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empiricism, interpretivism, nursing, philosophical paradigm, poststructuralism, qualitative, research, spirituality



  1. Tinley, Susan T. PhD, RN, CGC
  2. Kinney, Anita Y. PhD, RN


Since the turn of the century, there has been an expanded interest in the place that spirituality has in nursing practice, education, and research. The purpose of this article is to examine the study of spirituality from the perspective of 3 philosophical paradigms: empiricism, interpretivism, and poststructuralism. The strengths and weaknesses of the paradigms are identified through a review of an exemplar article for each. Each paradigm provides a unique approach to the development of knowledge, and thus makes its own contribution to the understanding of spirituality. It is the researcher's responsibility to identify the appropriate paradigm for the question.