How do Korean nursing students build knowledge? A constructivist grounded theory study

Jae Jung Lee, Charlotte Clarke, Maggie N Carson, Sook Ching Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Nursing is a knowledge-intensive profession. Therefore, to cope with the demands of the nursing role, nursing students need to become competent in managing information to build nursing knowledge.However, nursing students’ knowledge building process is poorly understood. This research aimed to explore(1) nursing students’ dynamics of how they process nursing information for knowledge building and (2)nursing students’ learning context in South Korea for their knowledge building.

Methods: A constructivist grounded theory approach was used for this research. Data collection was achieved through four rounds of intensive individual and group interviews with 16 fourth year nursing students in South Korea. The collected data were coded by initial, focused and theoretical coding methods. Constant comparison analysis between data, codes, memos and categories was applied.

Results: This research identified knowledge building dynamics consisting of three cognitive processes:connecting with information, deciding to accept information and building knowledge. Five motivational factors, including learners’ interest, necessity of information, volition to learn, utility of information and the frequency of information that influence the processes were discovered. Moreover, four knowledge stages of memorising, understanding, synthesising and applying and creating emerged.

Conclusions: This is the first empirical study on knowledge building dynamics in educational environments for healthcare professionals. The findings of this research provide nursing educators with a practical model that can be used to improve nursing curricula in facilitating students’ knowledge building processes. Moreover, a deeper understanding of sociocultural influences on nursing education can assist educators to adapt and generalise the findings to their pedagogical contexts,providing a culturally sensitive and relevant approach to nursing education.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere022050
Pages (from-to)1-10
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number7
Early online date23 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


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