Presentation on theme: "Karen Locke, Ph D W. Brooks George Professor Mason School of Business"— Presentation transcript:
1 Making Sense of Qualitative Data: The Grounded Theory Approach to Discovery Karen Locke, Ph DW. Brooks George ProfessorMason School of BusinessCollege of William and Mary
2 ContextWhat is the situation in which we come to be participating in a workshop on grounded theory today?
3 Qualitative Research in management & Organization studies Prosecuted within an increasingly differentiated institutional contextWithout an infrastructure of courses and apprenticeships to match interestAn expanding “umbrella domain”
4 Where is the grounded theory tradition today 7,640,000
6 GROUNDED THEORY IN MANAGEMENT & ORG. STUDIES TODAY GT as a signifier typifying non hypothetico- deductive research (the theory building)??GT as a ceremonial citation masking “common sensing” your way through data??GT as site of contested intellectual property rightsGT as part of a new landscape of methodological multilingualism??GT as part of researchers’ individually shaped methodological vocabularies and practices??GT as one vocabulary and set of practical heuristics evident in “discovery oriented” research practice.
7 Workshop ObjectivesUnderstand grounded theory’s intellectual traditionUnderstand the general contours of and logic underlying this foundational tradition in qualitative researchLearn and experience the practice of its operational procedures (e.g. theoretical sampling, category development, constant comparison, memoing etc)Appreciate their contribution to “discovery”
8 Method Separates From “Discovery” “Discovery concerns the origin, creation, genesis, and invention of scientific theories and hypotheses. Justification concerns their evaluation, test, defense, success, truth, and confirmation. Discovery is for description alone, for psychology and the history of the sociology of science. Justification, however, is for the philosophy of science and epistemology “ (Kordig, 1978; p. 110).
9 Yet… advantages of discovery oriented qualitative approaches? Allow the “real” world of work to inform, press against and shape theorizing (urges theoretical open mindedness)Can capture complexity through multi-faced accounts of actionIdentify the process or “how” discovered outcomes are generatedSerendipitous findings can spur new research
10 …advantages of discovery oriented qualitative approaches? Investigate how participants make sense of events and behaviors at workIdentify how local meanings influence behaviorExplore in detail how context shapes meaning, experience, and behavior -link to practiceInvestigate new developments in the world of work
11 Discovery Achievements Documenting Evolution and ChangeChallenging Rational Perspectives on Workplace BehaviorTroubling Existing Theoretical Conceptions(Locke, 2011 Academy of Management Annals)
12 Discovery Necessitates A Recursive, Contingent Research Design “Funnel Shaped” (Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983)“Garbage Can II” (Grady and Wallston, 1988)“An iterative process that involves “tacking” back and forth between implications of components of design” (Maxwell,2005)Implications“The complete analysis isn’t” (Michael Quinn Patton, 2002)Flexibility in research question, data gathering, theoretical formulationsThe experience of ambiguity and instability in the processNot rational and linear but contingent and nonlinear design elements that are
13 An Interactive /Recursive Model of Research Design Conceptual ContextPurposesResearch QuestionsMethodsQuality(Maxwell, J Qualitative Research Design. Sage)
15 Openness & EmergenceEmbarking on a project without knowing where we will end up. That is being unsureAs to what our specific research question will be (Barley, 1990)What data we will have gathered (Van Maanen, 1998)What the project will end up being ‘a case of’ (Becker/ Ragin, 1992)What concepts we will have developed (Agar 2006)
16 In GT – how do we come to “notice” “see” particulars we would otherwise gloss over.
17 Observed ParticularsDave is research scientist who owns pants with duct-taped pockets to accommodate a set of forty-odd keys carried on two separate rings connected by a spring clip.In the 4 years since Dave configured his keys in this way, “the only times Dave has actually used the spring clip feature to separate his keys were to temporarily loan out one side or the other, take a leisure trip to Europe, and once while he moved house” (Nippert-Eng, 1996; p. 49).
18 In GT - NamingKaren Locke Ph D College of William and Mary
19 Conjectural Work“There is nothing but imagination that can ever supply [us] an inkling of the truth. [We] can stare stupidly at phenomena; but in the absence of imagination they will not connect themselves together in any rational way” (C. S. Peirce CP 1:46) The ability to engage the confounding array of talk, action, feelings, images, and texts that is field data. And, in the context of this engagement, [without recourse to a prior theoretical specification] to imagine processes, structures, or characterizations such that were they operative, they would render the data intelligible.
20 GT practices drive this interplay Observed ParticularsExisting theoretical elementsIdeas
21 The Grounded Theory Approach An approach to qualitative analysis that develops abstract conceptualizations through microscopic data analysis.
22 Exercise: For your selected study… What “phenomenon” was the researcher/s interested in exploring – what was the study’s purpose?What did they do – what was their research design?What references to GT did they make?What practices did these point to?How well did the study’s design and data gathering approach access the phenomenon?What did the study yield? What categories? What theoretical narrative?
23 What practices make a theory grounded? approach your study leary of the ways in which the phenomena has been framed and explainedorganize your data gathering so that you can access in detail the perspectives of the actors involved in the phenomenon (how they understand their world, what they are doing and why)sample theoreticallyConceptualize and code microscopicallyanalyze the data systematically and comparativelycontinually enrich your thinking by reading widely around the phenomenagrow your theory by going back and forth between progressively more focused data and successively more abstract conceptualizations of themintegrate the emergent categories around a narrative
24 Analysis: “Heads Up” Begin analysis as you gather data NOT after Assigning meaning to unstructured and ambiguous data, within a flexible recursive processBegin analysis as you gather data NOT afterProgressively narrow to one process within the data (this will not be linear!)Narrow to one part of that processData gathering and analysis are iterative (expect analysis to impact data collection)
25 Develop Robust Working THE DEVELOPMENT OF CONCEPTUAL CATEGORIES (c.f. Grounded Theory)Fracture, Chunk andName DataCompare, Compile& RenameData FragmentsTheoreticallyDriven DataSamplingGenerate ProvisionalConceptualizationswith their IndicatorsDevelop Robust WorkingConceptualizationsProcess is “finished” when core categories are theoretically saturated – (in theory)25
26 Character and Experience of Grounded Theory Data Sense Making Process Creative opened-ended dimensionMechanical procedural dimensionIndividual analyst is central agentMeaning making is richer when the process is a social one
27 I. Sampling in Grounded Theory Information not statistical generalizationNOT random … never, never, never, never …BTW, did I mention sampling is never random?
28 Purposive & Theoretical Sampling -Driven by Information Needs The logic of theoretical or purposive sampling is that you select units which will provide you rich information relative to your orienting research questionsTheoretical sampling to expand, check and refine conceptual categories. Conceptually- driven sequential sampling- usually not wholly pre-specified, but can evolve once fieldwork begins.Sampling reflects researcher interests in the evolving fit between gathered data and the emerging theory. You sample for the purpose of developing your emerging theory.
29 Ensuring Sampling Focus: Clarifying units of Social Organization Expressing Our Phenomena Social Practices – recurring categories of normal talk or actionEpisodes – significant events in the life of…Encounters – 2 or more persons mutually involvedRoles – categories of person (formal roles, informal roles, social types)Relationships – parties interacting over period of time, viewing themselves as connected in some way (vary in a gazillion ways, interdependence, power, trust, information regarding each other, etc)GroupsOrganizations – goal pursuing entities with formal and informal strategiesProcessesMay have interpretive, emotional as well as agency aspects(Adapted from Lofland & Lofland, 1995)
30 Data FormsInterview transcripts – e.g. accounts of people’s experiencesField notes – observations of what people do, say, and understandDocumentary evidence – policy documents, texts, memos, s, accident reports, etc.Visual elements, e.g. drawings, photographs, graphics, etc.(We end up with a large amount of unstructured and uncategorized data)
31 Ensuring Data Quality Is it the right data for the job? Does the data fit with your phenomenon?Is it “thick” enough?Do you have a detailed record of what those you are researching, do, see, hear, experience and understandDo you have examples, histories, stories, explanationsDo you only have “opinions” … I think
32 Creating “Data” and “Making Meaning” Interactive, Recursive, and InterdependentRelying on multiple “meaning making” activities
33 Articulating What Your Data Might Mean Meaning Making ActivitiesDeveloping contact summariesCreating data unitsCreating ideas about /Inventively naming data chunks (developing categories)Conceptually developing categories through constant comparisonAnalytic MemoingCreating an overarching organization for your data (Action strategy models, conditions/consequences models, stage models, typologies, etc.)Framing theoretical implications – contributing to the literature
34 A Different Analytic Procedure: Domain Analysis Professor(Cover Term)Is a kind ofSemantic RelationshipMotivator Decision makerIncluded TermsSpradley, J. (1980) Participant Observation
35 Other Potential Semantic Relationships Spatial X is a place in Y / X is a part of YCause-effect X is a result of YRationale X is a reason for doing YLocation for action X is a place for doing YFunction X is used for YMeans-end X is a way to YSequence X is a step (stage) in YAttribution X is a characteristic of Y
36 Articulating What Your Data Might Mean How does identity expanding learning (learning that transforms who you are) occur?
37 II. Contact Summaries Miles & Huberman 1994 Begin actively thinking about dataCreate a general indexing systemMiles & Huberman 1994
38 Contact Summary-How does identity expanding learning occur? What people, events or situations were involved?What were the main themes or issues?What research questions did the contact bear most closely on?What new speculations or guesses were suggested by the contact?Where should you place most energy during the next contact, what sorts of information should be collected?[Miles & Huberman, 1994]
39 III. Chunking Observations to create “data” How do you take streams of observations (field notes, archival documents, transcripts) and turn them into little pieces of data that can be worked with analytically?
40 Develop Robust Working The Development of Conceptual Categories (c.f. Grounded Theory)Fracture, Chunk andName DataCompare, Compile& RenameData FragmentsTheoreticallyDriven DataSamplingGenerate ProvisionalConceptualizationswith their IndicatorsDevelop Robust WorkingConceptualizationsProcess is “finished” when core categories are theoretically saturated – (theoretically)40
41 How would you chunk this data? SUBJECT: So right away, I know I'm not 3 making a decision, I'm making a 4 recommendation which is always easy to waffle 5 on, apologize for, or mitigate. 6 This also allows me to make, sort of – 7 I won't feel as constrained. I can probably 8 actually make a little bit more, the kind of 9 decision I want to make here, which is more 10 gut based than factual. 11 I can already tell this is going to get 12 political. I can already discern this is 13 going to be a powder keg.
42 Developing Conceptual Categories: Chunking Fracturing and Naming Data Convention is line by lineIn practice this may be a few words, a sentence, several sentencesIt should be a meaningful, discrete unitName what’s happening (keep it active and dynamic)* You are trying to avoid generating impressionistic “themes” rather than data specified grounded categories
43 IV. Meaning Making / Open Coding Active Naming ImaginingComparing
44 Data as an indicator – “Seeing as…” Ceci n’est pas la soupe!
45 “SEEING AS” INVENTIVE NAMING OR CONCEPTUALIZING [We] “can stare stupidly at phenomena; but in the absence of imagination they will not connect themselves together in any rational way.” Peirce, 1896This work of imagining what might be – accounting for, and at the same time remaining accountable to the data - is our concern
46 "When do you wish to begin?" he asked. "Now," I replied. It was more than fifteen years ago that I entered the laboratory of Professor Agassiz, and told him I had enrolled my name in the scientific school as a student of natural history. He asked me a few questions about my object in coming, my antecedents generally, the mode in which I afterwards proposed to use the knowledge I might acquire, and finally, whether I wished to study any special branch.To the latter I replied that while I wished to be well grounded in all departments of zoology, I purposed to devote myself specially to insects."When do you wish to begin?" he asked."Now," I replied.This seemed to please him, and with an energetic "Very well," he reached from a shelf a huge jar of specimens in yellow alcohol."Take this fish," he said, "and look at it; we call it a Haemulon; by and by I will ask what you have seen."With that he left me, but in a moment returned with explicit instructions as to the care of the object entrusted to me."No man is fit to be a naturalist," said he, "who does not know how to take care of specimens."The imagining of processes is what we highlightProblematization example ….Problematizing Mintzberg in 1979 focuses on the “creative leap” – underscoring the importance of generalizing beyond one’s data. He comments, there is no one to one correspondence between data and theory. “ Peripheral vision, poking around in relevant places, a good dose of creativity … that’s what makes good reserach
47 Generative questions to pose to your data that facilitate conceptualization What is happening?What might this be a case of / what can I think of this as being about?What is the actor doing?What is the basic problem faced by the actor/s here?What do these actions and statements take for granted?What question about my topic does this data suggest?What imagery or metaphor does this data evoke?How is this fragment the same as and different from others?
48 Developing Conceptual Categories V. Meaning MakingDeveloping Conceptual Categories
49 Develop Robust Working The Development of Conceptual Categories (c.f. Grounded Theory)Fracture, Chunk andName DataCompare, Compile& RenameData FragmentsTheoreticallyDriven DataSamplingGenerate ProvisionalConceptualizationswith their IndicatorsDevelop Robust WorkingConceptualizationsProcess is “finished” when core categories are theoretically saturated49
50 Developing Categories From Data Chunks Category Working Label:Data Source:Data Samples Constituting Category:Interview #Interview #
51 Constant ComparisonHow is this fragment the same as and different from others?ErzX3aQQ&feature=related
52 Constant comparison: How are these the same and different? “Slowly I drew forth that hideous fish, and with a feeling of desperation again looked at it.”“When I had finished, he waited as if expecting more, and then, with an air of disappointment:”“…so I walked home by Charles River in a distracted state, with my two perplexities.”What do we get by noting similarities … what by clarifying difference. Purchase on our data … Surprise…
53 Constant Comparison: How are these the same and different? Finally, just to start some kind of action, I began copying. In my slow, painstaking ragged handwriting, I copied into my tablet everything printed on that first page, down to the punctuation marks.I pushed my fingers down its throat to see how sharp its teeth were. I began to count the scales in the different rows until I was convinced that that was nonsense. At last a happy thought struck me --- I would draw the fish; and now with surprise I began to discover new features in the creature.
54 Develop Robust Working The Development of Conceptual Categories (c.f. Grounded Theory)Fracture, Chunk andName DataCompare, Compile& RenameData FragmentsTheoreticallyDriven DataSamplingGenerate ProvisionalConceptualizationswith their IndicatorsDevelop Robust WorkingConceptualizationsProcess is “finished” when core categories are theoretically saturated54
55 Out of his comfort zone /floundering I turned it over and around; looked it in the face -- ghastly; from behind, beneath, above, sideways, at a three-quarters view -- just as ghastly. I was in despair; at an early hour, I concluded that lunch was necessary; so with infinite relief…Slowly I drew forth that hideous fish, and with a feeling of desperation again looked at it.When I had finished, he waited as if expecting more, and then, with an air of disappointment: "You have not looked very carefully; why," he continued, more earnestly, "you haven't seen one of the most conspicuous features of the animal, which is as plainly before your eyes as the fish itself. Look again; look again!" And he left me to my miseryI was piqued; I was mortified. Still more of that wretched fish…professor inquired “Do you see it yet?" "No," I replied. "I am certain I do not, but I see how little I saw before."This was disconcerting; not only must I think of my fish all night, studying, without the object before me,…"Do you perhaps mean," I asked, "that the fish has symmetrical sides with paired organs?“I became increasingly frustrated at not being able to express what I wanted to conveyIt was sad; I couldn’t even write a straight lineI spent two days just rimming uncertainly through the dictionary’s pagesLearning to see / be involves stepping out of your comfort zone—voluntarily or involuntarily— how tentative and unsure of himself he is (bolded words)
56 Portraying a divided literature Unfortunately, the relevant literature offers contradictory assessments of the ability of the social sciences to account for these phenomena. One the one hand we are told that “Max Weber was the first to consider bureaucracy as the problem of industrial society () that he articulated the “classical theory of bureaucracy () …All this clearly conveys the impression that Weber’s work on bureaucracy constitutes …a paradigm...On the other hand the same literature contends that all theories of bureaucracies, including Weber’s are “underdeveloped” ().. As with any new perspective, its [culture’s] vagaries, disjunctions and confusions must be carefully addressed for the research tradition to advance. One of the most depressing disputes organizational culture research is what, exactly, constitutes a culture… Although the dichotomy is not exact, two major research traditions are emerging …functionalist… interpretive () Stress has been studied from a number of perspectives, but rather than producing consensus, this research has portrayed stress variously… Previous Labels: Research results confused Links with: Negative findings, Literature progressing
57 Recommendations when developing categories Generate multiple category names for data fragments (c.f. brainstorming)Do assign data fragments to more than one category (discreteness will come later, don’t force it)Do not use technical jargon, ie prior specified theory as category names (bracket it out)Category names are flexible, use images, phrases, sentencesCategory names should be a good fit for the data incident being describedWhen a category has 6-12 data indicators, write a formal definition of that category
58 Recommendations when developing categories Do be on the look out for developing major or “core” categoriesBe aware how many conceptual categories you have in developmentToo many categories? Make a list of all the category names; ask yourself, which ones are similar which ones are different?
59 VI. Theoretical Sampling In light of your developing categories, what kinds of data do you need to develop them further?
60 Develop Robust Working The Development of Conceptual Categories (c.f. Grounded Theory)Fracture, Chunk andName DataCompare, Compile& RenameData FragmentsTheoreticallyDriven DataSamplingGenerate ProvisionalConceptualizationswith their IndicatorsDevelop Robust WorkingConceptualizationsProcess is “finished” when core categories are theoretically saturated60
62 VII. Memoing Central to emergence, i.e. growing your theory A methodological practiceAn exploration
63 Analytic Memoing Central analytic procedure Any writing that is done in relationship to the research other than actual field notes, transcription or coding.A way of getting things down on paper to facilitate reflection and insightA way of helping you understand and make sense of your topic and your dataProse that tell what your conceptual categories, matrices, contact summary elements are aboutConnect ideas, data, and theory
64 Memoingp. 34 it is imperative to engage in a written conversation with yourself. Imagine yourself sitting at a desk in a year or so , actually beginning to write, ore confident then than now, having a firmer sense of the patterning of things, perusing all the notes, transcripts and documents that you have gathered. Those materials are, in effect, messages to a future self, and they will lose some of their immediacy and context. What is clear NOW will not be so clear later on. Patiently explain to a future self what you are doing, why you think it is interesting, why you have chosen to record what you have, what relevance it will haveRock: Handbook of Ethnography
65 Types of Memo: From simple to complex Simple, elemental memos – a rendering of emerging thinking on a specific category on research question in more general terms.How you personally relate to actors and/or the phenomenonYour code/ category choices and working definitions/understandingsMore complex memos – render thinking on categories’ relationships, include exploration of possible links to existing theory.Relationships among categories and your research questions
66 Excerpt from early memo The second clearest category comprises those papers that perhaps create an intellectual imperative for what is to follow. There seem to be two textual acts that are key here. The first is to launch a serious critique of the literature, (even though it –the lit- is used to establish consensus on the importance of the topic for organization studies) They seriously impugn the existing literature literature as demonstrating that it is not up to the task of dealing with the investigatory domain identified. So, Barley suggests that existing approaches haven’t got at the social construction of meaning, Gephart suggests that existing approaches haven’t got at how succession is produced, Hirschhorn and Gilmore suggest that existing organizational change traditions cannot deal with organizations in crisis type situations. There seem to be various ways in which the literature is shown to be not up to the task, one might be that it cannot address certain phenomena, another might be that it is contradictory or in confusion, another may be that it is not studying what it thinks it is studying, etc. The second act is to introduce and/or legitimate the new and more fruitful traditionIdeas about what you think is happening, contact with the categories you are developing, contact with literature?
67 Excerpt from Memo – Embodiment in Org. Studies Last night’s class focused on meditation and mantra got me thinking about two things. First how much mantras or particular kinds of practices are present for example the sports psychology stuff. See the current issue of running journal. Second, discussion of the state one was trying to achieve in meditation reminded me of Czsenkmihalyi’s work on flow … a particular kind of mind/body consciousness disposition. What about mindfulness? Think about the edited volume on embodied … and it is an example of such practices already entering organization studies. The question is where else does the embodied piece enter organization studies… the practice work – not really have practices disconnected from bodies (*possible contribution).
68 VIII. Growing TheoriesMore than a collection of categories – how do the categories relate to each other?What stories/ narratives can be developed from observations and in process conceptualizations?
69 Some Vocabulary Questions/Theoretical Elements- what’s, how’s and why’s, when’s Types – exclusive categories of social units, aspectsStructure – constituent dimensions, detailed organizationProcess – operations over time expressed as phases or cycles …Agency – strategies used to deal with particular situationCauses – conditions and contexts that engenderConsequences – of and for what …To be used heuristically – to help us form and grow our theorizing… theoretical sampling implicated here…Adapted from Glaser, 1973 & Strauss & Corbin, 1998
70 Open Coding to Strauss & Corbin’s Axial Coding Paradigm Open Coding CategoriesAxial Coding ParadigmContextCategoryCategoryCausalConditionsCoreCategoryorPhenomenonCategoryStrategiesConsequencesCategoryOne open codingcategory as corephenomenonInterveningConditionsCategoryAfter Creswell 2e
71 Key TermsAxial coding- Intense analysis focused on one category at a time that treats the category as an ‘axis’ around which further coding and category building is done.Categorizing – an analytic conceptualizationCoding – process of naming what data is aboutCoding families or coding paradigm – a fund of abstract theoretical terms to aid thinking about categories and their relations to each otherIn-vivo or substantive coding – captures substantive aspects of research setting, often in research participants’ own termsTheoretical sampling – Ongoing sampling specifically for the purpose of developing the theoryTheoretical saturation – the point at which gathering data yields no new properties nor any new theoretical insights