Three philosophical approaches to the study of spirituality

Susan T. Tinley, Anita Y. Kinney

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Since the turn of the century, there has been an expanded interest in the place that spirituality has in nursing practice, education, and research. The purpose of this article is to examine the study of spirituality from the perspective of 3 philosophical paradigms: empiricism, interpretivism, and poststructuralism. The strengths and weaknesses of the paradigms are identified through a review of an exemplar article for each. Each paradigm provides a unique approach to the development of knowledge, and thus makes its own contribution to the understanding of spirituality. It is the researcher's responsibility to identify the appropriate paradigm for the question.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-80
Number of pages10
JournalAdvances in Nursing Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nursing(all)


  • Empiricism
  • Interpretivism
  • Nursing
  • Philosophical paradigm
  • Post-structuralism
  • Qualitative
  • Research
  • Spirituality

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