing (5th ed.). Norwalk, CT: Appleton & Lange.