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Table 1 Walker and Avant’s eight steps of concept analysis with applied methodology

From: Defining preconception: exploring the concept of a preconception population

Steps of concept analyses as defined by Walker and Avant (2011)Definition of steps of concept analyses as defined by Walker and Avant (2011)Methodology applied
 1. Select a concept.Choose a concept to explore.Concept chosen by authors discussing variants of terminology describing preconception populations.
 2. Determine the aims of the analysis.Determine the aims or purposes of the analysis.Aims of the analysis were decided upon by the authors considering the available literature and applying their research experience.
 3. Identify all of the possible uses of the concept.Identify as many uses of the concept as you can find.After conducting the literature searches and applying inclusion/exclusion criteria, authors extracted all terms and definitions used to explain the targeted or included population.
Authors combined and considered all terms and definitions to generate an agreed, general use (or uses) of the concept ‘preconception population’.
 4. Determine the defining attributes.Identifying they key attributes that are most frequently associated with the concept.Extraction of all described characteristics of included or target populations from inclusion criteria and results of papers.
Authors combined and considered all defining attributes and generated the key defining attributes of the preconception population.
 5. Identify model cases.A model case which represents a pure example of the concept or a paradigmatic example which demonstrates all the concept’s defining attributes.Extraction of the key defining attributes of included or target population.
Authors combined and considered all defining attributes and generated hypothetical case studies to represent model cases of a preconception population.
 6. Identify borderline, related and contrary cases.Identifying, examining and defining cases which slightly differ or are contrary to the concept.
Borderline cases: examples that contain most of the defining attributes of the concept but not all of them.
Related cases: instances of concepts related to the concept under investigation but do not include all the defining attributes.
Contrary cases: clear examples of ‘not the concept’.
Extraction of exclusion criteria and consideration of any potentially ineligible characteristics.
Authors combined all additional cases and generated hypothetical case studies of borderline, related and contrary cases.
 7. Identify antecedents and consequences.Recognising the circumstances which must/can occur before (antecedent) or after (consequences) the occurrence of the concept.
A defining attribute cannot be an antecedent or consequence.
Using the extracted participant characteristics and inclusion/exclusion criteria, the authors considered all potential antecedents or consequences relevant to a preconception population.
Authors combined these to generate the key antecedents and consequences of the preconception population.
 8. Define empirical referents.Phenomena that occur or are means by which key attributes of the concept can be measured. In more abstract concepts an example might be “kissing” being an empirical referent for “affection”.Discussion of the key referent points that allow definition and use of the concept of preconception populations.