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Theory Evaluation in Nursing - Essay Example

3 pages
656 words
Middlebury College
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1) What does McEwen identify as a fundamental purpose of theory analysis and evaluation?

Theory analysis and evaluation is the process by which a theory is systematically examined. The criteria the process varies, however, they include testability, generable, usefulness, logical adequacy, meaning and the origin of the theory. Therefore, McEwen identifies the fundamental purpose of theoretical analysis and evaluation as the identification of the usefulness of a theory to guiding administration, education, research, and practice.

2) What are the three steps of Theory Evaluation?

There are three major steps in theory evaluation; they include theory description, theory analysis, and theory evaluation. Theory description is the first step in the process of evaluation. In this section, there is the review of the theorists work based on the theory historical context (Herrman, 2011). Moreover, there is the examination of other theorists works with are related to the theory hence bringing a clear understanding of the functional and structural component of the theory. The propositions, concepts, and assumptions form the structural components while the functional components include concepts that are used to control, predict, explain and describe (Melesis, 2012). Theory analysis forms the second step in the evaluation process. This is a systematic process this is used to objectively examine the function, structure, and content of a theory. This process is conducted if the framework or the theory has the potential that is used in education, administration, research or practice. This phase consists of critical examination of a theory, nonjudgmental process that seeks to understand what the theory entails (Meleis, 2012). Theory critique or theory evaluation is the third and last phase of this process. At this stage, a theory is examined based on its contribution to the knowledge base of a particular discipline (Herrman, 2011)). This process involves the examination of a theory based on the purpose it serves and making an action or a decision of the use of the theory, for example, how the theory is relevant in directing nursing interventions and practices and if it contributes or not towards the desired outcomes.

3) Briefly, discuss the history of Theory Evaluation. What are your thoughts on the significant contributions of Theory Evaluation to nursing theory and practice?

Several methods or systems for theory evaluation or analysis have been published by a number of nursing scholars from the late 1960s. Nursing scholars such as Maeona Kramer and Peggy Chinn, Kay Avant and Larraine walker have contributed a lot towards the publication of systems for evaluation and analysis of nursing theories. The theory evaluation and theory analysis methods were explicitly or implicitly developed for the purpose of reviewing conceptual frameworks and grand nursing theories. Rosemary Ellis was the first nursing scholar to publish the criteria for examining nursing theories in 1968. Ellis specified meaningful terminology, information generation, and important values of the theorists, usefulness, testability, complexity, and scope as the main characteristics. Therefore, the discussion of this attributes laid a foundation for other writers to develop other criteria. Scholars such as Margaret Hardy later I 1974 proposed that universal standards should be used in the evaluation of theories. However other scholars with different views followed such as Duffey and Muhlenkamp, Barnum, Walker and Avant, Fawcett, Chinn and Kramer, Meleis, Whall, and Dudley-Brown.

My thoughts on the significant contributions of Theory of Evaluation to nursing theory and practice is that a lot of work has been done by various scholars in order to develop systems that enable an individual to examine a theory. It is of great importance for the nursing academicians and scholars to be able to marry the various systems and methods developed so that they can be able to come up with a hybrid system that is universally accepted when it comes to analyzing nursing theories and conceptual frameworks.



Herrman, J. W. (2011). Keeping their attention: Innovative strategies for nursing education. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 42(10), 449456.

Meleis, A. I. (2012). Theoretical nursing: Development and progress (5th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


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