Conceptual Components of Theory

As with research, concepts play a critical role in theory development.

Consider for a moment the purpose of theory and its application to nursing practice. At the heart of any theory—which seeks to describe, explain, predict, or prescribe—lies the concept or concepts to be explored or addressed. Within the iterative process of theory development, concepts must be defined and refined as the relationships between them are identified in order to articulate “ reality” and inform effective practice.

To prepare:

  • Reflect on the information presented Learning Resources, including Chapter 4 of Theoretical Basis for Nursing. How and why do concepts serve as the building blocks of theory?
  • Brainstorm a list of middle range theories that have been applied in nursing practice. Then, select one with which you are most familiar. If necessary, refer to Chapter 10 or 11 in the course textbook, Theoretical Basis for Nursing, for ideas. You may also conduct additional research using the Walden Library or other scholarly databases.
  • Contemplate the various conceptual components of your selected theory, including how they are defined, linked to the real world, observed, and measured.

By Day 3 post a cohesive response that addresses the following:

  • Discuss the conceptual components of your selected middle range theory as applied to nursing practice.
  • How are these components observed and measured in practice? Provide at least two specific examples.
  • Share any insights into how the theory has developed or changed based on the testing of the concepts.