clinical inquiry, critical inquiry, emancipatory inquiry, hermeneutic inquiry, interpretive inquiry, praxis



  1. Lutz, Kristin F. RN, MS, ANP, WHCNP
  2. Jones, Kim Dupree RNC, MN, FNP
  3. Kendall, Judy RN, PhD


Nursing science continues to debate the adequacy of various philosophic paradigms for their ability to forward the discipline.Nursing must embrace multiple paradigms, methodologies, and their philosophic assumptions to adequately address the complex and multifaceted human phenomena that is the focus of clinical inquiry in nursing. This article examines the differences in interpretive and critical approaches to clinical inquiry relative to praxis, expanding how praxis can be used to inform nursing practice. Differences in the nature of knowledge, goals of inquiry, and claims to praxis between the interpretive and critical traditions are discussed. Praxis, realized through clinical inquiry in both the interpretive and the critical paradigms, may contribute important pieces of the puzzle to improve the human condition. Expanding the praxis debate challenges nurses to consider the emancipatory possibilities of clinical inquiry within both interpretive and critical paradigms.