Theoretical Frameworks

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Chapter 6

Theoretical Frameworks

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Question

Tell whether the following statement is true or false:

A theory is an abstraction that purports to account for or explain phenomena.

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Answer

True

A theory is an abstraction that purports to account for or explain phenomena.

Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Question

What is a descriptive theory?

An abstract generalization that systematically explains relationships among phenomena

A theory that thoroughly describes a phenomenon, based on rich observations of it

A theory attempt to describe large segments of the human experience

A theory that focuses on a specific aspect of human experience

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Answer

B

Classical theory: an abstract generalization that systematically explains relationships among phenomena

Descriptive theory: a theory that thoroughly describes a phenomenon, based on rich observations of it

Grand theory: a theory that attempts to explain large aspects of human experience

Middle-range theory: a theory that focuses on a specific aspect of human experience

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Theory

An abstraction that purports to account for or explain phenomena

  • Classical theory: an abstract generalization that systematically explains relationships among phenomena
  • Descriptive theory: a theory that thoroughly describes a phenomenon, based on rich observations of it

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Theory (cont.)

  • Grand theory: a theory that attempts to explain large aspects of human experience
  • Middle-range theory: a theory that focuses on a specific aspect of human experience

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Question

Tell whether the following statement is true or false:

Schematic models are graphic, theory-driven representations of phenomena and their interrelationships using symbols or diagrams and a minimal use of words.

Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Answer

True

Schematic models are graphic, theory-driven representations of phenomena and their interrelationships using symbols or diagrams and a minimal use of words.

Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Conceptual Models

  • Deal with abstractions, assembled in a coherent scheme
  • Represent a less formal attempt than theories to explain phenomena
  • Do not have formal propositions about relationships among phenomena

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Framework

  • Theoretical framework (based on theory)
  • Conceptual framework (based on a conceptual model)

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Commonalities between Theories and Conceptual Models

  • Use concepts as building blocks
  • Require conceptual definitions of key concepts
  • Can be depicted in a schematic model
  • Are created by humans
  • Are developed inductively

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Commonalities between Theories and Conceptual Models (cont.)

  • Cannot be proven—they are supported to greater or lesser degrees
  • Can be used to generate hypotheses
  • Can serve as a stimulus to research

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5-Step Process for Developing Conceptual Definitions

Develop a preliminary definition.

Do an in-depth literature review.

Identify exemplary cases.

Map the concept’s meaning.

State the revised conceptual
definition.

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Conceptual Models of Nursing

Formal explanations of what nursing practice is

Four concepts central to models of nursing:

  • Person
  • Environment
  • Health
  • Nursing

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Conceptual Models Used Frequently by Nurse Researchers

Conceptual models of nursing:

Roy’s Adaptation Model

Rogers’ Science of Unitary Human Beings

Other models developed by nurses:

Pender’s Health Promotion Model (HPM)

Mishel’s Uncertainty in Illness Theory

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Examples of Non-Nursing Models by Nurse Researchers

  • Becker’s Health Belief Model (HBM)
  • Lazarus and Folkman’s Theory of Stress and Coping
  • Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory
  • Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB)

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The Use of Theories or Models in Quantitative Research

  • Testing a theory
  • Testing two competing theories
  • Using a theory/model as an organizing structure
  • Fitting a problem into theory
  • Developing an original theory/model

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Question

What type of theory do some qualitative researchers seek to develop that provide data-driven explanations to account for phenomena under study?

Grounded

Ethnography

Phenomenology

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Answer

A

Some qualitative researchers specifically seek to develop grounded theories, data-driven explanations to account for phenomena under study through inductive processes. Ethnography is cultural theories—ideational and materialistic. Phenomenology is the phenomenologic theory of human experience.

Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Theories in Qualitative Research

  • Substantive theory—conceptualizations of the target phenomena
  • Theory embedded in a research tradition

Grounded theory (symbolic interactionism)

Ethnography (cultural theories: ideational and materialistic)

Phenomenology (phenomenologic theory of human experience)

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Examples of Questions to Assess a
Model or Theory

  • Clarity: Are key concepts defined? Are definitions clear?
  • Complexity: Is the theory sufficiently rich? Overly complex?
  • Grounding: Is there an empirical basis for the theory?

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Examples of Questions to Assess a Model or Theory (cont.)

  • Appropriateness: Are key concepts within the domain of nursing?
  • Importance: Will testing the theory contribute to nursing’s evidence base?
  • Competition: Are there theories that better explain the key phenomenon?

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