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Chapter 7
Understanding Theory and Research
Frameworks
Copyright © 2011 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
1
Theory’s Role in Research
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Research is based on theory.
Theory is the initial inspiration for research
study.
Research helps answer the question, “Was
my theory correct?”
Copyright © 2011 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
2
Frameworks and Theories
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A framework is a brief explanation of a theory
or portions of a theory to be tested in a study.
A theory is abstract rather than concrete.
It focuses on the general.
The framework may be implicit or implied.
Copyright © 2011 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
3
Conceptual Models
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These are more abstract than theories.
They explain phenomena of interest and
reflect a philosophical stance.
They cannot be tested via research.
They may guide further qualitative studies.
Operational definitions are often found in
these models.
Copyright © 2011 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
4
Elements of a Theory
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Concepts: Abstractly describe and name an object,
idea, or phenomenon, thus providing it with a
separate identity or meaning
Conceptual definition: More comprehensive than a
dictionary definition; includes associated meanings a
word may have
Relational statement: Clarifies the type of
relationship that exists between or among concepts
Map or model: Graphically shows the
interrelationships of the concepts and relational
statements
Copyright © 2011 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
5
Middle Range Theories
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Less abstract and narrower in scope than
conceptual models
Emerge from review of studies to build
evidence-based practice related to a clinical
problem
Copyright © 2011 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
6
Practice and Intervention Theories
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Practice theory is prescriptive theory.
Intervention theory is a form of practice
theory.
These theories direct nursing interventions.
Practice theory research develops into
evidence-based practice.
Copyright © 2011 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
7
Frameworks
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Frameworks explain the theory.
Frameworks give relationships of variables.
This results in the hypothesis, which is
testable.
Copyright © 2011 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
8
Problems with Frameworks
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Inappropriate framework
Disconnected framework
Multiple frameworks
Unidentified framework
Copyright © 2011 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
9
Select Concepts
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Based on relevance to phenomenon of
concern
Must have a concept for every major variable
in study
Examine problem statement for relevant
concepts
Include concepts from purpose statement if
appropriate
Are also called constructs
Copyright © 2011 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
10
Sources of Conceptual Definitions
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Existing theoretical works
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Must be used if proposition from theory being
tested
Always desirable when available
Should be directly quoted (if possible) and cited
Published concept analyses
Copyright © 2011 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
11
Sources of Conceptual Definitions
(cont’d)
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Previous studies using the concept
Publications describing instrument
development
General literature
Performing a concept analysis
Copyright © 2011 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
12
Critiquing a Study Framework
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Concepts are linked with variables that are
measured.
Concepts are represented in hypotheses,
research questions, or objectives.
The hypotheses, research questions, or
objectives are tested statistically.
The hypotheses, research questions, or
objectives emerge from framework
propositions.
Copyright © 2011 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
13
Critiquing a Study Framework (cont’d)
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Look for comments connecting findings to
specific elements of the framework.
Search for comments discussing the
implications of findings in terms of truth or
falsity of framework propositions.
Copyright © 2011 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
14
Critiquing a Study Framework (cont’d)
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Are the findings for each hypothesis,
question, or objective consistent with those
proposed by the framework?
If the findings are not consistent with the
framework, was the methodology adequate to
test the hypothesis, question, or objective?
Are the findings consistent with those of other
studies using the same framework (or testing
the same propositions)?
Copyright © 2011 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
15
Developing Relational Statements
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When possible, they should be obtained from
existing theoretical works and the source
cited.
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Called an existence statement
Otherwise, relationships must be proposed by
researcher.
Also called propositions
Evidence for validity of statement should be
provided.
Copyright © 2011 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
16
Critique Guidelines for Statements
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What statements are expressed within the
publication?
Are all the study concepts included within the
statements?
Do the statements reflect back on the Title and
Purpose of the study?
Are statements expressed as both propositions and
hypotheses (or research questions)?
Are one or more statements being tested by the
study design?
Copyright © 2011 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
17
Conceptual Maps
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Show interrelationship between concepts and
statements
Summarize and integrate what is known
about a phenomenon more clearly than do
literary explanations
Include all major concepts in a theory
Use arrows to explain linkages
Copyright © 2011 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
18
Frameworks for Physiological Studies
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Derived from physics, physiology, and
pathophysiology
Theoretical relationships may be considered
facts rather than theories.
Propositions can be developed and tested
using these laws and principles.
Copyright © 2011 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
19
Frameworks Based on Middle
Range Theories
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Limited scope
Particular substantive focus
Contain limited number of concepts
Focus on limited aspect of relationship
Sufficiently general to be interesting
Empirically testable
Consolidated into wide-range theories
Copyright © 2011 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
20
Frameworks Derived from Qualitative
Studies
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Middle-range theories are developed in some
qualitative studies as outcomes of the study.
These become the basis for clinical practice
and/or as the framework in other qualitative
or quantitative studies.
Copyright © 2011 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
21
Frameworks Including Conceptual
Nursing Models
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Few conceptual models come from a
research tradition.
Researchers are working to develop research
studies to test conceptual models in nursing.
Copyright © 2011 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.
22