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Middle Range Theory

A Perspective on Development and Use

Liehr, Patricia PhD, RN; Smith, Mary Jane PhD, RN, FAAN

doi: 10.1097/ANS.0000000000000162
Original Articles

This replication and critique addresses ongoing development and use of middle range theory since considering this body of nursing knowledge 18 years ago. Middle range theory is appreciated as essential to the structure of nursing knowledge. Nine middle range theories that demonstrate ongoing use by the theory authors are analyzed using the criteria of theory name, theory generation, disciplinary perspective, theory model, practice use and research use. Critique conclusions indicate the importance of staying with the theory over time, naming and development consistent with the disciplinary perspective, movement to an empirical level, and bringing middle range theory to the interdisciplinary table.

Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton (Dr Liehr); and School of Nursing, West Virginia University, Morgantown (Dr Smith).

Correspondence: Patricia Liehr, PhD, RN, Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, Florida Atlantic University, 777 Glades Rd #330, Boca Raton, FL 33431 (

The authors thank Manika Petcharat, who supported the literature search for this publication.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.