Theoretical and conceptual framework founded in caring sciences (DHV320)

Course description for study year 2024-2025


Course code




Credits (ECTS)


Semester tution start


Number of semesters


Exam semester


Language of instruction



The aim of the course is to provide insight into the importance of conceptual clarity and a theoretical framework to quality assurance and evidence during the research process and theory development. Theoretical, conceptual and philosophical foundations for research will be studied from a caring science perspective, and conceptual clarity and a theoretical framework will therefore be developed for the individual research practice and design. The conceptual clarity and theoretical framework for the individual research project will be created by studying, reviewing and evaluating various theory models, current research trends and conceptual definitions in relation to various caring science traditions from a Nordic and international perspective. The central concepts in the individual research practice are linked to the core concepts, namely ethics, human being, health, suffering, caring and reality. The course provides an overview of key theories and concepts in caring science/s as well as their application in a theoretical framework that takes a broad approach in relation to various caring professions and multidisciplinary research.

Learning outcome

A doctoral student that has completed and passed the course will have the following learning outcomes:


  • in-depth knowledge of selected theoretical, philosophical and conceptual foundations for research and theory development;
  • in-depth knowledge of caring science as science discipline and the core concepts from a Nordic and international perspective;
  • in-depth knowledge of identifying, analysing and critically examining theoretical foundations and central concepts in relation an individually developed research topic and design from a caring science perspective:
  • in-depth knowledge concerning the evaluation of research in terms of quality, evidence and sustainability;
  • the knowledge to evaluate the relevance of individual research in relation to the profession, practice and clinical activities.


  • the ability to evaluate, account for and justify in an exploratory way any prior theoretical foundations and the use of concepts both in general and in relation to the individual research topic from caring science perspective;
  • the ability to critically examine, analyse and evaluate literature, dissertations and research articles with the view to construct a theoretical framework and define central concepts in relation to the individual research topic from caring science perspective;
  • the ability to argue in a reflective and contrastive way for a selected theoretical framework and central concepts in relation to the individual research topic and research design:
  • the ability to reflect on the quality of research, evidence and opportunities to apply research results in different professions and contexts.

By the end of the course, the PhD candidate will be able to:

  • describe, reflect and argue for choices with nuance and participate in scientific discussions regarding theoretical and conceptual starting points for scientific research;
  • work independently and prepare scientific texts and academic writing;
  • actively participate in a scientific dialogue and present arguments in relation to the choice of theoretical starting points and selected concepts.

Required prerequisite knowledge

Master’s level within Health Sciences, Caring Science, Nursing Science, Medical Science, Social Science or similar education.


Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Individual paper 1/1 Passed / Not Passed

An individual paper of 5000 words (+/- 10%) in English on a self-chosen topic approved by the instructor and derived from the PhD candidate’s on-going PhD project is required. The paper must take the form of a contribution to the general and self-selected literature (approx. 500 pages). The paper must also be inspired by different aspects of theoretical, philosophical and conceptual foundations for research and theory development. Furthermore, the doctoral student must illuminate and argue for a selected theoretical framework and central concepts in relation to the individual PhD topic and project. A draft of the course paper must be submitted one week ahead of the second seminar, where a presentation of the paper will be given. The paper must follow the rules for scientific writing and the selected reference system. A final version must be submitted within six weeks of the end of the course, to be evaluated as Pass/Fail.

Coursework requirements

The course will interrelate lectures, self-study and dialogues. The participants will contribute individually in dialogues and presentations towards a mutual understanding of the learning outcomes. Active participation in lectures and dialogues is required. Self-study includes a literature search and the reading of scientific literature and articles. Lectures and dialogues will take place during teaching days in October and seminars in December. Attendance during the teaching days and seminars is mandatory, and compensation is required for any absence from compulsory learning activities. The form of compensation should be discussed with the course coordinator.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator:

Linda Susanne Nyholm

Course coordinator:

Camilla Ann-Louise Koskinen

Open for

PhD candidates enrolled in PhD programmes at the University of Stavanger (Faculty of Social Sciences and Faculty of Health Sciences) or accredited universities/university colleges in Norway or abroad.

Course assessment

There must be an early dialogue between the course supervisor, the student union representative and the students. The purpose is feedback from the students for changes and adjustments in the course for the current semester.In addition, a digital subject evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.


The syllabus can be found in Leganto