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A Philosophical Perspective for Development of Scientific Nursing Theory

Reed, Pamela G., PhD, RN, FAAN

doi: 10.1097/ANS.0000000000000249
The Focus of the Discipline

Nursing is not only a professional practice, it is a scientific practice as well. One aspect of this practice involves development of scientific theory. In this article, I present a philosophical perspective called intermodernism for considering the content, structure, and process of scientific theory. Three types of theory structure are reviewed along with descriptions of the use of models and mechanisms in knowledge development. Practice is championed as a context that informs theory development as well as a context of theory validation and application.

College of Nursing, The University of Arizona, Tucson.

Correspondence: Pamela G. Reed, PhD, RN, FAAN, College of Nursing, The University of Arizona, 1305 N. Martin St, Tucson, AZ 85721 (

The author has no disclosures to report.

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