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Evaluation of Middle-Range Nursing Theories
Ismar A Rodriguez Curbelo
Evaluation of Middle-Range Nursing Theories
Evaluating the usefulness and applicability of a middle-range theory is crucial in determining its potential for use in research. The middle-range theories tend to be narrower than grand theories in terms of scope and deal with part of a discipline’s concerns related to a topic (Peterson & Bredow, 2019). Even though these theories are known to be useable due to their specificity as well as scope, it is important to test their adaptation to nursing research. Therefore, based on external and internal criticism, the middle range theories are sufficient in nursing research due to their clarity, logical development, consistency, and adequacy.
The coherence, structure, and understanding of middle-range theories are evaluated through internal criticism. Middle-range theories are considered relatively coherent to understand and implement. They are designed to be more specific and applicable to nursing practice than grand theories, which can be more abstract and difficult to understand (Risjord, 2019). This makes middle-range theories more accessible to nurses and other healthcare professionals, who can use them to guide their practice and make evidence-based decisions. Therefore, the middle-range theories can be adapted to research since they are coherent and can, therefore more specific and applicable in nursing research.
In addition, middle-range theories are considered easy to understand because they are specific and limited in scope. Unlike grand theories, which attempt to explain a wide range of phenomena, middle-range theories focus on a specific aspect of a phenomenon, making them more manageable to understand (Peterson & Bredow, 2019). They provide a framework for understanding a particular phenomenon and can be used to guide research, practice, and policy. In nursing, for example, middle-range theories can guide the development of specific interventions. Therefore, due to their specific and limited scope, middle-range theories are important in nursing research since they are easy to understand.
On the other hand, external criticism evaluates the theory’s connection to well-being, nursing, and individuals. This criticism evaluates the theory’s difficulty, value, scope, and reality in relation to nursing practice. The scope of middle-range theories refers to the specific area of nursing or healthcare the theory addresses. These theories are designed to provide a specific framework for understanding and addressing a particular aspect of nursing practice, such as patient care or communication with patients (Peterson & Bredow, 2019). This makes them useful for guiding practice in specific areas rather than providing a broad overview of the entire field of nursing. The theories also help to bridge the gap between practice and research by providing a theoretical basis for understanding and addressing specific issues in nursing practice.
In addition, the value of middle-range theories also indicates that they can be adapted to nursing research. The theories can be used to guide research, practice, and policy and can be tested through empirical research (Risjord, 2019). Since the theories can be used to guide research, makes them a valuable tool for addressing specific problems in various fields, such as nursing. The reality of middle-range theories is that they are based on empirical research and are constantly being refined and revised as new evidence is discovered. Therefore, middle-range theories are important in nursing research due to their value.
In conclusion, using middle-range theories in nursing research is a valuable approach as it allows for a more specific and easy-to-implement framework for nursing care. These theories have been evaluated using internal and external criticism, ensuring that they are well-understood, relevant, and useful in the nursing field and can provide effective patient care.
Peterson, S., & Bredow, T. S. (2019). Middle range theories: Application to nursing research and practice. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Risjord, M. (2019). Middle‐range theories as models: New criteria for analysis and evaluation. Nursing Philosophy, 20(1), e12225.


Approximately 250 words