Theory-guided research paper

Theory-guided research paper

Research studies take different frameworks that guide the activities throughout the study. The theoretical framework entails the concepts that the study will follow while the conceptual framework encompasses the variables that are affected by the study. This article critiques a research paper conducted on obesity among the midlife women that was using both Dorothea Orem’s self-care theory and the rural nursing theory.

Problem and the reason for the research.

Obesity has turned to be a health crisis not only to the United States, but also to the entire world. According to Burdette (2010), the rate of obesity is above 25% in 38 states in the US, with about two-thirds of the adult population being either obese or overweight. The prevalence of the condition has increased over the years with its economic burden being a national, state and global concern. The healthcare expenditures for obesity and related diseases in both United States and European countries are high; andmight rise even higher if the trend continues for the next couple of years.

The provided non-experimental, predictive correlational research aimed at examining the relationship between Self-Care Agency (SCA), Self-Care Practices (SCP) and obesity amongst the rural midlife women. During the study, barriers and facilitators to SCP and SCA were also examined. A hypothesis on the causal model on the self-care of the midlife women was developed and tested in the study as well.

The theory and the basic concepts of the theory.

The study was conducted under the guidance of a theoretical framework from both Dorothea Orem’s self-care theory and rural nursing theory. Dorothea Orem’s theory is a grand nursing theory as it covers concepts that apply to various aspects of nursing care. The basic concepts covered by the theory entail self-care, which refers to the activities that an individual engages in on their behalf to maintain life and promote their well-being and health (Alligood, 2014). Self-Care Agency, on the other hand, refers to the ability of an individual to take part in self-care, and this is influenced by the basic conditioning factors such as gender, age, health status, environmental factors and resource availability. The theory also determines health as one of the components of self-care; defining it as being sound both structurally and functionally that applies to both an individual as well as groups of people.

The rural nursing theory is a middle range theory incepted on the recognition of the need for the development of a framework that would consider the needs and perspectives of individuals receiving the care (Smith and Parker, 2015). The basic concepts from this theory include: health beliefs, work beliefs, self-reliance, isolation, distance, outsider/insider, lack of anonymity, newcomer/old-timer, lay care networks, professional isolation, informal networks, and familiarity. These concepts are attributed to the rural surrounding that influences individuals’ practices towards their health and that of the community. It affects their self-care practices and ability to take part in the self-care agency.

Describe how the theory guides the research.

The basic concepts of the two theories were used to guide the research process in the study. They were incorporated into the instruments that were used for data collection. The instruments included the Demographic instrument, Denyes Self-Care Agency Instrument and Denyes Self-Care Practices Instrument (Burdette, 2010). The demographic instrument dwelt on the basic conditioning factors that were based on the recommendation by Orem’s theory. The self-care agency concept from the Orem’s model was measured by the use of Denyes Self-Care Agency instrument. It quantifies the ego strength, health knowledge, value of health, feelings, attention to health and decision-making capability.

The self-care activities were measured using Denyes Self-Care Practice Instrument, in line with the Orem’s self-care requisites as it was based on the self-care theory by Dorothea Orem. The participants were asked to define health with their response compared to the definition from the Orem’s and rural nursing theories to determine their needs.

CT (E) diagram from the research study.


1.       Distance.














Recommendation how the study findings might improve nursing practice.

With the study determining the significant facilitators and barriers to the self-care agency in rural midlife women, it acts as a guide to the nursing team of areas of concern and the strategies that can be employed to influence such a population (Burdette, 2010). For instance, the level of education as a critical facilitator can be used as a crucial aspect of impacting the health status of a population. Education status can be invested on significantly while on the other hand, the nursing team can incorporate health teachings into the education curriculum to make the people knowledgeable. The positive impact of knowledge on health can be used by the nursing team to intensify health education on the flyers, media and through campaigns. These efforts would not only enhance health awareness in the society, but also promote self-care practices and keep the population healthy. The barriers also would be a significant area of the concentration of health practitioners. Through collaboration with other departments, harmful practices that deter self-care can be curbed by use of policies.


The theory-guided research uses the concepts in the distinct theories to guide its activities in the entire study. The concepts covered in the rural nursing theory and Dorothea Orem’s self-care theory provides the framework from which the obesity among the rural midlife women was evaluated. The facilitators and barriers to self-care agency and practices from the center of reference which are critical for improvement by the nursing practitioners.




Alligood, M. R. (2014). Nursing theorists and their work. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Burdette, L. (2010). Relationship between self-care agency, self-care practices and obesity

among rural mid-life women. South Dakota State University.

Schomberg, T. (2016). Relationship between self-care agency, self-care practices, and body mass

index among nursing professionals. South Dakota State University.

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