Understanding paradigms used for nursing researchNursing Theories & Theorists: An Ultimate Guide for Nurses...What are nursing theories?

The paper's aim is to add clarity to the discussion about paradigms for nursing research and to consider innovative strategies for the development of nursing knowledge.

There are sets of beliefs and practices shared by communities of researchers.The various paradigms have different approaches to research and their contribution towards knowledge construction.One paradigm is incommensurable with another.Researchers may ignore the differences and combine the paradigms they don't need to conduct needed research.There is a need for a critical, integrated understanding of the paradigms used for nursing inquiry to develop nursing knowledge for use in practice.

We describe the evolution and influence of research methodologies.We compare and contrast the paradigms in terms of their scientific contribution.

The synthesis of cumulative knowledge relevant to nursing practice is suggested as a pragmatic approach to theory development.Assessment of existing knowledge from disparate studies is needed to identify key substantive content and gaps.In under-researched areas, knowledge development could be accomplished through strategies that preserve theoretical integrity and strengthen research approaches.The strategies include parallel studies within the same substantive domain using different paradigms, theoretical triangulation to combine findings from paradigmatically diverse studies, and mixed method studies.

The benefits and limitations of inquiry within each paradigm should be considered by nurse scholars.