Criteria for concept evaluation

J Adv Nurs. 1996 Aug;24(2):385-90. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.1996.18022.x.


One of the roles of qualitative enquiry is the utilization of qualitative methods for the development, refinement or modification of concepts. Yet, to date, there are no criteria for evaluating the adequacy of a concept. In this paper, the anatomy of a concept is presented, methods of concept analysis critiqued, and criteria for evaluation of the level of maturity of a concept suggested. Evaluation of criteria include assessment of: the definition of the concept, the characteristics of the concept, the conceptual preconditions and outcomes, and the conceptual boundaries. The authors argue that evaluation of a concept must necessarily precede concept development research (using a Wilsonian-derived method, a critical analysis of the literature, or qualitative enquiry) and precede more formal research procedures (such as operationalization or identification of the variables).

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Concept Formation*
  • Humans
  • Nursing Evaluation Research / methods*
  • Nursing Evaluation Research / standards
  • Role