Collaborative development of middle-range nursing theories: toward a theory of unpleasant symptoms

ANS Adv Nurs Sci. 1995 Mar;17(3):1-13. doi: 10.1097/00012272-199503000-00003.


One promising approach to strengthening theory-research and theory-practice linkages is to place greater emphasis on developing and using theories of the middle range to underpin nursing research and practice. In this article, a postpositivistic definition of middle-range theory is advanced, an argument is made for shifting nursing's theory development activities from discipline-defining grand theories to middle-range theories, and a collaborative and incremental approach to middle-range theory development is described and illustrated. A sustained substantive example is provided by the beginning development of a theory of unpleasant symptoms.

MeSH terms

  • Dyspnea / complications
  • Dyspnea / nursing
  • Fatigue / complications
  • Fatigue / nursing
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Nursing Theory*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / nursing