internal and external criticism

Title off Discussion of week 2 : ” Making judgement as to whether a theory could be adapted for use in research is very important.  Describe the internal and external criticism that is used to evaluate middle range theories. ”

internal and external criticism

Evaluating middle-range theories is an essential part of advancing the nursing field of study. It helps ensure that the appropriate concepts are used in research tasks, leading to accurate and useful data gathering and interpretation. This is done by examining the theory’s internal consistency, coherence, and empirical accuracy, as well as its external validity and comparability to other theories and empirical data. Further, it is essential to evaluate the theory’s parsimony.

            Internal criticism is essential to evaluating a theory’s logical consistency, coherence, and empirical accuracy. This type of criticism involves examining the internal structure of a theory to determine its logic, consistency, and coherence. Examining the theory’s assumptions, ideas, and hypotheses is part of this process. Examining the conceptual definitions and connections between ideas in a theory is an important part of internal critique. This ensures that any inconsistencies or gray areas inside the idea are identified and addressed (Khoshnood, Rayyani & Tirgari, 2020). A logical contradiction may exist, for instance, if a theory defines a notion in one manner and then utilizes it differently. It can also be challenging to grasp a theory and apply it to empirical evidence if its notions are not well-defined or are too ambiguous.

            External criticism is essential to evaluating a theory’s external validity or how well it applies to other settings or populations. This critique looks at how well a theory generalizes by contrasting it with other ideas and evidence. Evaluation of a theory’s external validity involves testing its assumptions, ideas, and hypotheses in various contexts and with other populations. A key aspect of external criticism is the evaluation of a theory’s assumptions (Smith, 2019). A theory’s assumptions are the basic ideas or beliefs upon which it rests. A theory’s external validity can be compromised, for instance, if it presupposes that all members of a given population act in the same manner. Any further challenge in evaluating the generalizability of a theory arises if its underlying assumptions are either poorly defined or too nebulous.


Nursing theory is always developing, and as a result, evaluation of intermediate ideas is essential. One approach to nursing theory that seeks to bridge the gap between research and practice is “middle-range nursing.” Compared to other types of theories, such as the grand theories of nursing, middle-range theories are simple to put into practice because they are more detailed, have a clearer focus, and have a narrower scope. Both external and internal critique examines the efficacy of midrange ideas.

Reference :

Khoshnood, Z., Rayyani, M., & Tirgari, B. (2020). Theory analysis for Pender’s health     promotion model (HPM) by Barnum’s criteria: a critical perspective. International    journal of adolescent medicine and health32(4).

Smith, M. C. (2019). Nursing theories and nursing practice. FA Davis.

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