using grounded theory approach: from start to finish

Download Using Grounded Theory Approach: From Start to Finish

Post on 22-Jan-2018




0 download

Embed Size (px)


  1. 1. Using Grounded Theory Approach FROM START TO FINISH Philip Adu, Ph.D. Methodology Expert National Center for Academic & Dissertation Excellence (NCADE) The Chicago School Of Professional Psychology @drphilipadu
  2. 2. This presentation is based on Charmaz, K. (2014). Constructing Grounded Theory. London: SAGE Publications. Gibbs, G. R. (2015, February 04). A Discussion with Prof Kathy Charmaz on Grounded Theory. Retrieved October 05, 2017, from
  3. 3. Outline 1. Introduction to grounded theory 2. Meaning of a theory (from an interpretivist perspective) 3. Characteristics of a grounded theory approach 4. Data collection strategies (informed by ethnographic method) Interviews Observations Document/artifact collection 5. Data analysis process Initial coding Focused coding Theoretical coding 6. Visual representation of the theory
  4. 4. Introduction to Grounded Theory Systematic and repetitive (iterative) process Mining rich data (i.e. actions, events, and processes) Driven by the research problem/question Gaps identified during initial data analysis (i.e. questions which the current data are not adequate to address) Developing theory to explain/understand a phenomenon Charmaz (2014)
  5. 5. Introduction to Grounded Theory When to use grounded theory Explain a phenomenon (Ex. Leadership, bullying, success, disability, discrimination, racism, loneliness, mental health stigma) Examine an experience (Ex. Living with metal health issue, homelessness, domestic violence) Understand actions, events or processes Features of a grounded theory research question Open-ended Normally starts with how, what, or why Charmaz (2014)
  6. 6. Meaning of a Theory (from an Interpretivist Perspective) Abstract description of how concepts are related Representing data collected Focusing on explaining an/a action, event or process Different from a positivist perspective Quantitative proposition tested through experiments/observations Containing relationships between variables that are measurable Charmaz (2014)
  7. 7. Characteristics of a Grounded Theory Approach 1. Grounded theorist should have no preconceived ideas Bracketing your background and prior knowledge No literature review before collecting and analyzing data (if possible) No application of existing theories 2. Analysis should be data-driven Rich data is sought to fill the gaps in the initial analysis Actively searching for data to test the categories and potential theory Conducting theoretical sampling 3. The theorist should use constant comparison method Comparing data with data, data with category/theory, and category with category (p. 132) Make efforts to learn and examine how your past influences the way you see the world and your data. (p. 116) Charmaz (2014)
  8. 8. Characteristics of a Grounded Theory Approach 4. Write memo Writing about anything you think it is important Thought process during data collection and analysis stage Definitions of the codes and categories How theory is being developed Experience in the field 5. Attain Saturation Reaching a stage where new data doesnt warrant an adjustment to the categories or theory Constantly comparing categories/theory with the data (Abductive inference) Very different from the traditional saturation in qualitative data collection Charmaz (2014) Abductive inference entails considering all plausible theoretical explanations for the surprising data, forming hypotheses for each possible explanation, and checking these hypotheses empirically by examining data to arrive at the most plausible explanation. (p. 200)
  9. 9. Data Collection Strategies (Informed by Ethnographic Method) What constitutes ethnographic approach? Going to the field (i.e. participants natural environment) Actively searching for rich data Engaging in participants observations with no or little intrusion Actively interacting with participants and data Getting close to the action Spending time with participants and building trust Similar to ethnographic approach, grounded theory focuses on mainly collecting primary data When you collect first-hand data, however, you see the setting, observe interactions, witness research participants non-verbal behavior, and hear their voices as well as see written accounts (p. 111) Charmaz (2014)
  10. 10. Data Collection Strategies (Informed by Ethnographic Method) Interviews Intensive interviewing (p. 48) but not interrogative interviewing Ask mainly open-ended questions Give participants space to share their experiences and thoughts Empathize with them Activity involved in the conservation Observations Decide what to observe (what are you looking for?) Observe or participate in their activities (daily routine) with no or little intrusion Take extensive notes (i.e. field notes)which could be What you see What you think is going on Document/artifact collection Assessing Intent of the authors Situation that led to development of the document Intended audience Research problem/question drives the choice of your data collection strategies. Charmaz (2014)
  11. 11. Data Analysis Process Data analysis involves Examining underlying meanings of data Reducing data to abstract concepts Summarizing data Things to think about when conducting a grounded theory analysis Be open to multiple interpretation of the data Be flexible as you look for leads and answers Note that language is used to express ourselves Multiple realities multiple expressions Charmaz (2014)
  12. 12. Data Analysis Process Three main stages Initial coding Assigning labels to the significant portions of the data Focused coding Selecting relevant or dominant codes and determining their connection with other codes Theoretical coding Creating connections between categories relating them to data Coding should inspire us to examine hidden assumptions in our use of language as well as that of our participants p. 114 Charmaz (2014)
  13. 13. Data Analysis Process Initial coding involves Actively engaging with the data Looking for implicit and explicit meanings Assumptions behind participants statements Implications of their statements Labeling portions of the data Coding actions, happenings, and processes Using gerund (i.e. Verb + ing = noun) Ex. Feeling determined, making informed decisions, managing pain Conducting line-by-line coding Coding each line of the of the document Using constant comparative method Comparing data with codes, data with data, and codes with codes We gain a strong sense of action and sequence with gerunds. p.120 Charmaz (2014)
  14. 14. Data Analysis Process Focused coding Assessing the initial codes generated Asking the following questions: What is the practical meanings (empirical properties) of the codes? What are assumptions associated to the codes? Sorting codes Select relevant or dominant codes Generate categories By grouping the remaining codes around the dominant codes Finding patterns and gaps in the categories By comparing the categories to the data At first, you compare data with data to find similarities and differences. For example, compare interview statements and incidents within the same interview and compare statements and incidents in different interviews. Making sequential comparisons helps. Compare data in earlier and later interviews of the same individual(s) or compare observations of events at different times and places. p 132 Charmaz (2014)
  15. 15. Data Analysis Process Theoretical coding Integrating the categories (focused codes) to form an abstract explanations of an/a action, event, or process (Abductive inference) Abstract statement theory Initial theory is further compared with new data generated through theoretical sampling Constant comparison is done until saturation is reached Theoretical sampling means seeking pertinent data to develop your emerging theory. p.192 Charmaz (2014) Abductive inference entails considering all plausible theoretical explanations for the surprising data, forming hypotheses for each possible explanation, and checking these hypotheses empirically by examining data to arrive at the most plausible explanation. (p. 200)
  16. 16. Visual Representation of the Theory Using Inspiration App Using Cmap ontorphilip/presenting- qualitative-findings-using- nvivo-output-to-tell-the-story Using NVivo /inspmaps /watch?v=0Zy6tLPUoWQ (Demonstration) SmartArt: Word Document
  17. 17. Summary: Grounded Theory Analysis Examining Your Past Preconception- free State Initial Coding Basic codes Focused Coding Focused codes (Categories) Theoretical Coding Theory Process Product Particular Abstract Charmaz (2014)
  18. 18. Questions
  19. 19. Philip Adu, Ph.D. Methodology Expert National Center for Academic & Dissertation Excellence (NCADE) The Chicago School of Professional Psychology You could reach me at and @drphilipadu on twitter. To cite this document, copy the following: Adu, P. (2017, October 05). Using Grounded Theory Approach: From Start to Finish. Retrieved October 05, 2017, from finish