1. Jairath, Nalini PhD, RN

Article Content

Appropriately conceptualized nursing research benefits nursing science globally. Researchers in Asian countries such as Thailand, Taiwan, and China face several challenges adapting "Western-based" conceptualizations. First, clear criteria for examining the appropriateness of transferring Western-based approaches are not readily available. Concept analysis or approaches such as described by Robertson and Kelley (1996) may be helpful. Second, nuances in language and translation often affect understanding and meaning. An approach to addressing cross-linguistic issues in the conduct of nursing research analogous to that used by Carnevale, Vissandjee, Nyland, and Vinet-Bonin (2009) to address nursing practice is needed. Third, researchers also should examine ways in which Western-based conceptualizations are limited. For example, Chiang-Hanisko, Adamle, and Chiang (2009) identified "reverence of illness" as a cultural value in Taiwanese society; use of Western conceptualizations of therapeutic humor that do not incorporate this concept could be a serious limitation.


Conversely, Western researchers may benefit from the incorporation of conceptual approaches developed in other portions of the world. With the exception of discrete areas (public health research and nursing workforce research), conceptualizations developed in other regions of the world appear infrequently in North American nursing research. Incorporating these conceptualizations can be beneficial when North American research lags behind others, when the body of pertinent research is very limited, or when conceptualizations from other cultures contribute innovative ideas to the study of nursing problems. To illustrate, Shyu (2002) addressed the process of family caregiving for frail Taiwanese elders and identified the importance of caregivers finding a "balance point" between their needs and those of their elders. The concept of a balance point may be germane to similar research in the North American context.


Conceptualizations developed for use in one culture and used elsewhere represent an opportunity. Researchers are invited to consider whether cultural factors are explicitly addressed, culture is integrated throughout the conceptualization, culture is compartmentalized, and the degree to which the conceptualization is culture specific.


Nalini Jairath, PhD, RN


The Catholic University of America




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