Theory Development and Evaluation Nursing as an art and science.

   Theory Development and Evaluation

            Nursing is both an art and a science, with an integrative approach of analyzing a person in their entirety, including their body, mind, and spirit. The art and science aspects are created and examined through the development of theories and their evaluation. Critical and creative thinking of a complex research question is art and a systemic analysis with evidence-based research, along with a critically thought-out evaluation is the science. “Theory is used to refer to diverse work, ranging from very abstract and general conceptual models to less abstract and very concrete models” (Butts, 2018, p 635). Theories are made of ideas and proposals derived from critical analysis and evidence-based research about a phenomenon or specific research enquiry in question. Most nursing theories are health-related clinical open-ended questions specified towards health conditions are interventions to undertake.

                                  Art of Theory Development and Evaluation

            Theories are created by critical analysis of a research question or phenomenon. These ideas are creative by critical thinking including the researcher’s intuition, personal experiences understanding of concept and deep reflections. Developing a theory requires simplicity as well as a well derived thought, reasoning, and evaluation. Choosing a framework is considered to be the art for developing and evaluating complex nursing interventions or questions (Wallner, 2023). Selecting a conceptual model framework guides researchers in specific design model. The art of theory development includes intuition and creative thinking to develop new frameworks and concepts to explain and develop new theories on current phenomena.

                              Science of Development and Evaluation

            A systemic investigation using evidence-based research is the science in theory development and evaluation. The science in theory development focuses on observation, experiences, and critical review of literature. Identifying limitations is a crucial step when creating a sensible theory. Theory development is made up of three components: conceptual model, a theory, and empirical methods (Butts, 2018).  A hypothesis is formulated by the researcher and then tested through empirical methods which includes collecting data and deep analysis. A peer review of the theory must take place for scientific validation of the research findings.


            As you can see, developing and evaluating a theory is an integration of art and science. A theory is developed by an artsy creative mind integrated with evidence-based research and peer review for validity. In theory development empirical methods are observed to support the ideas and newfound reasonings. Art and science are both crucial when developing theories as it brings together personal experiences, beliefs, and institutions with science to help nurses and medical practitioners better understand certain situations, interventions, and outcomes.

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