2. BASIC PRINCIPLES
• Grounded theory was originally developed by two sociologists, Barney Glaser and
• Grounded theory method is a systematic methodology in the social sciences involving
the discovery of theory through the analysis of data.
• Grounded theory involves the progressive category identification and integration (as
method) of meaning from data and its end product (as theory).
• The Grounded theory is a research method which operates almost in a reverse fashion
from traditional research. Rather than beginning with a hypothesis, the first step is data
collection, through a variety of methods.
• “A qualitative research method that uses a systematic set of procedures to develop an
inductively derived grounded theory about a phenomenon”(Strauss & Corbin 1998,
3. WHY IMPORTANT
• Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss led to the publication of The Discovery of
Grounded Theory in 1967 as they felt researchers needed a method that would allow
them to move from data to theory, so that new theories could emerge. Such theories
would be specific to the context in which they had been developed. They would be
‘grounded’ in the data from which they had emerged rather than rely on analytical
constructs, categories or variables from pre-existing theories.
• Grounded theory, therefore, was designed to open up a space for the development of
new, contextualized theories.
4. BUILDING BLOCKS
• Categories: These designate the grouping together of instances (events, processes, occurrences)
that share central features or characteristics with one another.
• Coding: This is the process by which categories are identified.
• Constant Comparative Analysis: This ensures that the coding process maintains its momentum by
moving back and forth between the identification of similarities among and differences between
• Negative Case Analysis: It allows researchers to check instances that does not fit in the emerging
• Theoretical Sensitivity: researcher from a descriptive to an analytic level where he would emerge
with new concept to develop more/ collect more data.
• Theoretical Sampling: means checking emerging theory against reality by sampling incidents that
may challenge or elaborate its developing claims.
• Theoretical Saturation: Ideally, the process of data collection and data analysis in grounded theory
continues until theoretical saturation has been achieved.
• Memo Writing: Memos provide information about the research process itself as well as about the
substantive findings of the study.
7. EXAMPLE BEING STUDIED ON:
‘Negotiating commitment and involvement in the nurse–patient relationship’, by Janice Morse (1992b).
Initial research question was: ‘What is the role of gift-giving in the patient–nurse relationship?’
• Morse was interested in exploring the role gift-giving played in the development of the relationship between
patient and nurse.
• During the initial stages of data analysis, it became clear that gift-giving was a way of negotiating a certain
type of relationship.
• This led Morse to broaden the focus of the study and to ask: ‘How does the nurse–patient/patient–nurse
relationship develop?’ Theoretical sampling allowed Morse and her research assistants to obtain data that
shed light on the development of nurse–patient relationships in more general terms.
• They conducted further interviews, this time with nurses who had themselves been patients. All interviews
were transcribed and coded.
• Using Coding paradigm, Morse explored categories being identified as process and change.
• Negotiating the relationship’ emerged as the core category. Other categories included ‘types of relationship’,
which were subdivided into ‘mutual’ and ‘unilateral’ which later more sub-divided.
• Morse’s study develops an ‘explanatory model for describing the various types of relationship that occur’
between nurses and their patients (Morse 1992b: 334).
• It has intuitive appeal for researchers, since it allows them to become immersed in the
• Researchers have to analyze the data early.
• It encourages systematic and detailed analysis of the data.
• Researchers need ample evidence to back up their claims.
• Constant interplay between data collection and analysis.
• Useful for describing repeated processes.
• First time researchers can get overwhelmed at the coding level.
• It has been argued that grounded theory subscribes to a positivist epistemology and
that it sidesteps questions of reflexivity.
• For researchers in psychology, grounded theory has its preoccupation with uncovering
social processes, which limits its applicability to more phenomenological research
• It can be difficult to ‘scale up’ larger concepts or themes.
• the grounded theory method is reduced to a technique for systematic categorization
which leads to follow certain systematic map of concept which not constitutes a theory.
• Grounded theory was designed to identify and explicate contextualized social
processes. Its techniques for data-gathering and analysis are designed to allow
concepts and categories to emerge from the data.
• Grounded theorists are interested in the ways in which human actors negotiate and
manage social situations, and how their actions contribute to the unfolding of social
• In grounded theory, the researcher acts as a witness. (S)he observes carefully what is
going on, takes detailed notes of proceedings, and questions participants in order to
better understand what they are doing and why.