Theory and Its Elements in Nursing Research


The concept of theory in any discipline implies a set of interrelated ideas and approaches which help to systematize the existing knowledge. Theories base on definitions propositions, models, etc., which are directly or implicitly connected to the discipline. For example, the conceptions of nursing theories include patients and communication with them, the environment, health, and nursing’s actual goals, functions, and roles. Moreover, it could be useful to include the description of nursing practice, the history of the discipline, and further strategies of development. Formation of different views on the phenomenon, logic, generalization, and foundations for further hypotheses compose the fundamental characteristics of nursing theories (Smith & Parker, 2015). When all the aspects of theory are considered, the final results of a specific work are likely to become more effective and successful, which could also help the individuals in need.

Quantitative Research Designs

Research design requires an elaborate plan for conducting a study, where a purpose, literature review and framework establish its basis. The group of quantitative research designs consists of descriptive study, correlational study, quasi-experimental study, and experimental study, where each type has its specific nature. According to Burns, Gray and Grove, the fundamental relevant concepts of design to examine during the research are causality, multicausality, probability, bias, control, and manipulation, including their peculiarities. It is crucial to consider to control each aspect of the research and perform replication of it to avoid inaccuracies and mistakes. Finally, it is strongly recommended to appraise the research critically with the aim of revealing its weaknesses and correct them.

Examining Populations and Samples in Research

The sampling appears to be one of the most crucial factors for successful research in nursing. While developing a sampling plan, one should not forget to analyze the target group of participants among the population, considering inclusion and exclusion criteria, and discriminating homogeneous and heterogeneous samples. The diversity between the population mean and the mean of the sample is called a sampling error, that contains either systematic (bias) or random variations. Furthermore, the sample size must be taken into account, containing a range of factors such as effect size, type of quantitative study conducted, number of variables, measurement sensitivity, and data analysis techniques (Burns et al., 2014). A similar elaborate appraisal should also be conducted in order to confirm the correctness of the provided sampling.


Burns, N., Gray, J. R., & Grove, S. K. (2014). Understanding nursing research: Building an evidence-based practice (6th edition) Philadelphia, USA: Saunders.

Smith, M. C., & Parker, M. E. (2015). Nursing theories and nursing practice. Philadelphia, USA: FA Davis.