A concept analysis of personal knowledge: application to nursing education


Nancy M Sweeney, 245 Springfield Avenue Pine Beach New Jersey 08741-1052, USA


A concept analysis of personal knowledge is completed using the Walker and Avant method The analysis is based on Polanyi's concept of personal knowledge with a working definition being extrapolated from his writings combined with Belenky and colleagues’ concept of constructed knowledge The goal is to construct a definition of personal knowledge which recognizes the multifaceted processing used by humans in the endeavour to perceive new patterns, and which is free from discrimination based on age, sex, culture, discipline, world view or learning style Knowledge is defined as pattern recognition which may be probabilistically rather than exactly predictive Personal knowledge is defined as recognition of a new pattern through processing by the human being The processing may consist of any combination of human and environmental interaction, ‘rational intuiting’, appraisal, active comprehension and personal judgement, all in a setting of departure from the current conceptual framework The pattern may be new to the person or to humanity Personal knowledge is denoted by perception of the person The antecedents, attributes and consequences are taken from the literature The empirical referents are hypothesized from a review of the nursing, social work and education literature After defining personal knowledge and differentiating it from other phenomena, it is integrated into nursing education An educator accepting personal knowledge as an expectation for students approaches the teaching/learning situation by planning to create an atmosphere in which individual growth and illumination can occur Therein personal knowledge is integrated into nursing education using the most barrier-free theoretical frameworks in the areas of learning, curriculum and instruction