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1.Considering the numerous theories available in the nursing industry, it is necessary to carry out internal and external criticism of them. Internal criticism concerns the inner structure, while external criticism concerns the peripheral relationship between theory, research, and practice. One of the aspects that internal criticism investigates is the clarity of a theory. Clarity concerns presenting a theory and how the readers can understand it (Risjord, 2019). a clear theory is one that is well presented in terms of literature and one that the readers can understand easily and that the users can apply without having to consult further literature and studies. Internal criticism also evaluates the consistency of a theory, an aspect that is concerned with checking how uniform a theory’s principles, definitions and interpretations are. A consistent theory is one in which there are no deviations in the descriptions of assumptions, concepts and propositions throughout its literature.
External criticism of a middle-range theory is concerned with the investigation of a theory’s complexity which refers to the relationship between a theory and its variables. The complexity of a theory highlights its application in research and practice. Most applicable theories are simple, comprehensively explained and precise because researchers and practising nurses can use them in various instances and areas (Morse, 2021). External criticism also entails an evaluation of the pragmatic nature of the middle-range nursing theory. Pragmaticism means that a theory can be applied in all healthcare settings where patients need intervention from nurses. The scope of the theory is also an aspect investigated by the external criticism of middle-range nursing theories. The scope evaluates the few concepts and limited abstraction, ensuring that a middle-range nursing theory can be effectively applied in nursing research and practice.
As I handled this discussion post, I managed to explore various student learning objectives of this course. First, I got an opportunity to critique and compare various middle-range nursing theories. It also provided me with a platform where I explore how and why some nursing theories are applied in practice more effectively than others. I also explored certain aspects that make a nursing theory efficiently applicable in nursing research. I was also allowed to explore how different nursing theories influence nursing in research and practice settings, which enhanced my understanding of nursing holistically.
Using internal and external criticisms is essential in evaluating middle-range theories’ validity, coherence, and applicability. These criticisms serve as valuable tools for a comprehensive assessment. By utilizing these criticisms, researchers can ensure that theories are sturdy, dependable, and capable of producing valuable insights in empirical research.
The focus of internal criticism is ensuring a theory’s logical consistency and internal coherence. This examination is conducted by evaluating a model’s theoretical foundations, its conceptual precision, and logical relations between variables (Peterson et al., 2019). Examining a theory’s internal structure enables researchers to uncover any conceptual or logical weaknesses that could undermine its validity (Brandão et al., 2018). As an illustration, their assessment may involve evaluating definition lucidity, logical implications of propositions, and overall theoretical framework. By employing internal criticism, a theory can be verified as logically coherent, without contradictions, and having a solid conceptual foundation.
Assessing a theory’s external validity and empirical support distinguishes external from internal critique; however, both types are essential for evaluating theories. Through evaluation of its practicality in actual circumstances and predictive capabilities, this examines the applicability of theories (Risjord, 2019). Critical aspects of external criticism are assessing a theory’s alignment with current empirical evidence and its potential for creating testable hypotheses (Peterson et al., 2019). Researchers assess the value of a theory based on its capacity to explain diverse observations and its coherence with past research’s empirical findings. Less suitability for research might be attributed to theories that do not have enough supporting evidence from experiments or fail to explain crucial experimental observations.
Internal and external criticisms are intertwined, with one supporting the other. Theoretical consistency guarantees the logical soundness of theories, while empirical validation through external sources assures the practical relevance of theories (Risjord, 2019). Although a theory may display internal consistency, lacking external validity can limit its practical applicability and usefulness. A theory with strong external validity but no internal coherence may also have logical weaknesses or inconsistencies.
To give an illustration, think of a middle-range theory in the education sphere that attempts to describe how student motivation relates to academic achievement. Internal criticism entails evaluating how clear and precise a theory’s fundamental concepts are, including defining motivation and academic performance (Roodbari et al., 2022). Furthermore, it would evaluate the logical connections between these variables and any underlying assumptions. In case of vague definitions or weak logical connections, in theory, internal criticism would help identify any problems. Enhancements to improve its internal coherence would be prompted through revisions or refinements.
Assessing the theory’s empirical support and applicability entails external criticism in this context. Researchers will evaluate past empirical investigations that have examined how student motivation relates to academic performance. Later on, they will ascertain if the hypothesis coincides with the discoveries. A theory consistent with empirical evidence and can explicate various observations showcases strong external validity (Roodbari et al., 2022). The revelation of the theory’s limitations through external critique could prompt further adjustments or possible abandonment. Empirical studies that consistently contradict the theory’s propositions or the inability of the theory to explain critical empirical phenomena serve as examples.
Overall, internal and external criticisms offer a meticulous and thorough structure for examining middle-range theories. The development of robust theories that are practically relevant contributes to scientific knowledge and is ensured by researchers. Considering theories’ internal coherence and external validity is essential in achieving this objective. The extensive evaluation process works towards improving the quality and relevance of middle-range theories in empirical research.
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