Internal and external criticism that is used to evaluate middle range | MSN5270

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Evaluating Middle Range Theories Using Internal and External Critiques

Examination of middle-range theories is done by using internal and external criteria. Some of the questions addressed by internal criticism are whether the theory is consistent and if the approach has a logical flow. External criticism assessment then tests whether the assumptions made by the theories represent the actual world of nursing. Some ways to determine internal criticism include clarity, consistency, and logical development. While doing external critiquing, one considers how complicated the theory is, its efficacy, uniqueness, if it represents the real world, and its scope.

           The criterion for the approach’s clarity is gauging how comprehensible the contents of the theory are and whether they obscure the topic of interest. The researchers in question are then tested on how quickly they comprehend the theory before using it practically (Fawcett et al., 2005). The consistency of the approach is then judged by ensuring the theory’s context and the subject matter are in harmony. Another way is to question if the concepts are cohesive and if the theory’s proposition is consistent in structure (Kolcaba et al., 2001). Regarding adequacy, the theory is tested whether further clarification is needed and whether unfilled gaps are established and rectified. Finally, through internal review, the ideas of the theory are tested if they lay out things in a coherent fashion.

            For external critiquing, the question of complexity is brought out; it should be clear how many key components are in the theory. The middle-range nursing theories go ahead to be tested on how complicated they are, and using variables, their straightforwardness is determined (Peterson et al., 2020). As for efficacy, it should be lucid if the theory proves useful to the nurses carrying out research. By use of well-defined boundaries on the subject matter, the theory is supposed to distinguish between nursing and other medicine-related disciplines (Masters et al., 2012). More so, the assumptions are gauged if they represent the real world of nursing. External critique then tests out the scope of the theory by simply establishing if the range in question is narrow and if it makes the research any easier.

    Conclusively the student learning outcomes that I observed in my post is:  Examine the influence that nursing models and theories have upon research and practice, the middle-range theory is a good option for practicing nurses and those conducting research. Using the evaluation criteria above, nurse researchers can gain insights into the strengths and weaknesses of the theory. Therefore, any researcher out there should conduct a rigorous analysis of the said theory before settling on it for research.


Peterson, S. J. (2020). Middle range theories: Application to nursing research and Practice. Wolters Kluwer.

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