Grounded Theory

In the search of the proper research methodology for our project, I had a look into constructivism and now I will talk about grounded theory in the view of Glaser, Strauss, and Corbin.

The new wave of views upon research brought to light very interesting and useful ideas, one of them is grounded theory. This approach makes the researcher to leave all the views settled for his research along side and to start the investigation with clear eyes, without any preconceived ideas to prove or disprove. In this way the accent if put on the constructions of theories “about issues of importance in peoples lives”. (Glaser, 1978; Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Strauss & Corbin, 1998)

This requires a process of data collection and interpretation with the purpose of creating theories from people’s experiences and their issues of importance, usually that have a shared interest with the researcher.  In the analysation of data, the research makes comparisons initial data with data, and afterwards with other sources.

Depending on the researcher’s ontological and epistemological beliefs, there are several points of departure along a spiral of methodological development. Engaging in any form of grounded theory study, however, requires the researcher to address a set of common characteristics: theoretical sensitivity, theoretical sampling, treatment of the literature, constant comparative methods, coding, the meaning of verification, identifying the core category, memoing and diagramming, and the measure of rigour (McCann & Clark, 2003).

In the history of grounded theory it can be seen two different approaches: traditional (Glaser) and evolved grounded theory (Strauss and Corbin). For this research we believed that the evolved grounded theory is more appropriate and closer to constructivism.

Strauss and Corbin, in the evolution of grounded theory, acknowledge the importance of a multiplicity of perspectives and “truths” (Strauss, 1987; Strauss & Corbin, 1990, 1994, 1998) and as such have “extended and emphasised the range of theoretically sensitising concepts that must be attended to in the analysis of human action/interaction” (MacDonald, 2001, p. 137). This enables an analysis of data and a reconstruction of theory that is richer and more reflective of the context in which participants are situated. They insist that theirs is “interpretive work and . . . interpretations must include the perspectives and voice of the people who we study ” (Strauss&Corbin, 1994, p. 274). Such a position clearly implies that this perspective includes relating participants’ stories to the world in which the participants live.

In the following articles I will explain more about evolved grounded theory and I will explain how grounded theory can fuse with constructivism and why is the best approach for our research.

MacDonald, M. (2001). Finding a critical perspective in grounded theory. In R. Schreiber & P. N. Stern (Eds.), Using grounded theory in nursing (pp. 113-158). New York: Springer;

McCann, T., & Clark, E. (2003). Grounded theory in nursing research: Part 3—Application. Nurse Researcher,11(2), 29-39;

Glaser, B. (1978). Theoretical sensitivity: Advances in the methodology of grounded theory. Mill Valley, CA: Sociology Press;

Glaser, B. (1992). Basics of grounded theory analysis: Emergence vs. forcing. Mill Valley, CA: Sociology Press;

Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. Chicago:Aldine;

Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Newbury Park, CA: Sage;

Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1994). Grounded theory methodology: An overview. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 273-285). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage;

Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Eduard Claudiu Vasile

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2 thoughts on “Grounded Theory

    • We had a look on different approaches when we decided that constructivist grounded theory fits our project.
      I don’t believe critical realism fits. One of the reasons may be that realist epistemology denies relativism and as a second reason, implies human agency with intentions, which is against our ontological position.

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