Understanding context: A concept analysis Academic Article uri icon

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  • AIMS: To conduct a concept analysis of clinical practice contexts (work environments) in health care. BACKGROUND: Context is increasingly recognized as important to the development, delivery, and understanding of implementation strategies; however, conceptual clarity about what comprises context is lacking. DESIGN: Modified Walker and Avant concept analysis comprised of five steps: (1) concept selection; (2) determination of aims; (3) identification of uses of context; (4) determination of its defining attributes; and (5) definition of its empirical referents. METHODS: A wide range of databases were systematically searched from inception to August 2014. Empirical articles were included if a definition and/or attributes of context were reported. Theoretical articles were included if they reported a model, theory, or framework of context or where context was a component. Double independent screening and data extraction were conducted. Analysis was iterative, involving organizing and reorganizing until a framework of domains, attributes. and features of context emerged. RESULT: We identified 15,972 references, of which 70 satisfied our inclusion criteria. In total, 201 unique features of context were identified, of these 89 were shared (reported in two or more studies). The 89 shared features were grouped into 21 attributes of context which were further categorized into six domains of context. CONCLUSION: This study resulted in a framework of domains, attributes and features of context. These attributes and features, if assessed and used to tailor implementation activities, hold promise for improved research implementation in clinical practice.


  • Squires, Janet E
  • Graham, Ian
  • Bashir, Kainat
  • Nadalin‐Penno, Letitia
  • Lavis, John
  • Francis, Jill
  • Curran, Janet
  • Grimshaw, Jeremy M
  • Brehaut, Jamie
  • Ivers, Noah
  • Michie, Susan
  • Hillmer, Michael
  • Noseworthy, Thomas
  • Vine, Jocelyn
  • Demery Varin, Melissa
  • Aloisio, Laura D
  • Coughlin, Mary
  • Hutchinson, Alison M

publication date

  • December 2019