STRUCTURE OF THE CHAPTER The tools of grounded theory Developing grounded theory Evaluating grounded theory Preparing to work in grounded theory
GROUNDED THEORY Concerns theory generation. More inductive than content analysis. Theory is derived inductively from the analysis and study of, and reflection on, the phenomena under scrutiny. Grounded theory is a set of relationships amongst data and categories that proposes a plausible and reasonable explanation of the phenomenon under study. It is a method or set of procedures for the generation of theory or for the production of a certain kind of knowledge.
GROUNDED THEORY Theory is emergent rather than predefined and tested; Theory emerges from the data rather than vice versa; Theory generation is a consequence of, and partner to, systematic data collection and analysis; Patterns and theories are implicit in data, waiting to be discovered; Grounded theory is both inductive and deductive, it is iterative and close to the data that give rise to it.
GROUNDED THEORY Grounded theory includes context. Grounded theory does not force data to fit with a predetermined theory. Grounded theory builds rather than tests theory. Grounded theory starts with data.
ABILITIES REQUIRED OF THE RESEARCHER IN GROUNDED THEORY Tolerance and openness to data and what is emerging; Tolerance of confusion and regression Resistance to premature formulation of theory; Ability to pay close attention to data; Willingness to engage in the process of theory generation rather than theory testing; Ability to work with emergent categories rather than preconceived or received categories.
THE TOOLS OF GROUNDED THEORY Theoretical sampling Coding Constant comparison Identification of the core variable(s) Saturation
DEVELOPING GROUNDED THEORY Evaluating the grounded theory: The closeness of the fit between the theory and the data; How readily understandable the theory is by the lay persons working in the field; The ability of the theory to be general to many daily situations in the substantive area; The theory must allow the person who uses it to have some control over the structure and process of daily situations to make its application worth trying.
CRITERIA FOR EVALUATING THE GROUNDED THEORY How adequately and powerfully the theory accounts for the main concerns of the data; The relevance and utility of the theory for the participants; The closeness of the fit of the theory to the data and phenomenon being studied, Under what conditions the theory holds true; The fit of the axial coding to the categories and codes; The ability of the theory to embrace negative and discrepant cases;
CRITERIA FOR EVALUATING THE GROUNDED THEORY The fit of the theory to literature; How the original sample was selected, and what basis; The major categories that emerged; The events, incidents, actions, and indicators of the main categories; The basis of the categories in the theoretical sampling procedures (and their representativeness); Processes in, and grounds for, identifying, the core category.
CRITERIA FOR EVALUATING THE GROUNDED THEORY The hypotheses pertaining to conceptual relations among categories, and the grounds on which they were formulated and tested; Accounting for discrepant cases and their effects on the hypothesis; Conceptual linkages between concepts and categories; Variations in the theory and their interpretations; Change or movement taken into account in the development of the theory;
CRITERIA FOR EVALUATING THE GROUNDED THEORY The reliability, validity and credibility of the data The adequacy of the research process; The empirical grounding of the research findings; The sampling procedures; The major categories that emerged; The adequacy of the evidence base for the categories that emerged; The adequacy of the basis in the categories that led to the theoretical sampling;
CRITERIA FOR EVALUATING THE GROUNDED THEORY The formulation and testing of hypotheses and their relationship to the conceptual relations amongst the categories; The adequacy of the way in which discrepant data were handled; The adequacy of the basis on which the core category was selected; The generation of the concepts; The extent to which the concepts are systematically related;
CRITERIA FOR EVALUATING THE GROUNDED THEORY The number and strength of the linkages between categories, and their conceptual density, leading to their explanatory power; The extent of variation that is built into the theory; The extent to which the explanations take account of the broader conditions that affect the phenomenon being studied; The account taken of emergent processes over time in the research; The significance of the theoretical findings.
PREPARING TO WORK IN GROUNDED THEORY Ability to tolerate uncertainty, confusion and setbacks; Ability to avoid premature formulation of the theory; Ability to enable the theory to emerge through constant comparison; Openness to what is emerging; Ability not to force data to fit a theory but, rather, to ensure that data and theory fit together in an unstrained manner.