Finding Theory for Practice

September 16th, 2013

One question that’s been asked a lot recently concerns various nursing theorists.  Our databases can be great sources for this kind of information.  Major nursing databases like CINAHL, Health Source: Nursing Edition, and MedLine are a great place to start.

Try truncating or reducing the number of words in the search to find more articles.  For example, Dorothea Orem AND Self Care Deficit Theory comes back with only one result while Dorothea Orem AND Self Care comes back with dozens.  Just searching Orem AND Self Care returns almost four hundred, but many of these are just about the application of her theory rather than having much about Orem herself.  In the same way, Imogene King AND Conceptual Theory finds less than Imogene King AND Concept* does.

Alternatively, if their theory deals more with psychology or behavioral development, adding databases like SocIndex or PsycInfo can be helpful.  For example, Jean Watson AND Caring finds more with the psychology databases added than with the nursing databases alone.

Other databases like Nursing & Allied Health Source can yield similar results, for theories and theorists as varied as Imogene King’s Goal Attainment theory, Callista Roy’s Adaptation model, Helen Erickson’s Role-modeling theory, or Martha Rogers’s Unitary theory.  Another great place to look is Biography in Context.  This will have more information about the theorist rather than the theory, but can be a great source of academic biographical information.

All of our other nursing databases can be found here.  And if you need help using these or other resources, don’t hesitate to ask us at!

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