An overview of structuration theory and its usefulness for nursing research

Authors

  • Mary-Ann R. Hardcastle RN BA DipEd MPHTM PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Staff Educator, Staff Development Unit, Townsville Health Service District,
      Dr Mary-Ann R. Hardcastle, Staff Development Unit, Townsville Health Service District, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia. Tel.: + 61 74796 2567 (w), + 61 74728 4193 (h); fax: + 61 74796 2561; e-mail: Mary-Ann_Hardcastle@health.qld.gov.au
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  • Kim J. Usher RN RPN DNE DHS BA MNSt PhD,

    1. Associate Professor and
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  • Colin A. Holmes RMHN BA(Hons) TCert MPhil PhD

    1. Professor, School of Nursing Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia
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Dr Mary-Ann R. Hardcastle, Staff Development Unit, Townsville Health Service District, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia. Tel.: + 61 74796 2567 (w), + 61 74728 4193 (h); fax: + 61 74796 2561; e-mail: Mary-Ann_Hardcastle@health.qld.gov.au

Abstract

Abstract  Anthony Giddens’ theory of structuration is a theory of social action, which claims that society should be understood in terms of action and structure; a duality rather than two separate entities. This paper introduces some of the central characteristics of structuration theory, presenting a conceptual framework that helps to explore how people produce the systems and structures that shape their practice. By understanding how people produce and reproduce structures, then there is the potential for changing them. Criticisms that have been raised about the theory are introduced, followed by examples of how the theory might be useful to nursing research. Structuration theory can be employed to explore how nurses produce, reproduce, and transform nursing practice through social interaction across time and space.

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