Analogies and metaphors Collaring Personification Laddering Self Scripts Storytelling Face to face courses Coaching Feedback Top of Form Bottom of Form Grounded theory was developed by Barney Glares and Ansell Strauss in 1967, partly as a reaction against ‘Grand Theory – the very abstract, conceptual theories used in sociology at the time. There are technically three different versions of the theory as Glares and Strauss later diverged in their views about forcing or emerging theory; the original 1967, a 1978 and a 1992 version.
However the essence is still the same – a theory grounded in the behavior, words and actions of those under study. Grounded theory research enters the worlds of respondents to observe the environment, interactions and interpretations that people make. It’s a systematic and rigorous approach to collecting and analyzing qualitative data to enhance our understanding of a social or psychological phenomena. It is meant to be explanatory rather than descriptive. The theory that emerges is a set of relationships that offer a plausible explanation of the phenomenon under study. Strauss & Carbon, 1994). The hurry is developed by constructing alternative explanations until a best fit is developed – best fit being the simplest model that links as many of the diverse findings as possible in a useful and pragmatic way. Grounded theory is best used for topics of interest where relatively little is already known, as it enables the researcher to build their own theory from the ground up. The Process of discovering the theory Raising Generative Questions before the fieldwork?
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Grounded theory is sometimes presented as requiring a blank slate to start with, but according to Colluding (1999) this is a misconception. Familiarity with previous theories helps with pattern recognition and conceptual leverage – however if the subject area has been extensively researched and there is already a large body of knowledge it may be hard to use Grounded theory as the researcher will be full of preconceptions and may end up testing existing work rather than developing new ideas.
Strauss and Carbon (1990) argue it is best not to conduct a literature review beforehand but that the researcher should analyses their own feelings and prejudices. If generative questions are raised during the setting up of the project they remain open to change. Multi-method research – a generous definition of data Grounded theory may be based on single or multiple sources of data – interviews, observations, focus groups, case studies, experiential research but the methods need to remain relatively unstructured.
The more structured the method the more the preconceptions of the researcher can influence the data. (However respondents need some structure to know what to talk about). ‘All is data’ – newspaper articles, conversations, TV shows, can also be included as the subject of study if they are relevant. The different directions of Glares and Strauss Gleaner’s current approach, which can be found at www. Groundsheet. Com, findings during the writing up. The idea is to aid inductive thinking and the emergence of theory as much as possible using preconscious processing.
In this case the data that is analyses consists of the researcher’s own notes (memos). Glares also emphasizes theoretical sensitivity, which is the researchers ability to understand the meaning and sensitivity of data. Glares does use 18 theoretical coding families, while Strauss (now dead but whose ideas live on in Strauss and Carbon) is described as forcing theory through the rigorous coding process described below. Continuous interplay between collection and analysis. You analyses during data collection.
In grounded theory analysis is iterative – it starts as soon as there is some data and it may be that you choose to collect other cases or data from different people as the analysis develops. For example if the study is about encouraging children to do homework and parents and teachers are first interviewed, it may emerge that older siblings are influential and may need to be added to the sample. This is called theoretical sampling, where the sample is driven by the emerging theory. Data s collected until the point of saturation – where no more is being learnt.
Different types of coding (ways of thinking to help you develop the theory) Note that these are not Just coding as labeling – they are interpretative processes. Open coding to develop categories (being OPEN to ideas) Axial coding to connect the categories in new ways Selective coding – to build the story In grounded theory analysis starts with open or substantive coding – by sentence, paragraph, or line by line, to determine what the data consists of. Example is from Graham R Gibbs, University of Heidelberg on Youth Open coding breaks down he data into units of meaning – identifying the concepts the data is related to.
For example “I’m not very good at math” might be coded as “Eng self-attribution [math”. The idea is to begin developing concepts at the first level of abstraction. Open coding should avoid restating what respondents said and go up to motivations and intentions. According to Callaghan (1996) the key questions to be asking during open coding are: What is happening in this data? What is the basic (socio-psychological) problem? (It started with sociology but can be applied to many other types of problems) What accounts for it? What patterns are occurring here?
Or simply: who (are the relevant actors), what (does it mean to the people involved), why (what are the motivations), where (how does the environment affect what happens) when, how? Strauss and Carbon also suggest using What if analogy questions? What if the weight lifter was a violinist? What would they need to know or do? What does the weight lifter do that a violinist also needs to do? These are examples of questions that help theoretical sensitivity, help pull out the implications of the data, and there are many others. Codes are refined through constant imprison.
Take a situation and the codes applied to it, and compare with a similar situation. Most likely the codes will have to change or evolve in order to include both the situations. Then retrieve all the text has the same codes, and refine the codes further (or create new ones) to fit that text. At some point there will be saturation – no further changes, variations, illuminations can be made, and then it’s time to stop. Researcher does mooing (notes to self, a thought dump’) to capture thoughts and insights that arise during the coding process. (E. G.
Idea: does perception of being DOD at a subject influence willingness to do homework? ) There may well be some visual display in order to see how codes are related to each other, because closely related codes become a category. The codes should relate to the same phenomenon, and then the category needs to be named. This stage is quite likely to bring in theoretical ideas, as you will be referring to social or psychological phenomena. Strauss & Carbon suggest it’s useful to use words or concepts from the participants in the naming. Codes and categories can be dimensionality – they have a range of properties.
These are explored by the researcher, to see if they can be applied elsewhere. For example the concept of Attention, might include the properties of focus vs.. Distraction, short versus long spans, selective versus general, watching, listening, etc. (These might be called sub-codes). Axial coding is about the relationships between codes/concepts and is the basis of the theory. Examples are: how is code A related to Code B? Does one maybe cause another? Are there correlations or intervening variables? What influences the central phenomena – if you have one. What kind of strategies are being used, what consequences may there e?
The coding paradigm can be a visual representation of the model as it is being built and often includes actions, interactions and consequences. Selective coding is aiming to identify a single category as the Central Phenomenon in order to build a story. This can be very hard, as there may be lots of important categories, especially as the core category (or at the most 2 or 3) should account for a large proportion of the behavior observed and be based on recurring themes from the data. This is then put into a narrative that forms the report of the research.
Later versions of rounded theory suggest it’s important to have an Integrative diagram and/or to work in a group session where different members of the research team are able to interact and share ideas to increase insight. The one at left shows using the process of grounded theory in research on how the Internet has affected the correspondence art network. Some also suggest there should be verification. One of the drawbacks of grounded theory is that it can result in theories with a high level of internal logic and validity, but it is not clear to what extent and for how long, the theory can be applied to other situations.
According to Glares and Strauss, how good a theory is can be Judged by Closeness of fit between theory and data How understandable it is (by a lay person working in the field) How it can generalize to diverse situations Whether it can allow some control or change of the situations.