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In the ever-evolving area of nursing research, evaluating hypotheses that fall somewhere in the center is an essential component. The middle-range nursing theory attempts to bridge the gap between academic research and clinical application (Butcher, 2021). Compared to other kinds of theories, such as the grand nursing theories, middle-range approaches are simpler to execute, have a greater degree of specificity, and are characterized by a precise and constrained dimension. Theories that fall within the middle range are subjected to external and internal examination to determine their usefulness (Astley, 2019).

The connection of an idea and its relationship or union to well-being, persons, or nursing may be seen via the lens of external criticism directed at a theory. Internal critique of middle-range theories involves examining the inside arrangement of how the theory maintains unity amongst its many parts. The assessment process should consider internal and external criticism, even though the two types are distinct. The parameters for determining how well each theory holds up against internal and external scrutiny are different (Risjord, 2018). When conducting an internal critique, evaluating a method includes reviewing the approach’s logical development, consistency, clarity, and suitability (Risjord, 2018). On the other hand, the grounds for external critique include the approach’s usefulness, complexity, actuality, and breadth.

Internal critique assesses the middle range theory’s clarity as a first step. One example is checking if the evaluated method incorporates a theory’s core components (Risjord, 2018). Before putting the strategy into action, it is assessed to ensure that it has been fully grasped. Then, the theory’s consistency is used to provide concise explanations of the fundamental ideas, while the theory’s adequacy guarantees that there are no unaccounted-for holes in the logic (Risjord, 2018). After confirming the identity of all parties involved, the logical progression of the argument is taken into account to confirm its conclusion.

Risjord (2018) suggests that while evaluating a middle-range theory based on external critique, it is necessary first to identify how difficult it will be for readers to grasp the method before swiftly putting it into practice. The approach’s worth may be gauged based on how well it serves the nursing profession’s immediate needs. Another criterion used to ensure that a specific set of concepts is being used in a restricted context in nursing practice is the study’s scope (Risjord, 2018). Theorists make numerous assumptions; thus, it is essential to evaluate how well these predictions hold up to the scrutiny of the nursing practice community.


Astley, W. G. (2019). Administrative science as socially constructed truth. In Postmodern Management Theory (pp. 3-19). Routledge.

Butcher, H. K. (2021). Commentary and Book Review of Middle Range Theories: Application to Nursing Research and Practice (5th Edition) by Sandra J. Peterson and Timothy S. Bredow (2020). Nursing Science Quarterly, 34(2), 211–216.

Risjord, M. (2018). Middle-range theories as models: New criteria for analysis and evaluation. Nursing Philosophy, 20(1), e12225.