Theory Analysis

Theory Analysis

Brakefield Week 6 Initial Post

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            In this discussion, the differences between theory and framework must be considered. In this week’s readings, the variances at times appear subtle. For example, frameworks provide the direction that the research takes where theory reveals relationships between the concepts in the phenomenon of 

            The two frameworks that were analyzed for this writer’s phenomena of interest (POI), which is motivation that leads to health promotion behaviors and adherence to those interventions, are King’s Goal Attainment Theory and the Health Belief Model (HBM). In King’s Goal Attainment Theory, the basis is that the nurse and patient come together to set goals and act together to attain those goals (Araujo et al., 2018).  In the theory Health Belief Model, the assumptions are that the health seeking behaviors of the person are influenced by perception of a threat to health and the value associated with reducing the threat (Pribadi & Devy, 2020). 

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            The Health Behavior Model (HBM) applies directly to the research questions that this writer has in relation to why a person does or does not chose health promotion.  The HBM is a borrowed theory as it was derived from social science and has been applied to nursing situations. Strengths of the theory include the application to nursing care and literature associated with outcomes, and addresses perceptions that impact the value of intervening to produce health (Ampofo et al., 2020). Weaknesses are cited as being a lack of acknowledgement to social or economic factors that can serve as external threats to the validity of findings (Luquis & Kensinger, 2019). 

            In reviewing this topic, other considerations come to mind, such as how to mitigate the weaknesses and when found, does this impact the application? For example, in finding the possible threats to external validity with this theory, does a secondary theory fill in that gap or is it that researcher is now aware of the risks and considers this in conducting the research. Is it possible to find a theory that perfectly meets the research while maintaining original thought and staying true to the questions posed or does this alter the trajectory and thus the methods? 

Theory Analysis


Ampafo, A., et al., (2020). A cross-sectional study of barriers to cervical cancer screening uptake 

in Ghana: An application of the Health Belief Model. Plos ONE. 15(4), 1-16. 

            doi: 10.4103/ijnmr.IJNMR_220_18

Araujo, S., et. al., (2018). Nursing care to patients with diabetes based on Kings’ theory. 

National Library of Medicine. 71(3), 1092-1098.  doi:  10.1590/0034-7167-2016-0268

Luquis, R.,  &  Kensinger, W. (2019) Applying the Health Belief Model to assess prevention 

services among young adults, International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, 57:1, 37-47, doi:  10.1080/14635240.2018.1549958

McEwin, M., & Wills, E. M. (2019) Theoretical basis for nursing (5th ed.) Wolters Kluwer 


Pribadi, E. & Devy, S. (2020). Application of the health belief model on the intention to stop 

            Smoking behavior among young adult women. Journal of Public Health Research. 9(2), 


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Pender’s model includes “major concepts of characteristics and experiences of individuals (prior behaviors and personal influences), behavior-specific perceptions and influences (perceived benefits of action, barriers to action, and self-efficacy, activity-related affect, and interpersonal and situational influences), and behavioral outcomes (commitment to a plan of action, immediate competing demands and preferences, and health promoting behavior) (McEwen and Wills, 2019, p, 229).”  Where does your concept of motivation come into play?  Is it a possible barrier to action or an activity related affect or situational influence?

Pender’s model is considered a middle-range theory.  It is suggested the that researchers prefer to use middle-range theories because they are better for formulating hypotheses and applicable to certain patient populations (McEwin & Wills, 2019).   If you had to pose a hypothesis, based your POI and Pender’s model, what might that be?  Middle range theories describe, explain, or predict phenomena (McEwin & Wills, 2019).  Does Pender’s model describe, explain, or predict health promotion?

I have used Pender’s model in previous research as well as the questionnaire she has developed and revised over time.  I was trying to locate the questionnaire without success.  Have you been able to access it?

McEwin, M., & Wills, E. M. (2019). Theoretical basis for nursing (5th ed.). Wolters Kluwer Health.


Theory Analysis

Questions to consider before you get started reading this chapter:

· Are you interested in a particular theory that might be useful in your research or practice but not sure how valid it is?

· Are you planning to use a theory in your work but need to know where its strengths and weaknesses lie?

· Are you interested in a theory but parts of it do not seem to contribute to your understanding?

Introductory Note:

If any of these issues are confronting you, theory analysis is likely the best strategy to use for resolving them. Theory analysis is a formal way to break the theory into its component parts and examine them for consistency, logic, and usability.

We have been delightedly surprised at how many theories are undergoing analysis and revision over the last several years. This is a very encouraging trend. It reveals the rapid nature of the development of the science of nursing. There are also many more middle-range theories under development. They provide the discipline with a rich source of potential knowledge about how nursing works and how effective and efficient nursing care is. We encourage researchers, advanced practice nurses, staff nurses, and students to examine any theory they intend to teach or to use in practice to be sure that it is a valid theory and is reliable in its description, explanation, prediction, and prescription or control.

Definition and Description

Theory is usually constructed to express a unique, unifying idea about a phenomenon that answers previously unanswered questions and provides new insights into the nature of the phenomenon. A theory should provide a parsimonious, precise example, or model, of the real world or the world as it is experienced. Thus, theory is defined as a set of interrelated relational statements about a phenomenon that is useful for description, explanation, prediction, and prescription or control ( Chinn & Jacobs, 1987 ; Dickoff, James, & Wiedenbach, 1968a,  1968b  Hardy, 1974  Hempel, 1965  Reynolds, 1971 ).

A theory purporting to describe, explain, or predict something should provide the reader with a clear idea of what the phenomenon is and does, what events affect it, and how it affects other phenomena. Therefore, theory analysis is the systematic examination of the theory for meaning, logical adequacy, usefulness, generality, parsimony, and testability.

In theory analysis, as in all analysis strategies, the theory is broken down into parts. Each is examined individually as it relates to every other. In addition, the theoretical structure as a whole is examined to determine such things as validity and approximation to the real world.

Purpose and Uses

Theory analysis allows you to examine both the strengths and the weaknesses of a theory. In addition, a theory analysis may determine the need for additional development or refinement of the original theory.

Theory analysis provides a systematic, objective way of examining a theory that may lead to insights and formulations previously undiscovered. This then adds to the body of knowledge in the nursing discipline. As  Popper (1965)  pointed out in a classic work, science is interested in novel ideas and interesting theories because their very novelty or interest prompts the scientist to put them to empirical test. Theory analysis offers one way of determining what needs to be put to the test and often suggests how it can be done.

A formal theory analysis is relevant only if the theory has the possibility of being useful in an educational, clinical practice, or research setting. If the theory demonstrates no potential for usefulness, then the analysis becomes a futile exercise. It has been our experience that the primary purpose for conducting a theory analysis prior to using that theory in education or clinical practice is to discover the strong points the theory offers to guide practice. One wants to be sure the theory is well supported and effective if one is to use it in practice.

However, a theory analysis for the purposes of research usually focuses on the weak points or the unsubstantiated linkages among its concepts. The reason for this distinction is that the analysis provides evidence the researcher needs to justify conducting a study concerning new or unclear relationships within the original theory.

Understanding is the main aim of analysis. To truly understand something, we must put aside our own values and biases and look objectively at the object of analysis. Because a theory analysis is both systematic and objective, it provides a way to examine the content and structure of a theory without being influenced by subjective evaluation. Leaving our personal values out of the analysis allows us to see the theory more clearly, and the original theorist’s values will become more evident.

The main aim of evaluation, on the other hand, is decision and/or action. Here, our own values and biases become important to the outcome. Evaluation of theory should only be done after a thorough analysis is made. Then, we should feel free to evaluate the theory’s potential contribution to scientific knowledge and to make judgments about its worth in establishing a basis for making decisions or taking action ( Chinn & Kramer, 2014  Fawcett, 1980  1989  1993  1995  2000  2005  Fawcett & DeSanto-Madeya, 2013 ).

Procedures for Theory Analysis

The steps in theory analysis were synthesized from the works of  Popper (1961  1965 ),  Reynolds (1971)  Hardy (1974)  Fawcett (1980  1989  2000 ), and  Chinn and Jacobs (1987) . Despite their age, these authors’ works collectively formed the existing foundation of knowledge in theory development. Without their pioneering efforts, nursing theory development would be seriously behind and this book might not exist.

There are six steps in theory analysis: (1) identify the origins of the theory, (2) examine the meaning of the theory, (3) analyze the logical adequacy of the theory, (4) determine the usefulness of the theory, (5) define the degree of generalizability and the parsimony of the theory, and (6) determine the testability of the theory. Each of these steps will first be defined briefly and then discussed in detail.

The origins of a theory refer to its initial development. The analyst investigates what prompted its development, whether the theory is inductive or deductive in form, and whether evidence exists to support or refute the theory.

The meaning ( Hardy, 1974 ) of a theory has to do with the theory’s concepts and how they relate to each other. Essentially, the meaning is reflected in the language of the theory and calls for a careful examination of the specific language used by the original theorist.

The logical adequacy ( Hardy, 1974 ) of a theory denotes the logical structure of the concepts and statements independent of their meaning. The analyst looks for any logical fallacies in the structure of the theory and examines the accuracy with which predictions can be made from the theory.

The usefulness of a theory concerns how practical and helpful the theory is to the discipline in providing a sense of understanding or predictable outcomes. A theory that provides a practitioner with realistic guides to practice so that Intervention A consistently leads to Patient Behavior B, for instance, is obviously more useful than one that does not.

Generalizability, or transferability, explains the extent to which generalizations can be made from the theory. The more widely the theory can be applied, the more generalizable it becomes.

Parsimony refers to how simply and briefly a theory can be stated while still being complete in its explanation of the phenomenon in question. Many mathematical theories are parsimonious, for example, because they offer an explanation in only a few equations. Social science theories are rarely parsimonious, on the other hand, because they deal with such complex human phenomena that they defy mathematical expression.

Testability has to do with whether the theory can be supported by empirical data. If a theory cannot generate hypotheses that can be subjected to empirical research, it is not testable.

We believe that all of these six steps are important to a complete theory analysis. Some authors disagree.  Fawcett and DeSanto-Madeya (2013)  state that the last two steps determining parsimony and testability are really related to theory evaluation.

Granted, when one completes the analysis and begins to evaluate the theory, one may place heavier values on some of the steps than on others. But, if a theory has poorly defined and inconsistently used concepts, for instance, it will not be capable of test, will not have parsimony, and will not be useful. The value assigned to a theory rests primarily on what the analysis reveals, but it also reflects one’s own feelings and biases to a certain extent. This is to be expected; no scientist can ever be completely objective. We will now more thoroughly discuss each of the analysis steps.


The first step is to determine what prompted the development of the theory. Sometimes the theorist will offer an explicit explanation. Otherwise, the analyst may only be able to surmise this from the context of the discussion. Understanding the origin of a theory and the purpose for which it was developed often proves very helpful to the analyst in understanding how the theory was put together and why. Begin by reading the theory carefully, identifying the major ideas or concepts, and isolating the relational statements.

In addition, find out if the theory was developed deductively (from a more general law) or inductively (from data). If the theory was developed from another theory or from some other hypothesis, it can be considered deductive in origin. It can be considered inductive in origin if observations of relationships from qualitative or quantitative data, literature, or clinical practice generated the theory. Later when determining its logical adequacy, the inductive or deductive form of origin will be important. Finally, it is often helpful to identify any underlying assumptions on which the theory is built.

These underlying assumptions can be important to interpretation and when considering the usefulness of the theory. Some authors will identify their assumptions explicitly. However, in many cases you may have to determine what the assumptions are from the context and description of the theory itself.


Examining meaning and logical adequacy is the most lengthy process in a theory analysis but also the most valuable. Meaning, in theory analysis, refers to the semantics of the theory. An analyst must examine the language used in the theory by looking at the concepts and statements within it. The steps are as follows: identify the concepts, examine their definitions and use, identify the statements, and examine the relationships among concepts as demonstrated in the statements. (This is essentially statement analysis. If you feel you need to know more about how to examine the relationships, see  Chapter11 .)

Identify Concepts

Look for the major ideas in the theory. All relevant terms that reflect those ideas should be clearly stated and defined. It is often difficult to identify the major concepts in an elaborate verbal model. Probably the best approach is to read with a pencil and paper at hand. As new terms appear, write them down with their definitions, if given.

This saves time in the long run and makes it very clear where definitions are missing. If you are working electronically, either highlight the concepts and their definitions or set up a database to capture the information. In either case, be sure to note the page numbers where you found the concepts and definitions to aid your writing later.

Determine whether each concept is primitive, concrete, or abstract. As described in  Chapters 3  and  10 , primitive terms are those names for concepts that derive their meanings from common experience in the discipline and can only be defined by using examples ( Wilson, 1969 ).

Concrete concepts must be directly measurable and are restricted by time and space. Abstract concepts are not limited by time or space and may not be directly measurable. Classifying the concepts in this way will aid the analyst in assessing the concrete or abstract nature of the entire theory.

Examine Definitions and Use

There are four possible options in regard to definitions: a theoretical definition, an operational definition, a descriptive definition, and no definition.

A theoretical definition uses other theoretical terms to define a concept and place it within the context of the theory but does not specify any operational rules for classifying or measuring it. A theoretical definition is usually fairly abstract and may use lower-order concepts to define higher-order ones. The most important criterion, though, is the lack of measurement specification in the definition.

A theoretical definition may provide the theorist with a way of expressing the richness of the concept within the theory and the means for classifying a phenomenon as either an example of the concept or not, but an operational definition provides the means for measuring the concept in question.

Operational definitions are useful in research but often artificially limit the concept. It is useful to the analyst, however, if both types of definitions are formulated for the major theoretical concepts. It is also very important to be sure that the operational definitions accurately reflect the theoretical definitions.

A descriptive definition, one that simply lists or describes the attributes of a concept much as in a dictionary, says nothing about the context in which the concept is used, nor does it specify operational measures. Having a descriptive definition is better than the last option, no definitions at all, but provides very limited data to the analyst.

When only limited definitions are available, the analyst may find it difficult to make a truly objective analysis and equally difficult to use the theory for the purpose intended. When a theory contains only descriptive definitions or no definitions, it is often in a very early stage of development. It will be valuable if the analyst can make thoughtful suggestions about how further development should proceed.

The major concern in considering the way in which the concepts are used is with consistency of use, that is, whether or not the theorist uses the concepts consistently, as they are defined, throughout the theory. This is vital information for anyone who proposes to apply the theory.

If a theorist defines a concept in one way and then subtly, or not so subtly, alters the meaning as the theory develops, then all the formulations using that concept become suspect until the ambiguity of the definition can be cleared up. Otherwise, the analyst may attempt to predict outcomes from an early statement in a theory only to find that a later statement contradicts those same outcomes.

Additional research work regarding a theory may cause changes to be made in concept definitions or even in whole sections of a theory. It is to be expected that some refinements should be made. However, when such changes are necessitated, then the initial studies using the original concepts may not be useful in the support of the theory. They may need to be repeated and the initial relational statements retested for validity using the new concept definitions.

Advantages and Limitations

The major advantage of theory analysis is the insight into relationships among the concepts and their linkages to each other that the strategy provides. In addition, the analysis strategy allows the theorist to see the strengths of the theory as well as its weaknesses. The theorist is then free to decide whether or not the theory is useful for practice or research or whether the theory needs additional testing and validation before use. Where a theory has untested linkages discovered through analysis, it is a spur to the theorist to test those linkages.

This both strengthens the theory and adds to the body of knowledge. The major limitation of theory analysis is that analysis examines only parts and their relationship to the whole. It can expose only what is missing but cannot generate new information. In addition, theory analysis requires evaluation and criticism of supporting evidence. Where the analyst may be limited in the critical skills of research evaluation, important information regarding the soundness of a theory may be disregarded or misinterpreted. This results in a limited analysis and may yield unsatisfactory results.

Utilizing the Results of Theory Analysis

Theory analysis provides a means of systematic examination of the structure and content of theory for new insights into a phenomenon or to determine its strengths and weaknesses. But what does one do with the analysis when it is completed? The results of theory analysis can be very useful in education, practice, research, and theory development.

Theory analysis can be used very effectively in the classroom. We have used it successfully to teach students how to examine theories critically. Assigning a theory to a group of students to analyze and then having them report to the class often generates meaningful discussion and debate among the students.

Another use of the results of theory analysis is in preparing conceptual frameworks for students’ papers. Students have found theory analysis an excellent way to define gaps or inconsistencies in the knowledge about some phenomenon in which they are interested. Yet a third use of the results of theory analysis is in faculty development. As we proposed in the statement analysis chapter, having faculty discussions related to the results of theory analysis on a single topic of interest may generate many useful ideas to be used in curriculum design or in generating faculty research.

The results of theory analysis may provide the clinician with knowledge about the soundness of any theory being considered for adoption in practice. In addition, knowing which theoretical relationships are well supported provides guidelines for the choice of appropriate interventions and some indications of their efficacy. Given the current emphasis on evidence-based practice, the results of theory analysis will assist clinicians to determine whether or not a particular theory might be appropriate for their practice.

Theory analysis is particularly helpful in research because it provides a clear idea of the form and structure of the theory in addition to the relevance of content, and inconsistencies and gaps present. The missing links or inconsistencies are fruitful sources of new research ideas.

They also point to the next hypotheses that need to be tested. In theory development, the inconsistencies, gaps, and missing links provide the stimulus to the theorist to keep on working. In addition, the results provide clues to the obvious next steps to be taken to refine the theory.


Theory analysis consists of systematically examining a theory for its origins, meaning, logical adequacy, usefulness, generalizability/parsimony, and testability. Each of these six steps stands alone in a theory analysis and yet each is related to the other.

This paradoxical relationship is generated by the act of analysis itself. To do a thorough analysis, one must consider each of the steps, giving them all careful attention. Yet, the results of each of the steps are interdependent on the results of the others.

Like many of the strategies presented in this book, the steps of theory analysis are also iterative. That is, the analyst must go back and forth among the steps during the analysis in addition to moving sequentially through them.

For instance, the logical adequacy, usefulness, generalizability, parsimony, and testability of a theory will be affected if concepts are undefined and statements are only definitional in nature. If the meaning is adequately handled but the logical structure is missing or fallacious, then usefulness, generalizability, parsimony, and testability will be severely limited.

If a theory is untestable and fails to generate hypotheses, it is not useful, generalizable, parsimonious, or particularly meaningful. So each step is independent and yet interdependent as well. It is this interdependence that makes the strategy so useful in theory construction. The analysis strategy provides a mechanism for determining the strengths and weaknesses of the theory prior to using it as a guide to practice or in research.

With theory analysis, linkages that have not been examined become obvious. This, in turn, should lead to additional testing, thus adding support to the theory or pointing out where modifications need to be made. The whole process is complex but the results are well worth the effort. It frequently leads to new insights about the theory being examined, thus adding to the body of knowledge.

Theory analysis, like all analysis strategies, is rigorous and takes time. It is also limited in that it does not generate new information outside the confines of the theory.

Finally, by pointing out where additional theoretical work is needed, theory analysis is a way of promoting additional theory construction. When pointing out where additional work is needed, however, it is helpful to remember that comparing anything to the ideal tends to stifle development ( Zetterberg, 1965 ).

The best approach is to compare the analyzed theory to similar theories at the same stage of development. To what extent does this theory meet the criteria as compared to others similar to it? Because most theories are generated in the context of discovery, it is more helpful to be encouraging than to be severely critical.

Practice Exercise 1

Read  Younger’s (1991)  “A Theory of Mastery.” It is a psychosocial nursing theory and is substantially middle range in focus. It is therefore suitable to use for your practice exercise.

Conduct a theory analysis. When you have completed your own analysis, compare it to the one below. Keep in mind that your analysis will probably be more comprehensive than the one we have included here. Our intention is to give you only clues as to the major strengths and weaknesses of the theory. The example we have provided is merely a sample to demonstrate each step. Remember that although one person’s analysis may differ somewhat from another’s, they may both be equally valid.


Younger developed the theory of mastery in an effort to explain “how individuals who experience illness or other stressful health conditions and enter into a state of stress may emerge, not demoralized and vulnerable, but healthy and possibly stronger” (p. 77).

In addition, she states that a second purpose was to explicate the theory base for the new instrument she is developing. The theory appears to be a deductive synthesis based on various philosophical and empirical works of others, but Younger is not explicit about whether it is a deductive system.


1. The major concepts identified by Younger in addition to mastery are

· certainty

· change

· acceptance

· growth

In addition to the five major concepts, Younger mentions several related concepts. These are coping, adjustment, efficacy, resilience, hardiness, and control. In each case, she attempts to identify how the related concepts are different from mastery.

Not identified as a part of the theory or related concepts but discussed in the section on the definition of mastery are such concepts as quality of life, bonds of connectedness with others, stress, self-curing, self-caring, hypervigilance, compulsive repetition, sleep disturbance, fearfulness, passivity, and alienation. These concepts are part of the discussions about antecedents and consequences of mastery or the lack of achievement of mastery.

2. The major concepts certainty, change, acceptance, growth, and mastery are all carefully defined. Indeed, it appears from the discussion that all five have been subjected to concept analysis. As a result, these five concepts have excellent descriptive and theoretical definitions that are used consistently throughout the piece. There are no operational definitions given here. However, it appears that these may be forthcoming as one of the purposes of the article was to give a theory base for a new instrument.

3. The relational statements are harder to come by in this work than are the concepts. Each concept in the theory is described as a process that must be completed before mastery can be achieved. Below are the statements Younger makes explicitly (mainly on p. 87) about the relationships among the concepts:

c. A critical dose of certainty is necessary for change and acceptance.

c. Change and acceptance are necessary for growth to occur.

c. Change, acceptance, and growth feed back to increase certainty.

c. Change is sufficient for growth.

c. Change and acceptance are dynamically interrelated.

c. Acceptance, qualified, is sufficient for growth.

c. Stress initiates the process of mastery.

c. Mastery affects quality of life and wellness.

Each of the statements indicates a positive relationship. The boundaries are moderately wide. The theory is abstract but is sufficiently circumscribed to be considered a middle-range theory.

The statements are all made toward the end of the article and are not used again once they are made. Therefore, no judgment can be made about the degree to which the author uses them consistently. One must look to later works to make this judgment.

There is no empirical support given for any of the statements. There is some philosophical and historical background given as justification for them but no testing has been done as yet using this new theory.

Logical Adequacy

1. It is possible to make predictions independent of content. The matrix shown in  Figure 12–4  demonstrates where the predictions are specified and where they are implied. Some of the major concepts of the theory are included here, although there are several other relevant concepts mentioned in the narrative.

Figure 12–4

Matrix of concepts in theory of mastery.

An eight by eight matrix depicting the concepts in theory of mastery.

Figure 12–4 Full Alternative Text

· certainty (CT), acceptance (A)

· stress (S), wellness (W)

· change (CG), growth (G)

· quality of life (QOL)

Obviously, there are many implied, but unspecified, relationships in the theory. Some of the implied relationships are supported in other research in the field but are not indicated in Younger’s article. Readers may also be interested in the analysis of the theory of mastery when it was merged with the theory of organismic integration ( Fearon-Lynch & Stover, 2015 ).

2. We did not locate any direct tests of the theory and so agreement of scientists is probable but not confirmed by the use of the theory in others’ work to date. However, the theory was successfully applied to development of the Mastery of Stress instrument, which measures the theory concepts of certainty, change, acceptance, and growth ( Younger, 1993 ). Although the theory is still untested, it is capable of test. Therefore, this criterion is met in principle but not in fact.

3. The theory makes sense as it is built on several sound philosophical and scientific traditions. It is appealing in its simplicity. However, it is a bit redundant of other similar theories. It is very close indeed to various theories of self-efficacy for instance.

4. There are no logical fallacies, although there are some logical relationships that as yet go unspecified and are only implied in the theory.


The theory has the potential to be useful. Even though it is somewhat similar to other theories of coping and self-efficacy, it is specifically focused on threats to health as a primary stressor. For this reason alone, it may prove very helpful to practitioners and researchers in nursing.

Generalizability or Transferability

The theory has relatively wide boundaries, but so far has not been tested or verified through research. Certainly it would apply to anyone experiencing stress, particularly health-related stress. Its potential for explanatory power is excellent.


The theory is relatively new and therefore is probably too parsimonious. It seems that there is a natural evolution or progression of new theories such that they often start small and parsimonious, grow substantially during the justification phases, and then are reduced to smaller and more parsimonious models over time. This theory may undergo substantial changes and revisions before it is considered to be adequately developed.


Given appropriate, reliable, and valid instruments to measure the concepts in this theory as they are defined, the theory is testable. The concepts are very carefully defined, so any instruments being considered for testing them should be examined carefully to be sure that they reflect the defining attributes of each of the c

DQ WK 6 – Framework/Theory Analysis and Evaluation

The theoretical analysis evaluates the researcher’s concepts to connect information from the literature to the existing theories that guide the study. Theoretical analysis entails the objective investigation and systemic examination of how the principles of any theory are used in any research study to obtain their meaning, usefulness, logical adequacy, parsimony, generalizability, and testability (McEwen & Wills, 2019).

Concept evaluation is the process of systematically examining theory. Theory evaluation does not generate new information outside the study’s controlled area (McEwen & Wills, 2019). It also recognizes a degree of usefulness to guide practice, research, education and administration. 

The first definition of stress was given by Han Selye, the physician conducting experiments on the rats. He said that stress is the physiologic and vague disorder of reaction to injury when a living thing is put to poisonous specialists (Stubin, 2017). Stress is especially significant in life, and it will ever be present, and it is not always negative and should not necessarily result in harm to a person. 

What establishes whether the stress is positive or negative is how effective a person going through the stress can manage the stress (Arnold, 2020). In this analysis and evaluation of theories, two theories that apply to my proposed study are Margaret A. Newman’s systems model and Jean Watson’s human caring theory. 

Margaret A. Newman’s Systems model

Newman’s theory deals with a person’s response to stress. Hence the application of stress theories is essential to nursing, and nurses use them as a framework for research (McEwen & Wills, 2019). This application of the stress theory of nursing offers a framework for the nurse to evaluate the effects of stress, both physical and psychological uses on coping methods (McEwen & Wills, 2019).

Usefulness: Newman’s model is used broadly in nursing education and practice (McEwen & Wills, 2019). Newman’s model is crucial because it predicts interventions’ outcomes to strengthen the lines of defense against stress and the focus on prevention as intervention (McEwen & Wills, 2019).

Logical adequacy: The concepts are structured rationally.

Generalizability: Newman defined five interacting variables; physiologic, psychological, sociocultural, developmental, and spiritual; these five variables function to attain, maintain, retain system stability (McEwen & Wills, 2019).

Testability: Newman’s model, even though it is not testable entirely, it gives rise to directional hypotheses that are testable in research. Therefore, the model is used as a conceptual framework extensively in a nursing research study (McEwen & Wills, 2019).

Miserliness:  The model is not considered parsimonious because it is extraordinarily complex, with many parts that function in multiple ways. The model parts description can be confusing. However, the definitions are well developed in the latest edition of the model, and the assumptions are well organized (McEwen & Wills, 2019).

Jean Watson Theory of Care:

According to Jean Watson, caring can be effectively demonstrated and practiced only interpersonally. Caring satisfy human needs and promotes the health of an individual, family, and the entire community. The nurses have to make the decision and also evaluate and manage their stress.

Usefulness: Jean Watson’s theory of human caring is appropriate for the nurse’s behavior 

 manifestation in stress and caring phenomena because the nurses are basically stressed and exhausted. Thereby, they are not able to give quality care to their patient. Nurses need to genuinely explore their feelings to interact with others, understanding that they are emotional (McEwen & Wills, 2019). 

Logical adequacy: The concepts are structured rationally.

Generalizability: A summary can be made with Jean Watson’s application

Testability: The research theory application is testable and used in some analytical research.

Miserliness:  There were many concepts used by Jean Watson, soJean Watson is not frugal because of its many concepts.

Therefore, Jean Watson’s human caring theory, using a holistic approach to providing care for the patients while caring for oneself is an essential aspect of selflessness. Moreover, mindfulness in caring (Sitzman & Watson, 2018).


Arnold, T.C., (2020). An evolutionary concept analysis of secondary traumatic stress in nurses. In Nursing Forum. Vol. 55, 2 (149-156).

McEwin, M., & Wills, E. M. (2019) Theoretical basis for nursing (5th ed.) Wolters Kluwer


Laureate Education (Producer). (2014f). Theoretical foundation for research [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Sitzman, K., & Watson, J. (2018). Caring Science, Mindful Practice. Springer publishing. DOI: 


Stubin, C.A. (2017). Emotional strain: a concept analysis for nursing.  International Journal for Human Caring. Vol 21 Iss 2(59-65).

Walker, L. O., & Avant, K. C. (2019). Strategies for theory construction in nursing (6th ed.).  Prentice-Hall.

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