Title. Using a conceptual model in nursing research – mitigating fatigue in cancer patients
Aim. This paper is a discussion of the use of the Levine Conservation Model to guide the investigation of an exercise intervention to mitigate cancer-related fatigue.
Background. Researchers use conceptual models or theoretical frameworks to provide an organizing structure for their studies, to guide the development and testing of hypotheses, and to place research finding within the context of science. Selection of an appropriate and useful framework is an essential step in the development of a research project.
Method. A descriptive approach is used to present the components of the conceptual model and details of the articulation of the study intervention and outcomes with the model.
Findings. The Levine Conservation Model provided a useful framework for this investigation, conducted in 2002–2006, of the effects of exercise on fatigue and physical functioning in cancer patients. The four conservation principles of the model guided the development of the exercise intervention, the identification of salient outcomes for patients, and the selection of appropriate instruments to measure study variables. The model is also proving useful in the analysis and interpretation of data in relation to the conservation principles.
Conclusion. Use of an appropriate conceptual model facilitates the design and testing of theory-based interventions and the development of science to support nursing practice.