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Philosophy of Science and the Development of Nursing Knowledge

Fall 2000

Revised 10/02/00


Course Instructor:††††††† Doris Greiner, PhD, RN, CS

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 5034 McLeod Hall

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (804) 924-0099 (Office)

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (804) 823-6902 (Home)


Course Description:


This course is designed to deepen students' understanding of the nature of knowledge in general and of nursing knowledge in particular.It examines various approaches to knowledge and science as they have evolved over time and explores ontological and epistemological implications for the development of nursing knowledge.The course considers various strategies of concept and theory development and evaluation.It is a 3-credit course.


Course Objectives:


1.†††††††† To become familiar with some historical and contemporary debates about knowledge development, with particular attention to their relevance for the discipline of nursing.


2.†††††††† To acquire some particular skills associated with critical reading, critical thinking and concept analysis.


3.†††††††† To apply philosophical perspectives to evolving theory development in nursing.


4.†††††††† To consider criteria for theory development and evaluation.


Course Requirements:


1.†††††††† The class is a seminar.Consequently attendance and participation in classroom discussion comprise an important part of evaluation (20%).


2.†††††††† Written and oral assignments are given throughout the semester (40%).


3.†††††††† A concept development paper (approximately 20 pp) is due 12/6/2000.Peer evaluation of papers is included in this assignment (40%).




        All readings not included in the required books will be available on the course web page:

        The following books have been ordered at the Student Bookstore on the Corner and Newcomb Hall:




Kuhn, T.(1970)Structure of scientific revolutions (2nd ed).Chicago:University of Chicago Press.

Omery, A., Kasper, C. E., & Page, G. G.(1995).In search of nursing science.Sage Publications.

Polifroni, E. C., & Welch, M.(1999).Perspectives on philosophy of science in nursing:An historical and contemporary anthology.Lippincott.

Rodgers, B. L., & Knafl, K. A..(2000).Concept development in nursing:Foundations, techniques, and applications.W.B. Saunders Co.




Meleis, A. I.(1997).Theoretical nursing:Development and progress, (3rd ed).J.B. Lippincott.

††††††††††† Scruton, R.(1996).An intelligent personís guide to philosophy.New York:Penguin Press.


Course Home Page|Class Readings|Written Assignments|Concept Paper Review Assignments