NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Entire Course Weekly Discussions And Assignments

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NURS 8250/NURS 8250N: Advanced Theoretical and Scientific Perspectives in Nursing 

NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Entire Course Weekly Discussions And Assignments

NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Week 1: Theoretical Foundation for Research

As a nurse and a scholar-practitioner, most likely your curiosity has been piqued while examining data, observing behaviors and interactions, or reviewing studies and cases in the literature. Perhaps you have speculated about how and why something occurs, anticipated what would happen under slightly different circumstances, or expressed the desire to create a better outcome.

Nurse scientists aim to describe, explain, predict, and control some aspect of nature or reality. They do this by constructing theory and engaging in research to contribute to a robust body of evidence that can positively impact nursing practice, education, leadership, policymaking, and much more.

This week, you examine the process of developing a theoretical foundation for research and consider the definitions and interrelationships of key terms that will be used in this course. In the Discussion, you assess an authentic health-related scenario and explain how you would begin to build a theoretical foundation for a program of research.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Analyze similarities between concepts, conceptual relationships, frameworks, theories, and models
  • Analyze differences between concepts, conceptual relationships, frameworks, theories, and models
  • Evaluate frameworks and theories applied in research, practice, education, and leadership

NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Entire Course Weekly Discussions And Assignments

In this week’s media program, Dr. Hathaway shares her experiences identifying a phenomenon of interest and creating a program of research to investigate the phenomenon. She explains that you can think of a theoretical foundation as the rationale for viewing the phenomenon in a specific manner during research. Dr. Hathaway also explains that theory- and research-related terminology is often ambiguous, which can create confusion.

In this Discussion, you analyze a health-related scenario and explain how you would begin to develop a theoretical foundation for research. You also describe what you would convey about the phenomenon to colleagues in your role as a researcher, practitioner, educator, or leader.

To prepare:

  • Review the Learning Resources, including the “Theoretical Foundation for Research Overview” document, and think about the elements of a theoretical foundation. Examine the definitions and uses ofconcept, conceptual relationship, framework, theory, and graphic model, as well as other related terms.
  • Review the “Health-Related Scenarios” document presented in the Learning Resources, and select one on which to focus for this discussion. Also, select one of the following roles for this discussion: researcher, practitioner, educator, or leader.
  • Think about your selected scenario from the perspective of the role you have chosen. What would you identify as your phenomenon of interest based on the scenario?
  • Search the research/theory-based literature to see what has been written that may apply to the phenomenon of interest. Identify at least three current, relevant resources from nursing or other disciplines. Examine how these resources define concepts, conceptual relationships, frameworks, theories, graphic models, and other related terms. What similarities and differences emerge as you read various sources? How does this information compare with your own understanding of these terms?
  • Based on your review of the Learning Resources and the literature, determine which concepts, conceptual relationships, frameworks/theories, and/or graphic models may be most relevant and beneficial for investigating the phenomenon of interest.
  • As a researcher, practitioner, educator, or leader, what would you share with colleagues about this phenomenon? Be prepared to describe two or more concepts, one or more conceptual relationships, and one or more frameworks or theories; if possible, also share a graphic model to accompany each framework/theory.

By Day 3

Post the scenario (#1, #2, or #3) and the role you have selected (practitioner, researcher, educator, or leader). State the phenomenon of interest you have identified. Then, explain how you would start to develop a theoretical foundation to investigate this phenomenon, describing which concepts, conceptual relationships, frameworks or theories, and graphic models related to the phenomenon you would share with colleagues. Ensure that you clearly define/differentiate each of these terms and provide evidence to support your theoretical foundation.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.

By Day 6

Respond to at least two of your colleagues in one or more of the following ways:

  • Pose questions to help clarify the perspective or deepen awareness related to the scenario.
  • Explain whether the terms concept, conceptual relationship, framework, theory, and/or graphic model are used appropriately in the post (i.e., have been sufficiently defined and differentiated). If not, offer insights to help your colleague improve his/her understanding.

In addition, you may respond in one or more of the following ways:

  • Share an insight from having read your colleagues’ postings, synthesizing the information to provide new perspectives.
  • Validate an idea with your own experience and additional research.
  • Make a suggestion based on additional evidence drawn from readings or after synthesizing multiple postings.

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NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Week 2: Phenomena of Interest

In Carolina’s practice as a pediatric nurse, she often notices family members of children with chronic illnesses displaying symptoms of stress. She wonders if easing family members’ stress would improve patient outcomes at the health care organization where she works. Carolina thinks this would make an interesting subject for research in her doctoral program. As she starts to search the literature on this topic, she discovers that there is a lot of information available. She wonders, “What aspect of this phenomenon do I really want to investigate, and why?” Carolina realizes that she will need to approach this as if she is constructing a puzzle, gathering pieces and putting them together to create a picture that shows exactly what she needs to look at.

As you explored last week, the term phenomenon refers to some aspect of reality that can be observed and studied. Nurses often uncover compelling phenomena through their interactions with patients or the public, discussions with colleagues, and examination of health data and information in the literature.

This week, you select a significant phenomenon that you would like to investigate in this course and, potentially, through your dissertation research later in this PhD program. In the Discussion, you identify your phenomenon of interest, offer a high-level view of your theoretical foundation, and explain potential implications for research, practice, education, and/or leadership. In addition, you submit your phenomenon of interest for Instructor review. Once you have received Instructor approval of your phenomenon of interest, you will be able to move forward with developing your theoretical foundation during subsequent weeks of the course.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Analyze phenomena of interest
  • Analyze elements of theoretical foundations for research
  • Explain how development of theoretical foundations may facilitate positive contributions in nursing research, practice, education, and/or leadership

At this point in your PhD program, you may already be thinking about problems or questions that you would like to address through your dissertation research. If not, reflect on your professional and academic experiences. Which phenomena have captured your attention? Is there one, in particular, that you are eager to explore?

Investigating a phenomenon and building a theoretical foundation for research requires creative thinking, organization, and attention to detail. In this Discussion, you are encouraged to identify strategies or tools you may use to successfully navigate this process. Also in this Discussion, you begin to develop a broad, albeit tentative, theoretical foundation that may guide your study of a selected phenomenon. In addition, you consider how developing these theoretical elements would help you make a positive contribution in research, practice, education, and/or leadership.

While you are not required to select your dissertation topic right now, you are encouraged to use this Discussion and your work in this course as preparation for your dissertation research or other research related to your focus area.

To prepare
  • Review the strategies presented in the “Theoretical Foundation for Research” document provided in the Week 1 Learning Resources. Examine the literature review information presented in this week’s Optional Resources, and evaluate other strategies or tools you have used in previous coursework. Identify strategies/tools that you will use in this course to manage information from the literature and record your own thought processes while investigating a phenomenon of interest and developing a theoretical foundation. Begin to use these strategies/tools as you prepare for this Discussion.
  • Select a phenomenon of interest to you. Ideally, the phenomenon you choose will relate to the dissertation research you plan to conduct later in this PhD program or other research related to your focus area. (You will submit your phenomenon for Instructor approval this week.)
  • Conduct a search of the literature from nursing and other disciplines to see what has been written about your phenomenon.
  • Based on your review of the literature and your own interests as a scholar-practitioner, identify elements that you may use to develop your theoretical foundation for a future program of research. This includes concepts, conceptual relationships, frameworks/theories, and graphic models related to your phenomenon of interest. (Bear in mind that these will likely evolve as you proceed through the course.)
  • Consider how developing elements of a theoretical foundation may be advantageous as you strive to make a positive contribution in research, practice, education, and/or leadership.

By Day 3

Post your phenomenon of interest. Describe concepts, conceptual relationships, frameworks/theories, and/or graphic models that may be appropriate for addressing your phenomenon. Explain how developing these theoretical elements may be beneficial as you to strive to make a positive contribution in practice, research, education, and/or leadership.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.

By Day 6

Respond to at least two of your colleagues as follows:

  • Provide suggestions for making the phenomenon more concrete or manageable for dissertation work or other prospective research.
  • Suggest additional concepts, conceptual relationships, frameworks/theories, research questions/hypotheses, and/or graphic models that may be applicable to the phenomenon of interest.

Assignment: Phenomenon of Interest Approval

In this week’s Discussion, you shared with your colleagues a phenomenon of interest that you would like to investigate in this course, and, potentially, in your dissertation work or another program of research. Through this Assignment, your Instructor will provide feedback on the phenomenon you have selected and ensure that it is appropriate for forthcoming course assignments.

To prepare

  • Review the phenomenon of interest you posted in this week’s Discussion and revise as necessary.

To complete

Write an approximately 1-page paper in which you:

  • Identify your PhD focus area (i.e., public health policy, health care administration, leadership, education, or interdisciplinary).
  • Describe the phenomenon you have selected. Be as specific as possible in naming the population and other aspects of this phenomenon that are relevant to your investigation.
  • Explain why you have selected this phenomenon.

By Day 4

Submit your Assignment.

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NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Week 3: Concepts

For a concept to be solid and strong, it must clearly name the thing to which it refers, it must be clearly defined (structure), and its uses in theory should be clear (function) so that anyone who sees the concept and its definition within the theory can understand exactly what is being described, explained, or predicted.

—Walker and Avant, 2011, p. 157

Many people have evoked the metaphor of a house to describe a theoretical foundation for research. Using this imagery, concepts are the building blocks of the construction. Each block (concept) must be unambiguously defined and consistently applied to create a stable foundation.

This week, you delve more deeply into the development of your theoretical foundation, examining the purpose and significance of concepts. In this week’s Discussion, you select and define a primary concept related to your phenomenon of interest. In the Assignment, you apply Walker and Avant’s method of concept analysis to your selected concept. You will continue to refine your concept analysis in Week 4.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Analyze concepts related to phenomena of interest
  • Apply concept analysis methods to selected concepts
  • Analyze effects of concept analyses on concept perceptions

NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Entire Course Weekly Discussions And Assignments

As Walker and Avant (2011) note, “many attempts to describe, explain, or predict phenomena start without a clear understanding of what is to be described, explained, or predicted” (pp. 58–59).

In Week 2, you submitted your phenomenon of interest for Instructor review and approval. Your Instructor’s feedback will guide your investigation of a phenomenon that is viable, distinct, and worthy of doctoral-level research. As you move forward, it is essential to clearly define concepts in your theoretical foundation for a program of research.

A concept is a mental image of a phenomenon. It is not the thing or action (the actual phenomenon); it is the idea or image of a phenomenon that one holds in mind. Individuals use language to name and define concepts, and sometimes the words people use to convey their ideas to others are insufficient. When that is the case, they may need to choose different words to deepen and clarify understandings, although a specific phenomenon and concept can remain unchanged (p. 59). This process is not only valuable for promoting effective communication; concepts become operationalized as variables that can be tested in research, so clarity and consistency is vital.

In the Week 2 Discussion, you identified concepts that may relate to your phenomenon of interest. For this Discussion, you select one primary concept on which to focus, examine the literature, and begin to develop a clear definition of the selected concept for the purposes of future research.

Note: You may find it helpful to read the instructions for this week’s Assignment before you begin working on this Discussion.

To prepare
  • Reflect on the phenomenon of interest and concepts you identified in the Week 2 Discussion. Based on insights you have gained this week, would you like to make any modifications to your phenomenon and/or concepts? If so, you may do so before posting to this Discussion.
  • Although you will identify more than one concept for your research, select one primary concept on which to focus for this Discussion. Your concept should be one word or a very short phrase (e.g., “quality of life”).
  • Review the literature to see how this concept is defined in various sources. Remember to look at literature across all disciplines in which this concept may be used. Also search for all known definitions of the word in an unabridged dictionary.
  • As you do this, consider the following:
    • Has the concept been developed directly from nursing or health care research or practice, or has it been borrowed or derived from another discipline?
    • To what degree is the concept abstract or concrete?
    • How suitable is this concept for your intended use?
  • Formulate a definition of the concept that aligns with your intended research. (Your definition may continue to evolve as you complete your concept analysis for the Assignment introduced this week. In addition, you will likely make adjustments as you proceed through this course and/or later in this PhD program if you continue to address the concept.)

By Day 3

Post your selected concept and provide a definition of it, as well as context to help your colleagues understand what you are addressing. Summarize at least one article that addresses the concept and discuss how the information presented relates to your own definition of the concept.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.

By Day 6

Respond to at least two of your colleagues as follows:

  • Explain whether the concept appears to be measurable and/or observable. If it does not, pose questions to see if the concept can be reduced to a smaller piece of information or offer suggestions for addressing this.
  • Explain whether or not the definition is clear and makes sense given the context provided.

In addition, you may respond in one or more of the following ways:

  • Share an insight from having read your colleagues’ postings, synthesizing the information to provide new perspectives.
  • Validate an idea with your own experience and additional research.
  • Make a suggestion based on additional evidence drawn from readings or after synthesizing multiple postings.
  • Expand on your colleagues’ postings by providing additional insights or contrasting perspectives based on readings and evidence.

Assignment: Concept Analysis

In “Isolation: A Concept Analysis,” Gilmartin, Grota, and Sousa (2013) analyze the concept of isolation using Walker and Avant’s methodology. They explain that the term isolation is used widely in everyday language, yet has specific scientific meanings. The authors conclude that “systematic studies of isolation using this concept can ultimately enhance nurses’ knowledge base and contribute to the quality of life for isolated persons” (p. 54). The other articles in this week’s Learning Resources present a variety of concept analyses that also have implications for nursing research, practice, education, and/or leadership.

In this Assignment, you complete a concept analysis for the primary concept in your theoretical foundation for research. You will post a draft of your concept analysis paper in the Week 4 Discussion forum by Day 3 of next week in order to exchange feedback with your colleagues. You will have the opportunity to integrate this feedback prior to submitting your paper by Day 7 of Week 4.

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NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Week 4: Concept Analysis

Evan was excited to investigate the phenomenon of interest he had identified: Patient satisfaction after outpatient surgery. He selected “satisfaction” as his primary concept and began conducting a concept analysis. He thought it would be fairly straightforward—that is, until he began searching literature and considering how the term is used by different disciplines and in various settings. He started to debate how “satisfaction” should be defined; even the dictionary definitions raised questions. In one sense, “satisfaction” means contentment, pleasure, gratification, enjoyment, or happiness; in a different sense, it indicates the fulfillment of an obligation or claim. All these seemed to have some degree of application to his phenomenon of interest. His concept analysis was eliciting more questions than answers at this point.

This week, you deepen and refine the concept analysis you began working on last week. In the Discussion, you and your colleagues review each other’s concept analysis paper drafts. You may integrate the feedback you receive from colleagues and hone your concept analysis prior to submitting your paper by Day 7.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Apply concept analysis methods to selected concepts
  • Explain effects of concept analyses on concept perceptions
  • Evaluate strengths and limitations of concept analyses

In Week 3, you viewed instructions for conducting your concept analysis and drafting a paper to convey the results of your analysis. For this Discussion, your Instructor has assigned you to a small group; you will review your small-group colleagues’ paper drafts and exchange feedback.

This type of collaboration can be highly beneficial as you complete a concept analysis. For instance, it can expose misunderstandings about the meaning of your selected concept and help you discover new ways of expressing the defining attributes of the concept.

You and your colleagues may use the feedback to improve your concept analysis prior to submitting your paper by Day 7 of this week.

To prepare
  • Review the instructions for the Week 3 Assignment and complete a draft of your concept analysis paper as indicated.

By Day 3

Go to the Groups area of the course navigation menu, continue to your specific group area, and post a draft of your concept analysis paper.

Read your small-group colleagues’ postings.

By Day 6

Respond to all of your small-group colleagues as follows:

  • Evaluate strengths and limitations of the concept analysis.
  • Provide concrete examples of specific choices (e.g., sources, sentences) and their impacts (e.g., questions you have, possible interpretations).
  • Offer specific suggestions to help your colleague refine his/her work.

In addition, you may respond in one or more of the following ways:

  • Share an insight from having read your colleagues’ postings, synthesizing the information to provide new perspectives.
  • Validate an idea with your own experience and additional research.

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NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Week 5: Conceptual Relationships and Assumptions

Concepts in themselves are only useful to describe a phenomenon. They do not provide for explanation, prediction, or prescription or control. It is only when the concepts are connected to each other through relational statements that we have the possibility of a hypothesis or a theory.

—Walker and Avant, 2011, p. 114

In the Week 3 Introduction, you considered the metaphor of a house, which is often used to represent the theoretical foundation for a program of research. How do the building blocks (concepts) of the theoretical foundation for your research fit together to form a solid yet distinctive structure?

This week, you examine how concepts link together in your theoretical foundation. In the Discussion, you begin to articulate the relationships between concepts in your theoretical foundation for a program of research. In addition, you consider the potential impact of assumptions on research. As you develop your theoretical foundation, you also examine nursing’s metaparadigm and consider how it relates to your work.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Evaluate conceptual relationships
  • Analyze research assumptions
  • Apply nursing’s metaparadigm to the theoretical foundation for research

In Weeks 3 and 4, you conducted a concept analysis. As Walker and Avant (2011) explain, “concepts allow us to classify our experiences in a meaningful way both to ourselves and others….The ability to express a relationship between two or more concepts is even more useful and efficient” (p. 59). In this Discussion, you create statements about the relationships between two or more concepts, which are critical for developing your theoretical foundation for a program of research.

In this Discussion, you also examine assumptions that may influence your program of research. Assumptions are another type of statement; these statements are considered true, even when they have not been tested. They often go unrecognized because they are deeply embedded in thinking and behavior, so it is important to engage in critical reflection to identify them.

In addition, during this Discussion you consider how nursing’s metaparadigm relates to the theoretical foundation you are developing.

To prepare
  • Continue to review the literature that features concepts related to your phenomenon of interest. As you read each article, consider the relationships between and among concepts. Also identify assumptions that are implicit or explicit in the research.
  • Select one article from your literature review and apply the seven steps of statement analysis that Walker and Avant (2011) present in Chapter 11 of their text. What insights does this give you about the relationships described in the article, as well as for your own work?
  • Think more deeply about the conceptual relationships that may distinguish the theoretical foundation for your future program of research. Also, analyze assumptions that may influence your research (McEwen and Wills, 2019, p. 81).
  • Review the information on nursing’s metaparadigm in McEwen and Wills (2019, pp. 41–45). Consider how the metaparadigm concepts of patient, health, nurse, and environment relate to your theoretical foundation.

By Day 3

Post a synopsis of an article that features conceptual relationships related to your phenomenon of interest, and explain the insights you gained by applying Walker and Avant’s steps for statement analysis. Compare the information in the article with your current thinking about your own theoretical foundation for research, including relationships between and among concepts, and assumptions. Describe implications of nursing’s metaparadigm for your theoretical foundation.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.

By Day 6

Respond to at least two of your colleagues in one or more of the following ways:

  • Explain whether conceptual relationships are clearly described and are logical, and provide suggestions for improvement as applicable.
  • Analyze additional assumptions related to the selected concept based on your own experiences or additional research.
  • Describe additional implications for the theoretical foundation related to nursing’s metaparadigm.

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NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Week 6: Framework/Theory Analysis and Evaluation

Theory is usually constructed to express a unique, unifying idea about a phenomenon that answers previously unanswered questions and provides new insights into the nature of the phenomenon. A theory attempts to establish a parsimonious, precise example, or model, of the real world or the world as it is experienced. Thus, theory is defined as a set of interrelated relational statements about a phenomenon that is useful for description, explanation, prediction and prescription or control.

—Walker and Avant, 2011, p. 193

In Week 5, you examined relationships between and among concepts related to your phenomenon of interest. Both frameworks and theories relate concepts together in a meaningful way, although as you explored at the beginning of this course, theories exist further along a continuum of describing, explaining, predicting, and controlling a phenomenon.

In this week’s Discussion, you examine more closely the distinctions between frameworks and theories. You search the literature related to your phenomenon of interest, analyze existing frameworks or theories, and evaluate each framework/theory for the purposes of your theoretical foundation. In the Assignment, you begin to write a partial draft of a paper describing your theoretical foundation for research, which is due by Day 7 of Week 7.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Distinguish frameworks from theories
  • Analyze strengths of frameworks/theories
  • Analyze weaknesses of frameworks/theories
  • Evaluate the applicability of frameworks/theories to phenomena of interest
  • Apply analytic methods to the development of theoretical foundations for research

Theory analysis is particularly helpful in research because it provides a clear idea of the form and structure of the theory in addition to the relevance of content, and inconsistencies and gaps present. The ‘missing links’ or inconsistencies are fruitful sources of new research ideas. They also point to the next hypotheses that need to be tested.

—Walker and Avant, 2011, p. 206

Nurse scientists often find that examining the literature is a productive way to see how existing frameworks and theories have been applied in other research studies. By engaging in this process, they may gain insights about a particular framework or theory, be able to identify gaps in research, or uncover new questions they are eager to explore.

In this Discussion, you analyze existing frameworks/theories using the procedure proposed by Walker and Avant. Your analysis should provide an objective understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each framework or theory. This, in turn, should enable you to evaluate whether the framework/theory is useful for the purposes of your theoretical foundation for a program of research.

To prepare

  • Review the information that Dr. Hathaway presents in the Week 1 media program, “Theoretical Foundation for Research,” regarding the phases of theory development and the similarities and differences between frameworks and theories.
  • Search the literature and identify two frameworks/theories that may be useful for investigating your phenomenon of interest.
  • Review the procedure for theory analysis presented in Chapter 12 of Walker and Avant (2011). Apply these steps to each framework/theory you have selected and identify the strengths and weaknesses of each framework/theory. Determine whether additional development or refinement is needed (i.e., for each framework, identify which aspects would require further research in order for it to meet the requirements of a theory).
  • Evaluate the value of each framework/theory for addressing your phenomenon. Determine which framework/theory has the most potential for use as part of your theoretical foundation of your research.
  • Think about any questions you have related to theory analysis and evaluation.

By Day 3

Post a description of the two frameworks/theories you analyzed and evaluated, and explain why each is considered either a framework or a theory. For framework(s) you have selected, explain which aspects would require further research to meet the requirements of a theory. Explain why one has the most potential for use in your theoretical foundation for research, noting its strengths and weaknesses. Also pose any questions that have arisen through your examination of frameworks/theories.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.

By Day 6

Respond to at least two of your colleagues in one or more of the following ways:

  • Share an insight from having read your colleagues’ postings, synthesizing the information to provide new perspectives.
  • Validate an idea with your own experience and additional research.
  • Make a suggestion based on additional evidence drawn from readings or after synthesizing multiple postings.
  • Expand on your colleagues’ postings by providing additional insights or contrasting perspectives based on readings and evidence.

Assignment: Theoretical Foundation Paper: Partial Draft

Throughout this course, you have been investigating a phenomenon of interest and developing elements of a theoretical foundation for a program of research. In Weeks 3 and 4, you analyzed one or more concepts related to your phenomenon of interest; in Week 5, you examined the relationships between and among concepts; and this week (Week 6), you analyzed and evaluated existing frameworks and/or theories that may be useful for your research purposes.

For this Assignment, you begin to draft a paper presenting your theoretical foundation. As you commence this process, you will likely discover that you need to delve deeper into the literature, discuss your work with colleagues, and refine your initial ideas. You are encouraged to take the time you need to fully engage in the iterative process of developing your theoretical foundation.

In subsequent weeks of the course, you will continue to build your theoretical foundation and refine the partial draft of your paper. You will have received feedback from your Instructor on this partial draft and have additional time to produce the final version of your paper later in the course.

To prepare
  • Review the Learning Resources and the work you have completed in each week of this course thus far.
  • Begin writing a draft of your paper to address the following:
    • Identify your phenomenon of interest.
    • Define concepts and identify attributes, antecedents, and consequences.
    • Describe conceptual relationships.
    • Identify assumptions that may be embedded in your research.
    • Describe how an existing framework or theory could inform your work. Explain how the framework/theory originated and what modifications you may need to make for it to be useful for your research.

Note: In Week 7, you will begin to develop research questions or hypotheses, which will be incorporated into this Assignment.

Your Theoretical Foundation Paper: Partial Draft is due by Day 7 of Week 7 (next week).

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NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Week 7: Research Questions and Hypotheses

Many children begin to develop informal “hypotheses” at an early age. “If I jump off this step, I can reach the toy on that shelf!” a toddler might predict. Or, “If I cry, mom will give me attention.”

Naturally, nursing science involves a more rigorous process for developing research questions or hypotheses. When you selected your phenomenon of interest, you may have had a question or two in mind—and then realized as you began building your theoretical foundation that there are many particulars to consider as you develop your research questions or hypotheses. Often, however, viewing your phenomenon with child-like wonder can add renewed energy to the process of developing your theoretical foundation for research.

This week, you develop research questions or hypotheses as part of your theoretical foundation for research. As you do this, bear in mind that such decisions are typically informed by research theory, design, and methods (addressed in other courses in your PhD program).

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Construct research questions or hypotheses
  • Apply analytic methods to development of theoretical foundations for research*

* This Learning Objective was introduced in Week 6 Assignment, which is due this week.

Is social support correlated with HIV infection rates in Sub-Saharan Africa?

If nurses participate in leadership organizations, are they more likely to advocate for state-level policy changes?

Exposure to pet therapy decreases the perception of pain in patients who are terminally ill with cancer.

Is limited English proficiency a barrier to the adoption of the new information technology system by Newbury Clinic personnel?

For each item above, consider the following:

  • Is it a research question or hypothesis? Why do you think so?
  • Which elements of a theoretical foundation for research are evident in the research question/hypothesis?
  • Would the research question/hypothesis be reasonable and appropriate for dissertation research or a similar program of research? If not, what modifications would you suggest?
  • Is it written clearly and effectively for the purposes of research? Why or why not?
  • If a nurse scientist were to address this research question/hypothesis, how would it further nursing’s body of knowledge and promote positive social change?

Examination of a variety of research questions and hypotheses can help you think creatively and analytically about your phenomenon of interest and the program of research you wish to pursue. In this Discussion, you develop research questions or hypotheses that you may be able to use to study your phenomenon of interest. You also provide feedback to your colleagues to help them strengthen their own research questions or hypotheses.

To prepare

  • Review the Learning Resources, including the information that Dr. Hathaway’s presents in the media program, “Research Questions and Hypotheses.”
  • Review the framework or theory that you identified in the Week 6 Discussion as having the most potential for use in your theoretical foundation for research. Using this framework or theory, think of potential research questions or hypotheses that you may use to study your phenomenon.
  • In addition, try other strategies that may help you develop useful research questions or hypotheses. For example:
    • Reexamine the literature related to your phenomenon of interest.
    • Review the questions and comments you noted as you analyzed concepts and conceptual relationships in previous weeks of this course.
    • Reflect on your firsthand observations of this phenomenon.

By Day 3

Post one or more research questions or hypotheses. Provide your rationale for selecting each question/hypothesis, explaining why it may be beneficial for studying your phenomenon of interest.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.

By Day 6

Respond to at least two of your colleagues, posing questions and providing recommendations to help him/her refine the research questions/hypotheses.

Assignment: Theoretical Foundation for Research Paper: Partial Draft

Writing and rewriting are a constant search for what it is one is saying.

—John Updike, American author (Kellogg, 1994, p. 25)

The partial draft of your Theoretical Foundation for Research Paper is due by Day 7 this week. You will receive feedback from your Instructor on your partial draft to help you revise your work prior to submitting a full, final version of your paper by Day 7 of Week 10.

To prepare

  • Continue to work on the partial draft of your paper. As a reminder from Week 6, address the following:
    • Identify your phenomenon of interest.
    • Define concepts and identify attributes, antecedents, and consequences.
    • Describe conceptual relationships.
    • Identify assumptions that may be embedded in your research.
    • Describe how an existing framework or theory could inform your work. Explain how the framework/theory originated and what modifications you may need to make for it to be useful for your research.
  • Incorporate one or more research questions or hypotheses.

To complete

  • Ensure that the partial

    draft of your paper is clear, cohesive, and addresses the requirements listed above.

By Day 7

Submit your Assignment.

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NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Week 8: Graphic Models

As you have seen in the Learning Resources assigned throughout this course, there are a variety of ways to develop and express a theoretical foundation for research. Depicting the elements of your foundation visually can be just as effective as—and, at times, even more impactful than—conveying the information through written narrative.

As a nurse scientist, using a visual medium to articulate your ideas could help you realize that you need to reexamine a conceptual relationship. Or, it could spark the development of a new research question or hypothesis. Creating a graphic model can also help you spot inconsistencies in your theoretical foundation that need to be rectified. In addition, a well-crafted graphic model can enable your target audience to quickly and easily understand the rationale for your proposed program of research.

This week, you develop a graphic model and share it with your colleagues in the Discussion. You then integrate your graphic model into your Theoretical Foundation for Research Paper, which is due in Week 10 and serves as the Major Assessment for this course.

Learning Objectives
Students will:

  • Construct graphic models to convey theoretical underpinnings of research
  • Analyze graphic depictions of theoretical foundations for research
  • Apply analytic methods to the development of theoretical foundations for research

In the Week 5 media program, “Conceptual Relationships and Assumptions,” Dr. Hathaway shares a visual representation of her work, which is relatively linear and features unidirectional arrows to show the relationships between concepts. She explains that in other sources, you will often see graphic models using circles, curvy lines, and other markings to show different associations.

Indeed, Kilpatrick, Lavoie-Tremblay, Lamothe, Ritchie, and Doran (2013), use the imagery of a set of Russian nesting dolls (known as the Matryoshka doll) to illustrate a complex set of interactions and activities that are embedded within one another. The other articles in this week’s Learning Resources present varying examples to demonstrate how you may visually portray the elements of your theoretical foundation for research.

For this Discussion, you create and post a graphic model depicting your theoretical foundation for research. Your colleagues will offer interpretations of your model to help you identify sources of confusion that need to be addressed.

To prepare
  • Review the elements you have been developing throughout this course. Consider the following:
    • How would you show the relationships between and among major concepts? For example, how would you illustrate antecedents and consequences?
    • Is there some aspect of the existing framework/theory you selected in Week 6 that you would like to incorporate in your graphic model? If so, what modifications would you make for it to be appropriate for your research purposes?
    • How would you use your graphic model to support and/or express your research questions or hypotheses?
  • Create a graphic model of the theoretical foundation for your research. Your model may include pictures, symbols, and words or short phrases.

Note: Per the Assignment instructions, you may include narrative to accompany your graphic model in your Theoretical Foundation for Research Paper (which is due by Day 7 of Week 10). However, for this Discussion, share only your graphic representation. Your colleagues should view your graphic model without the narrative and share their interpretations of your visual representation to help you identify potential sources of confusion.

By Day 3

Post your graphic model.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.

By Day 5

Respond to at least two of your colleagues, conveying your interpretation of each colleague’s model. (Respond to at least one colleague who has not yet received a response.)

By Day 7

Respond to each interpretation of your model by clarifying misconceptions and expanding upon the graphic presented. (For the Assignment, you should make adjustments to your model to address these misconceptions.)

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NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Week 9: Refinement of the Theoretical Foundation for Research

By this point in the course, you have developed each of the elements of your theoretical foundation for research. Yet, the development of a theoretical foundation is a highly iterative process that requires critical thinking, reflection, and creativity, which often leads to reappraisal and revision.

This week, take time to assess the entirety of your work on your theoretical foundation for research. Ask yourself incisive questions, such as:

  • Which aspects of my theoretical foundation may not be feasible for dissertation research or a similar program of research?
  • What could I rule out or adapt in my foundation to make my future research more manageable?
  • Do I need to consult additional sources in the literature to strengthen my theoretical foundation?
  • Are there places where I am stuck? If so, would it help to brainstorm ideas with colleagues?
  • Are there inconsistencies in my work that need to be addressed?
  • Is my work coherent, integrated, focused, and cogent? How can I improve it?

There are no required Learning Resources this week so that you can focus on refining your theoretical foundation for research. You are encouraged to contribute to this week’s optional Discussion as you improve your work. The Assignment: Theoretical Foundation for Research Paper is due by Day 7 of Week 10.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Apply analytic methods to the development of theoretical foundations for research

Cassandra felt a huge sense of relief as she saw all of the elements of her theoretical foundation come together. She had invested a lot of time and energy into understanding her selected phenomenon and she was confident that she was on her way to developing a strong program of research. She was happy to set aside the work and enjoy some much-needed rest. When she looked at the partial draft of her paper again a few days later, she was surprised to notice a significant inconsistency in how she defined one of the concepts. With fresh eyes, she was able to discover something she had been overlooking for weeks! Now, it seemed like she would need to start at the beginning again to clarify the meaning of this concept.

Since Eduardo first began developing his theoretical foundation for research, a small, quiet voice had been nagging for his attention. He thought that he would understand certain aspects of his phenomenon better by now, and it bothered him that parts of his foundation still did not seem to work together. On the one hand, he reassured himself that his theoretical foundation was probably good enough for now and his confusion was due to his inexperience with the whole research process. On the other hand, he wondered if his doubts could mean that his theoretical foundation was missing something critical. He wasn’t sure what to do.

As Taylor thought more deeply about her theoretical foundation, she wondered if she was using the right symbols to convey the information as she intended. She had already revised her graphic model a number of times, and she still wasn’t sure if it made sense. Finally, she realized that she really needed others’ input, because even if it did seem logical to her, it might not be clear to others who were less familiar with her phenomenon of interest.

What questions or concerns have you encountered while developing your theoretical foundation for research? What kind of feedback would you like to receive from your colleagues as you refine your work?

In this Discussion, you have the opportunity to share your dilemmas and request support to help you hone your theoretical foundation for research. In addition, you can offer ideas and encouragement to your colleagues.

By Day 3

Post questions and/or describe difficulties you have encountered while developing your theoretical foundation for research. Ask for feedback or support from your colleagues to help you to refine your work.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.

By Day 6

Respond to at least two of your colleagues by offering constructive feedback, suggestions, and encouragement. Justify your responses with scholarly sources.

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NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Week 10: Progression and Implications of the Theoretical Foundation for Research

This week marks a turning point in the course, as you finalize your theoretical foundation for research paper and create a presentation to highlight your work. In this week’s Discussion, you reflect on how your theoretical foundation has changed since the beginning of the course and consider how it may continue to evolve as you advance through your PhD program. In addition, you examine potential implications of this work for your current or future role in nursing research, practice, education, or leadership. Your Theoretical Foundation for Research Paper and Presentation are both due by Day 7 of this week.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Analyze development of theoretical underpinnings of research
  • Assess potential implications of theoretical foundations for roles in nursing research, practice, education, or leadership
  • Apply analytic methods to the development of theoretical foundations for research
  • Apply scholarly communication skills to the creation of presentations

The more you know, the more you don’t know. I often tell people I was never as smart and wise as I was the day I graduated from my baccalaureate-nursing program. Over the years, I’ve just discovered there’s more and more I don’t know. But that’s the exciting thing. You know, there’s so much out there to learn, so much to look at, so much to investigate, so much to understand. So enjoy that process.

—Dr. Donna Hathaway (Laureate Education, 2014d)

As a doctoral student, you may find yourself marveling at an insight that arises as you read an intriguing journal article, discuss a challenging topic with colleagues, listen to an Instructor’s story, or notice something different in a practice you have observed many times before. At other times, you may feel stuck or even convinced that you are somehow moving backwards on your journey toward earning your PhD.

Rest assured, both successes and challenges provide opportunities for you to grow as a scholar-practitioner. In this Discussion, you consider how your theoretical foundation for research has evolved and is likely to progress as you continue in this doctoral program. You also consider potential implications of this work for nursing research, practice, education, or leadership.

To prepare

  • Reflect on the information presented during this course and the process you have engaged in to develop your theoretical foundation for research. How has your initial thinking evolved since you first identified your phenomenon of interest? What insights have been surprising or have significantly influenced your theoretical foundation for research?
  • Next, think about the upcoming courses in your doctoral program of study. What would you most like to investigate or become more skilled at, and how could this benefit your program of research?
  • Think about the potential implications of your work in this course for a role related to nursing research, practice, education, or leadership that you currently hold or would like to hold in the future.

By Day 3

Post an analysis of how the elements of your theoretical foundation for research have evolved since you first identified your phenomenon of interest. Also, explain what you would most like to explore or learn to benefit your program of research as you move forward in your program of study. Describe one or more potential implications of this work for your current or desired role in nursing research, practice, education, or leadership.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.

By Day 6

Respond to at least two of your colleagues in one or more of the following ways:

  • Share an insight from having read your colleagues’ postings, synthesizing the information to provide new perspectives.
  • Validate an idea with your own experience and additional research.
  • Make a suggestion based on additional evidence drawn from readings or after synthesizing multiple postings.
  • Expand on your colleagues’ postings by providing additional insights or contrasting perspectives based on readings and evidence.

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NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Week 11: Theoretical Foundation for Research Presentations

It is simply impossible to become a great leader without becoming a great communicator.

—Mike Myatt, Forbes (2012)

Your expertise as a nurse scientist can be a tremendous asset whether you seek to influence policymaking, shape education, manage healthcare initiatives, raise funds for a program of research, or engage in other endeavors. Yet, to achieve your aims as a scholar-practitioner in nursing, you must be able to communicate effectively with differing audiences. Throughout your doctoral program, you will apply the techniques that successful leaders use to express their ideas, learn from others, and engage in the level of discourse necessary to produce positive social change.

In Week 10, you created a presentation of your theoretical foundation for research. This week, as you share your presentation with colleagues in the Discussion, think about why you need to be able to communicate with others about your research. Also consider why it is important to both offer encouragement and ask probing questions as you build a community of scholarly support.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Evaluate presentations of theoretical foundations for research

NURS 8250/NURS 8250N Entire Course Weekly Discussions And Assignments

Discussion 1: Theoretical Foundation for Research Presentations

In Week 10, you viewed instructions for creating and sharing a presentation of your theoretical foundation for research. You have been assigned to a small group so you can view some of your colleagues’ presentations. In this Discussion, you and your small-group colleagues will apply the analytic skills you have been developing in this course to evaluate each other’s presentations. You are encouraged to engage in scholarly dialogue to strengthen the foundation for your dissertation research, or another program of research you may pursue in the future.

Note: If you wish to share your presentation with the entire class, you may post your presentation in the Discussion 2 forum. Use the graded Discussion forum in the Groups area of the course navigation menu to respond only to your assigned small-group colleagues.

To prepare
  • As you view each of your small-group colleagues’ presentations, consider the following questions:
    • Is the theoretical foundation logical and appropriate for the phenomenon?
    • Are all of the essential elements included so that you have a clear understanding of your colleague’s work? If not, where are the gaps in information?
    • Are there any inconsistencies as you examine the theoretical foundation elements?
    • How effectively does the presenter support his or her work?
    • Is the presentation visually appealing? Is the narration easy to understand? Does the work reflect a scholarly presentation style?
    • In summary, what are the strengths of the presentation? What would you recommend your colleague improve upon?
    • What questions do you have about your colleagues’ theoretical foundation and potential program of research? What would you like to learn more about?

By Day 3

Post your evaluation of your small-group colleagues’ presentations, including strengths and recommendations for improvement. Pose questions and/or share insights to promote scholarly dialogue and support the development of each colleague’s future program of research.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.

By Day 6

Respond to each of your small-group colleagues, sharing insights you gained by viewing the presentations and exchanging feedback. In addition, offer encouragement for the continuing journey toward earning a PhD.

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