Describe, analyze, and evaluate the usefulness of the theory to your nursing practice. Review the instructions and grading criteria for the Scholarly Papers.
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?