Criticism Of Middle-Range Theories

Internal And External Criticism Of Middle-Range Theories

Determining whether a middle-range theory is applicable in research is very significant. Middle-range theories assist nurses in attaining their goals of conducting comprehensive nurse research. Theory evaluation refers to categorizing constituent parts of a hypothesis and their judgment against a set of prearranged principles and standards or criteria. External and internal criticism evaluates middle-range theories. External criticism deliberates the appropriateness or suitability of the principles external to the hypothesis and the hypothesis. Internal criticism deliberates the criteria about the theory’s inner mechanisms or interior dimensions and how its constituents match each other. This essay describes the internal and external criticism used to evaluate middle-range theories.

Internal criticism evaluates a middle rage theory‘s adequacy, clarity, consistency, logical development, and level of theory development. A theory’s adequacy refers to how comprehensively it discourses the subject matter and if it accounts for the topic under deliberation. Clarity confirms if a hypothesis evidently states the key components to be measured and if a reader can effortlessly understand them (Peterson & Bredow, 2019). Consistency measures if a theory has corresponding use of terms, ideologies, techniques, and explanations. Consistency also analysis if a theory’s description preserves the descriptions of the key ideas and concepts.

A logical development examines if the philosophy follows a line of thought based on former pieces of evidence or if its premises and assumptions cannot be evidenced (Peterson & Bredow, 2019). This stage also scrutinizes if its conclusions are rational and if the opinions are supported. The last step of internal criticism, the level of theory development, examines if the theory is compatible with the conceptualization of middle-range philosophy. Significantly, assessing philosophies pertinent to nursing as representations can upsurge their scholarly and clinical practicality (Risjord, 2019). Internal criticism necessitates the assessor to explain if the theory logically follows and if it is rational and congruent with the fundamental assumptions.

External criticism evaluates the theory’s complexity, reality convergence, significance, scope, utility, and discrimination. Utility examines if the philosophy can formulate assumptions researchable by nurses. Significance measures if the theory’s outcomes impact how nurses conduct nursing interventions or it simply defines what they do. Its significance also describes if it addresses essential subjects to nursing. The scope of a theory analyzes the narrowness or broadness of the assortment of phenomena it covers (Peterson & Bredow, 2019). Reality convergence determines if the hypothesis’s fundamental assumptions are factual, if they epitomize and characterize the actual world and if they mirror the physical world as comprehended by the person who reads (Peterson & Bredow, 2019).

Discrimination evaluates if the philosophy will generate suppositions that will result in unique research outcomes, its distinctiveness to the area of nursing it discusses and if it has clear and detailed boundaries and conclusive parameters of the topic. Lastly, a theory’s complexity assesses the number of concepts included as chief components, its description’s complexity, and if it’s understandable without an extensive clarification and explanation. External criticism necessitates the assessor to explain if the hypothesis’ assumptions are factual and if they mirror the real nursing world.

Summing up, determining if a hypothesis is practical for research practice is imperative. Internal and external criticism evaluate middle-range theories. Internal criticism analyzes the interior structure of how the theory’s components correspond with each other. Contrary, external criticism scrutinizes the philosophy and its connection to health, individuals, and nursing. A theory’s systematic and detailed criticism entails both internal and external criticism.


Peterson, S., & Bredow, T. S. (2019). Middle range theories: Application to nursing research and practice. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Risjord, M. (2019). Middle‐range theories as models: New criteria for analysis and evaluation. Nursing Philosophy, 20(1), e12225.

Do you need help with your nursing assignments? Worry no more, we have the best nursing writers at your disposal. We handle all kinds of assignments from essays, research papers, dissertations, capstone projects to term papers. Message us today and get the best deals.