Vol. 16 No. 1 (2012): Revista Científica Pensar Enfermagem
Original Articles

What is the focus of study of doctoral thesis in Nursing in Portuguese Universities? an analysis of abstracts

Marta Lima Basto
Unidade de Investigação & Desenvolvimento em Enfermagem

Published 2012-06-30


  • knowledge transfer,
  • nursing concepts,
  • nursing phenomena,
  • outcomes of nursing reseach,
  • PhD in Nursing

How to Cite

Lima Basto, M. (2012). What is the focus of study of doctoral thesis in Nursing in Portuguese Universities? an analysis of abstracts. Pensar Enfermagem, 16(1), 2–25. https://doi.org/10.56732/pensarenf.v16i1.60


The aim of the present study was to identify the object of study of doctoral theses in nursing in Portugal, justified by this qualification having been offered for ten years. The guiding concept of nursing care is inspired in Meleis (2010) as well as a matrix formed by two axes – transitions along the life span and caring dimensions. Out of 64 doctoral theses, completed between 2002 and 2011, 60 abstracts were analysed, through a descriptive study, using statistical analysis to characterise the theses and discourse analysis to identify central concepts, studied phenomena, outcomes and implications as well as reflection by a focus group formed by nurses concerning the theses’ contribution to the discipline and to the care practices.The theses analysis showed that the inductive paradigm was preferred (55%) for the study of various areas, the most frequent being clinical (75%). A variety of methods were chosen, grounded theory and interpretative description being the most used. Central concepts were categorised most frequently as “transition”, “nurse-client relationship” and “nursing interventions”. Phenomena were categorised as: body
functioning/self care in persons in transition; life styles and environment (physical, social and therapeutic) in people in transition, disease, and lost of capacity prevention of persons, groups or communities in transition, treatment of acute and chronic conditions of persons in transition. Theses outcomes confirmed the efficacy of care on clients and the client-nurse team. The main conclusion of the present study, apart the characterisation of theses by Portuguese nurses, is the use of a specific conceptual framework to analyse nursing research, considering it to be in an initial phase of development.


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