The first step in understanding a theory is to identify the components that comprise the theory. This guideline helps you identify and describe a theory by posing a set of questions to answer as you read an author’s narrative about a particular theory.1. What is the purpose for the theory? Why was the theory created? Is the purpose broad or narrow in scope (i.e., does the theory refer to a small range of phenomena or a broad range)? Is the purpose of the theory to create meaning, describe a phenomenon, explain a phenonmenon, or predict a phenomenon? Is the theory a grand nursing theory, conceptual model, middle-range theory, or practice theory?2. What are the concepts? How many concepts are there? Are there major and minor concepts? Are there subconcepts organized under other concepts? Are the concepts broad or narrow in scope? Are the concepts abstract or concrete? Are the concepts empiric (measureable)? Are the concepts defined? Are they defined so that the meaning is clear?3. What are the major relationships within the theory? Are some concepts included in several relationships? Do relationships create meaning and understanding? Do they describe, explain, or predict?4. Does the author provide an outline or diagram of the theory? If yes, is the structure congruent with the narrative? Could more than one structure represent the theory? If the author does not provide a diagram, what does the theory look like to you?5. What are the assumptions that underlie the theory? Does the author have an obvious value orientation?
Analyzing A TheoryIn Parker and Smith, Chapter 3, criteria for analyzing and evaluating a theory are discussed. Now that you have learned to identify and describe the components that make up a theory, you need to analyze or critically reflect on the theory to determine how well the theory works, how the theory might be used, and how it might be further developed. As you analyze theories, there may be times you think, “This just doesn’t seem to be quite right; this just doesn’t seem to capture what I see in my practice.” At other times, you might think, “Yes, this makes sense to me; this is exactly what I see in my practice.”1. How clear is this theory? Can the theory be followed? Is the explanation of the theory adequate? Are the examples and diagrams helpful?2. How simple is this theory? How many concepts and relationships are contained within the theory? Is the theory complex? Does the theory impart understanding?3. How general is this theory? Do the purposes of the theory apply to all practice areas or specific ones? Can this theory be used by those outside of nursing?4. How accessible is this theory to practicing nurses? Are the concepts observable in your practice?5. How important is this theory? Does the theory have the potential to guide nursing practice? How? Does the theory have potential to guide research? Does the theory have the potential to influence education?
Evaluating A Theory’s Usefulness To PracticeIf theory is to be useful, it must be brought into nursing practice. This guideline provides a set of questions to ask in evaluating a theory for its usefulness to your own practice, and to nursing practice in general.1. Do you like this theory? Why or why not?2. Does this theory reflect your values and beliefs truly held in nursing?3. Does this theory reflect the nursing metaparadigm of person, environment, health and nursing???4. How would the theory influence your nursing practice?5. If not your practice, how could the theory guide other areas of nursing practice?6. How would the theory influence research, education, and administration?
Sources: Parker, M., & Smith, M. (2010) Nursing theories and nurinsg practice (3rd. ed.). Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company and Chinn, P.L. & Kramer, J. K. (2011). Integrated theory and knowledge development in nursing (8th ed.). St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier..
Purpose:The purpose of scholarly papers is threefold: 1) develop a method to search current professional journals for theories of interest to you and of relevance to your nursing practice; 2) demonstrate your ability to describe, analyze, and evaluate theories for nursing practice; and 3) demonstrate your ability to express ideas clearly and concisely in writing.Grading Criteria:There are two scholarly paper assignments. The instructions for both are as follows:Search the databases find a journal article that describes the use describes the use of your chosen nursing theory in practice or the testing of a theory. You can supplement the information about the theory from your Parker and Smith textbook. You must incorporate the journal article discussion into the discussion in this paper. In a 5-10 page paper, use the Guidelines for Describing, Analyzing, and Evaluating a Theory.Your discussion should be written as a narrative whole, not a list of responses to guideline questions. Cite your source in the paper and in a reference page, using APA format. Address each of the criteria in the Guidelines for Describing, Analyzing, and Evaluating a Theory.The grading rubric for this assignment is as follows:TOPIC CRITIQUE ASPECTS PERCENTIntroduction 1. Provides introductory paragraph2. States name of theory and author3. Provides rationale for choosing theory and its relationship to student’s practice 15%Describing a Theory • Theory purpose questions addressed• Theory concepts questions addressed• Theory relationships addressed• Diagram or outline of theory questions addressed• Theory assumption questions addressed 20%Analysis of a Theory • Clarity of theory questions addressed• Simplicity of theory questions addressed• Generality questions about theory addressed• Accessibility of the theory questions addressed• Importance of theory questions addressed. 25%Evaluation of Theory’s Usefulness • Likeability of theory addressed• Theory’s reflection of YOUR values and beliefs addressed• Theory’s reflection of the nursing metaparadigm (nursing, person, health, and environment) addressed• Theory influence on your practice addressed• Theory influence on other areas of nursing addressed• Theory potential influence on education, administration, and/or research 25%Summary • Provides a summary paragraph 5%Format of the Paper • Adheres to APA guidelines• Uses appropriate paper structure including an introduction, body, and conclusion• Uses appropriate syntax, sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, and spelling• Cites sources and references for all information in the document.• Cites and incorporates the journal article discussion on the use of the theory into paper. 10%TOTAL 100%