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knowledge development, doctoral education, nursing theory



  1. Spear, Hila J. PhD, RN


Within the profession of nursing, nursing theory, conceptual models, and knowledge development continue to be points of discussion and debate. Some suggest that nursing research must either test or develop nursing theory, whereas others believe that research germane to practice can legitimately incorporate what is commonly referred to as borrowed theory. This descriptive analysis of nursing doctoral dissertations (N = 207) conducted from 2000 to 2004 focused primarily on the inclusion or exclusion of nursing theories. Almost half (45.4%) of the dissertations studied theories from fields other than nursing, 27.1% of the researchers studied nursing theories, and 27.5% of the dissertation studies engaged in theory generation. Implications for nursing knowledge development and research specific to practice are discussed.