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Posted: February 11th, 2024

Discussion week 5. Using the criteria presented in week 2

Discussion week 5. Using the criteria presented in week 2 (paper below), critique the theory of Self-Efficacy using the internal and external criticism evaluation process. Please include 400 in your initial post with two schoolary articles by wedneaday midnight and 200 word in two answers to your peers.

Evaluating Middle-Range Theories with Internal and External Criticism
Course: Advanced Theoretical Perspectives for Nursing

Evaluating Middle-Range Theories with Internal and External Criticism
This discussion is based on the evaluation of middle-range theories using internal and external criticism to strive for truth in adaptation. Among the aspects we would like to explore are the detailed features of these theories, analyzing them from both internal and external perspectives with emphasis being placed on inward criticism. Internally, we analyze consistency among conceptual elements in the middle-range theories using specific connections within them. This comprehensive analysis is an attempt to detect and correct possible discrepancies, leading to a single theory. Besides their definition, clear concepts have practical utility as they facilitate the removal of barriers in empirical development.
Internal Criticism
Predominantly, internal criticism includes logical consistency and conceptual clarity, which is critical to strengthen the theoretical structure of the theory and improve its ability as a guiding lens for empirical studies. The logic of internal coherence in this theory is analyzed to look for any problems internally. This involves a rigorous analysis of the connections among concepts to determine whether they are logically coherent (Hazaea et al. 2021). A well-developed and coherent theory provides a sound basis for further researches. But in parallel, conceptual integrity is crucial; unambiguous and exact terminologies within the theory are vital. Ambiguities or uncertainties in the conceptual framework may obstruct a seamless flow of using theories in empirical studies.
Along with this, internal criticism has logical consistency in reasoning. Therefore, scientists endorse the logic of implied relationships. Here, theoretical assumptions and concepts must be put together logically to form the propositions. The self-critique makes the theoretical framework not only consistent but also coherent. The middle-range theory’s empirical relevancy from an external perspective is one of the fundamental issues to be considered. This includes a critique of the practicality for solving real-life issues. Empirical relevancy of the theory depends on its ability to provide testable hypotheses and predictions, which can be subsequently verified empirically (Hazaea et al. 2021). A theory with no practical use may not find utility in guiding the application of practical research studies.
External Criticism
Externally, middle-range theory reaches out to empirical relevance in everyday matters. This involves assessing the ability of a theory to help with real-world scenarios, create testable hypotheses and make judgments that are subjected to empirical testing. In fact, a theory that has high empirical relevance raises our understanding of phenomena and at the same time offers some pragmatic solutions to use across diverse research settings (Bamberg, & Verkuyten, 2022). This emphasis on empirical applicability reveals the need for external appraisal in evaluating whether a theory is applicable to guiding research tasks.
The other aspect of external criticism is generality, the level to which a middle-range theory can be generalized across different contexts individuals or settings. The wider the concept provided by any theory, the more valuable it becomes to researchers looking for insight that can be transferred or extended into other settings (de Villiers et al. 2022). An understanding of the generalizability in a theory helps improve its practical usefulness for empirical research. External evaluation is comparative adequacy which involves comparing the middle-range theory to other theories. Researchers evaluate the adequateness of a theory to its surrounding competing theories in defining phenomena under interest (Bamberg, & Verkuyten, 2022). This comparative analysis assists in discovering the specific insights and benefits that a particular theory provides, strengthening its role as a guide to research.
However, important external factors include the testability of a middle-range theory. A theory must be constructed to make it inductively testable, meaning that the researcher can collect data which either confirms or rejects its claims. Testability is significant for the scientific validity of a theory and its potential contribution to knowledge.
Ultimately, the assessment of middle-range theories for adaptation in research is a complex process. The internal criticism concentrates on the logic aspect of coherence, conceptual clarity and logical validity. Empirical relevance, generalizability, comparative adequacy and testibility – these should be found externally by assessing the theory. This rigorous evaluation process can be considered useful as it will help ensure that middle-range theories are not only internally robust but also empirically and practically useful in guiding research projects.

Bamberg, K., & Verkuyten, M. (2022). Internal and external motivation to respond without prejudice: a person-centered approach. The Journal of Social Psychology, 162(4), 435-454. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00224545.2021.1917498
de Villiers, C., Hsiao, P. C. K., Zambon, S., & Magnaghi, E. (2022). Sustainability, non-financial, integrated, and value reporting (extended external reporting): a conceptual framework and an agenda for future research. Meditari Accountancy Research, 30(3), 453-471. https://repository.up.ac.za/bitstream/handle/2263/89268/DeVilliers_Sustainability_2022.pdf?sequence=1
Hazaea, S. A., Zhu, J., Al-Matari, E. M., Senan, N. A. M., Khatib, S. F., & Ullah, S. (2021). Mapping of internal audit research in China: A systematic literature review and future research agenda. Cogent Business & Management, 8(1), 1938351. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/23311975.2021.1938351

Internal Criticism:
On analyzing the logical consistency and conceptual clarity internally, Bandura’s self-efficacy theory seems to be well developed. The core concept of self-efficacy which refers to “beliefs in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments” (Bandura, 1997) is clearly defined. The four sources of influence on self-efficacy beliefs – mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, social persuasion, and physiological states are also logically connected to shape one’s self-efficacy. Further, the theory proposes that self-efficacy beliefs determine the goals people set for themselves, their outcome expectations, and how much effort they will expend and how long they will persist in the face of difficulties. The theory suggests people with higher self-efficacy beliefs are more likely to challenge themselves with difficult tasks, invest effort to overcome barriers, and persist in the face of failure compared to those with lower self-efficacy beliefs. Overall, the conceptual elements and relationships proposed in the theory seem logically consistent and coherent.
External Criticism:
In terms of empirical relevance, Bandura’s self-efficacy theory has been widely tested and applied across diverse domains like education, health, sports, work etc. For example, studies have found self-efficacy to predict students’ academic achievement and motivation (Zimmerman, 2000). Research also suggests self-efficacy influences health behaviors and patient outcomes (Holden, 1991). The theory also seems to have good generalizability as evidenced by its application across cultures and contexts. Further, the theory is testable as it provides clear hypotheses about the influence of self-efficacy on outcomes that can be empirically verified. For instance, the hypothesis that people with higher self-efficacy will persist longer on difficult tasks can be empirically tested.
Some potential limitations could be that the theory does not consider other individual factors like personality that may also influence behaviors and outcomes independent of self-efficacy. Also, the theory does not account for environmental/situational factors that can impact the development and expression of self-efficacy beliefs. Despite these minor limitations, Bandura’s self-efficacy theory has strong empirical support and continues to be widely applied in research.
In summary, Bandura’s self-efficacy theory seems to withstand both internal and external criticism reasonably well based on the evaluation criteria discussed. The theory demonstrates logical consistency, clear conceptualization and high empirical relevance. It has significantly advanced our understanding of human motivation and behavior.
Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.
Holden, G. (1991). The relationship of self-efficacy appraisals to subsequent health related outcomes: A meta-analysis. Social Work in Health Care, 16, 53-93.
Zimmerman, B. J. (2000). Self-efficacy: An essential motive to learn. Contemporary educational psychology, 25(1), 82-91.

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