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Levels of Abstraction

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Mady Greene

on 11 February 2015

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Transcript of Levels of Abstraction

theoretical framework: arbitrage and abstraction
self-care theories illustrate various levels of abstraction
applicability vs testability
researchers and practitioners should know and critically apply theories to advance the discipline
What do we mean by "levels" of abstraction?
"Abstraction" vs "Arbitrage"
identifies "robust" qualities of reality
a strategy of exploiting differences
"Applicability to Practice"
"To bridge the gap between theory and practice, we need a mode of inquiry that converts the information provided by both scholars and practitioners into actions that address problems of what to do in a given domain."
What are some abstractions important to nursing?
Middle-Range Theories
Situation-Specific Theories
Focus on specific nursing phenomena that reflect clinical practice
Limited to specific populations or field of practice
Socially, politically, culturally & historically contextualized
Do not transcend time and limited in scope
Less abstract than MRT
Include blueprints for nursing practice
(Meleis, 1997, & Im, 2005)

Grand Theory
Broadest scope
Highest abstraction
Not empirically testable
Defines nature, mission, goals of nursing
Debated connection to research and practice
Levels of Abstraction in Nursing Theory
Based on "engaged scholarship"
by Van de Ven & Johnson, 2006
"the quality of dealing with ideas rather than events"
any theory is an abstraction
Theories that:
Have limited scope
Are less abstract
Address specific phenomena or concepts but reflect a wide variety of nursing care situations
Relate to nursing practice
(Meleis, 2012)
Developing middle-range theories:
Not linear, not one path
May have roots in different sources
Emerges slowly
Dynamic process

Madelyne Z. Greene, Lauren Johnson, and Sue Keim
N753: Dr. Eun-ok Im

Issue Statement:

How does nursing theory deal with abstraction? What is the applicability of nursing theories to practice at different levels of abstraction?

Why do we care?
Substantive Foundation
within the focus of nursing discipline
specific assumptions and congruent focus
middle range discourse with substantive description of phenomena
origins in practice/research experience
Structural Integrity
clearly defined concepts
at middle range of abstraction
limited number of concepts
logically represented with a model
Functional Adequacy
theory applicable to variety of practice environments
empirical indicators evident
published examples of theory use in practice
published examples of research r/t theory
evolved through inquiry
Im, 2005
Riegel's Situation-Specific Theory
of Heart Failure Self-Care
Orem's Self-Care Deficit Theory of Nursing
Riegels' Theory of Self-Care of Chronic Illness (MRT)
How it differs from Orem’s Grand Theory:
Smaller scope (chronic illness only)
Addresses process of self-care vs. specific activities
Less attention on nurse intervention but rather codifies individual’s (with chronic illness) behaviors
Not specific to nursing but rather all healthcare professionals’ role in promoting self-care

Riegel et al, 2012

Theory evolved from the situation-specific theory of heart failure self-care
Situated in the context of mutually rewarding relationship between provider and patients
Facilitates self-care engagement in chronic illness
Influenced by Orem’s grand theory

Riegel et al, 2012

(Mitchell, 2003 and Van de Ven & Johnson, 2006)
(Butts, 2011)
Ladder of Abstraction (Smith & Liehr, 2008)
Theory of self-care
Theory of self-care deficit
Theory of nursing systems
Theory of dependent care

Positive relationship between level of abstraction and scope
Inverse relationship between level of abstraction and testability
(Higgins & Moore, 2000)
Applicability to Nursing Practice
(Alligood, 2014; Meleis, 2014)
Smith & Liehr, 2014.
(Alligood, 2014; Meleis, 2014)
(Alligood, 2014)
Smith & Liehr, 2014
Smith & Liehr, 2014
Im, 2005.
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