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The nature of nursing research: dissertations in the Nordic countries, 2003


Solveig Lundgren, Institute of Health and Care Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy, Göteborg University, Box 457, 405 30 Göteborg, Sweden.


Nursing and caring research has followed various paths in different countries and there are diverse views regarding the central phenomena in nursing science. An overview of Nordic nursing and caring science from 1974 to 2000 revealed that conceptualizations and design of enquiry differed. It therefore was of interest to investigate the overall picture regarding more recent and present doctoral dissertations on this subject. The aim of this study was to investigate the locus of interest and the content of current nursing and caring research in Nordic doctoral dissertations within the field presented during 2003. A total of 26 doctoral dissertations were read and studied. The analysis was inspired by Kim’s metaparadigmatic typology of four domains for structuring nursing knowledge. The investigation shows that the research in these dissertations, with some exceptions, was oriented towards phenomena belonging to the client domain (18 dissertations). Less knowledge has been gained in the client–nurse (two dissertations); four dissertations were categorized within the practice domain and environment domain includes two dissertations. The research conducted was primarily oriented towards pragmatic aspects and the practical application of knowledge, whereas basic research aiming at defining an autonomous science is exceptional. This means that scientific knowledge regarding and forming the discipline’s unique perspective and value system could still be in evolution. A combination of a carefully and well-designed research practice, reflecting the need to further research and investigate new theoretical regions would appear to constitute the direction forward.