Grounded Theory: an Introduction (updated Jan 2011)


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From the data to build a theory - An Introduction to Grounded Theory as one of the most popular approach in qualitative research.

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Grounded Theory: an Introduction (updated Jan 2011)

  1. 1. Hangzhou, January 2011 Prof. Dr. Hora Tjitra, Zhejiang University Grounded  Theory An  Introduction  to  Inductive  Qualitative  Analysis  Method 访  谈  方  法
  2. 2. An  Introduc+on  to  Grounded  Theory 2 Discovery has been the aim of science since the dawn of the renaissance. But how those discoveries are made has varied with the nature of the materials being studied and the times. Strauss & Corbin, 1998
  3. 3. An  Introduc+on  to  Grounded  Theory 3 14  years  in  Germany 7  years  in  China Born  and  grew  up   in  Indonesia Prof.Dr.Hora Tjitra - Cross-cultural and Business Psychology Dipl.-Psych.,Technical University of Braunschweig Organizational Psychology and Human Resource Management Dr.Phil.,University of Regensburg Intercultural Psychology and Strategic Management Executive Education,INSEAD HR Management in Asia
  4. 4. An  Introduc+on  to  Grounded  Theory Outline 1 Selecting the right qualitative research method 5 2 From the data to theory:different coding steps in GT 8 3 Memos and Diagrams in GT 16 4 Criteria for good GT research 23 4
  5. 5. An  Introduc+on  to  Grounded  Theory 5 Data Collection Preparation Process Analyzing Process Process of Qualitative Research Single Case Analyses Document Analyses Action Research Field Research Qualitative Experiments Qualitative Evaluation Qualitative Research Process: From Ideas (Questions) to Results (Theory) Writing Qualitative Research Report Qualitative Research Design The Foundations and Pillars of Qualitative Thinking Research Topics, Problems and Questions (Hypotheses)
  6. 6. An  Introduc+on  to  Grounded  Theory Checklist for selecting a qualitative research method 1. What  do  I  know  about  the  issue  of  my  study  or  how  detailed  is  my  knowledge  already? 2. How  developed  is  the  theore;cal  or  empirical  knowledge  in  the  literature  about  the  issue? 3. Am  I  more  interested  in  generally  exploring  the  field  and  the  issue  of  my  study? 4. What  is  the  theore;cal  background  of  my  study  and  which  methods  fit  this  background? 5. What  is  it  that  I    want  to  get  close  to  in  my  study?  Personal  experiences  of  (a  group)  of  certain   people  or  social  processes  in  the  making?  Or  am  I  more  interested  in  reconstruc;ng  the  underlying   structures  of  my  issue? 6. Do  I  started  with  a  very  focused  research  ques;on  right  away  or  do  I  start  from  a  rather  unfocused   approach  in  order  to  develop  the  more  focused  ques;ons  underway  in  the  process  of  my  project? 7. What  is  the  aggregate  I  want  to  study?  Personal  experiences,  interac;ons  or  situa;ons  or  bigger   en;;es  like  organiza;ons  or  discourse? 8. Is  it  more  the  single  case  (e.g.  of  a  personal  illness  experience  or  of  a  certain  ins;tu;on)  I  am   interested  in  or  the  comparison  of  various  cases? 9. What  are  resources  (;me,  money,  wo/manpower,  skills…)  available  to  run  my  study? 10. What  are  the  characteris;cs  of  the  field  I  want  to  study  and  of  the  people  in  it?  What  can  you   request  of  them  and  what  not? 11. What  is  the  claim  of  generaliza;on  of  my  study?
  7. 7. An  Introduc+on  to  Grounded  Theory Research perspectives in qualitative research: matching theories and methods Research perspectives in qualitative research Subject‘s points of view Making of social realities Cultural framing of Social realities Theoretical positions Methods of Data collection Methods of interpretation  Symbolic  interac/onism  Interpre/ve   interac/onism  Ethnomethodology  Social  construc/onism  Psychoanalysis  Gene/c  structuralism  Semi-­‐structured   interviews  Narra/ve  interviews  Focus  groups  Ethnography  Par/cipant  observa/on  Recording  interac/ons  Collec/ng  documents  Recording  interac/ons  Photography  Film  Theore/cal  coding  Content  analysis  Narra/ve  analysis  Hermeneu/c  methods  Conversa/on  analysis  Discourse  analysis  Objec/ve  hermeneu/cs  Deep  hermeneu/cs
  8. 8. An  Introduc+on  to  Grounded  Theory The Origins of Grounded Theory (Glaser and Strauss,1967) • A  conceptual  levels  theory  and  general   research  methodology • The  emergence  of  grounded  theory  was   during  the  collabora;on  of  Glaser  and   Strauss  at  the  University  of  California  at   Berkeley  from  1965  to  1967. • Barney  Glaser – Sorbonne  University  Paris,   French  Literature – Columbia  University  New  York,   Lazersfield  &  Merton,  Sta;s;cal  Analysis • Anselm  Strauss – Chicago  University,   Symbolic  Interac;onist  Sociology 8 Graphic  source:h.p://
  9. 9. An  Introduc+on  to  Grounded  Theory 9 The Creation of THEORY from DATA  Methodology: A way of thinking about and studying social reality  Methods: A set of procedures and techniques for gathering and analyzing data  Coding: The analytic process through which data are fractured, conceptualized, and integrated to form theory. Grounded theory mean theory that was derived from data, systematically gathered and analyzed through the research process. In this method, data collection, analysis and eventual theory stand in close relationship to one another. The interpretation of data cannot therefore be regarded independently of their collection or the sampling of data. A researcher does not begin a project with a preconceived theory in mind, rather he / she begins with an area of study and allows the theory to emerge from the data. Interpretation is the anchoring point for making decisions about which data or cases to integrate next in the analysis and how or with which methods they should be collected. In the process of interpretation different ‘procedures’ for dealing with text can be differentiated: ‘open coding’, ‘axial coding’ and ‘selective coding’.
  10. 10. An  Introduc+on  to  Grounded  Theory 10 Characteristics of a grounded theorist The ability to step back and critically analyze situations The ability to recognize the tendency toward bias The ability to think abstractly The ability to be flexible and open to helpful criticism Sensitivity to the words and actions of respondents A sense of absorption and devotion to the work process
  11. 11. An  Introduc+on  to  Grounded  Theory 11 Coding procedures - Analysis through microscopic examination of data Build rather than test theory Provide researcher with analytic tools for handling masses of raw data. Help analyst to consider alternative meanings of phenomena. Be systematic and creative simultaneously. Identify, develop and relate the concepts that are building blocks of theory. Graphic  source:  h.p://qr<­‐-­‐code%20terms.htm
  12. 12. An  Introduc+on  to  Grounded  Theory 12 Open coding - What does the Data want to Say The analytic process through which concepts are identified and their properties and dimensions are discovered in data. • Open  coding  aims  at  expressing  data  and  phenomena  in  the  form  of  concepts. • For  this  purpose,  data  are  first  disentangled  (segmented).  Expressions  are   classified  by  their  units  of  meaning  in  order  to  a^ach  annota;on   and  above  all  ‘concepts’  (codes)  to  them. • Basic  ques;ons  in  doing  open  coding: – What? Which phenomenon is mentioned? – Who? Which persons and roles? – How? Which aspects are mentioned? – When? How long? Where? Time, course, location. – How much? How strong? Aspects of intensity. – Why? Which reasons are given or can be constructed? – What for? With what intention, to which purpose? – By which? Means, tactics and strategies for reaching the goal.
  13. 13. An  Introduc+on  to  Grounded  Theory 13 Axial coding - Structuring and Categorizing the Data The process of relating categories to their subcategories, termed ‘axial’ because coding occurs around the axis of a category, linking categories at the level of properties and dimensions. • After did the pen coding, the next step is to refine and differentiate the categories (resulting from open coding). • From the multitude of categories, those are selected that seem to be most promising for a further elaboration. The axial categories are enriched by their fit with as many passages as possible. • Finally, the relations between these and other categories are elaborated. • The developed relations and categories that are treated as essential are verified over and over against the text and date. • The researcher moves continuously back and fort between inductive thinking (developing) and deductive thinking (testing). Conditions Causes Consequences Co-Variances Contexts Cutting Points
  14. 14. An  Introduc+on  to  Grounded  Theory 14 Theoretical (Selective) Coding: Developing Theories based on the Data The process of integrating and refining the theory. • The third step, continuous the axial coding at the higher level of abstraction. • The aim of this step is to elaborate the core category around which the other developed categories can be grouped and by which they are integrated. • In this way, the story of the case is elaborated and formulated. • The analysis and the development of the theory aim at discovering patterns in the data as well as conditions under which these apply. • Finally, the theory is formulated in greater detail and again checked against the data.
  15. 15. An  Introduc+on  to  Grounded  Theory 15 The process of theory development: description, conceptual ordering,and theorizing  Description: The use of words to convey a mental of image of an event, a piece of scenery, a scene, an experience, an emotion, or a sensation; the account related from the perspective of the person doing the depicting. ☞ depicting, telling a story, sometimes a very graphic and detailed one, without stepping back to interpret events or explain why certain events occurred and not others.  Conceptual ordering: Organizing (and sometime rating) of data according to a selective and specified set of properties and their dimensions. ☞ classifying events and objects along various explicitly stated dimensions, without necessarily relating the classifications to each other to form an overarching explanatory scheme.  Theory: A set of well-developed concepts related through statements of relationship, which together constitute an integrated framework that can be used to explain or predict phenomena. ☞ the act of constructing from data an explanatory scheme that systematically integrates various concepts through statements of relationships. It enables users to explain and predict events, thereby providing guides to action. • Before  beginning  the  process  of  developing  theory,  a  researcher  must  have   some  understanding  of  what  cons/tutes  theory. • The  first  step  toward  understanding  is  to  be  able  to  differen/ate  among   descrip/on,  conceptual  ordering,  and  theorizing. • A  second  step  is  realizing  that  these  forms  of  data  analysis  actually  build  on   one  another,  with  the  theory  incorpora/ng  aspects  of  both.
  16. 16. Techniques  and  Procedures   for  Developing  Grounded  Theory
  17. 17. An  Introduc+on  to  Grounded  Theory Stages of a Grounded Theory Study 17 Stages  are  generally  sequen/al,  but  once  research  process  begins  they  are  oOen  conducted  simultaneously,   as  the  par/cular  research  requires. 1. Preparation • Minimizing pre-conception 2. Data Collection • Interviews, Observation or any other types of data • Theoretical Sampling 3. Analysis • Constant Comparative Analysis • Sensitizing Concepts: Open, Axial and Theoretical Coding 4. Memoing • theorizing write-up of ideas and codes and their relationship • Integrating the Literatures 5. Theoretical Outline • Visual outline of the major concepts of the emerged theory 6. Sorting • Conceptual sorting of memos 7. Writing Source:  Odis  E.  Simmons
  18. 18. An  Introduc+on  to  Grounded  Theory 18 Memos:  WriQen  records  of  analysis  that  may  vary  in  type  and  form  Code notes:  Memos  containing  the  actual  products  of  the  three  types   of  coding:  open,  axial,  and  selec/ve  Theoretical notes:  Sensi/zing  and  summarizing  memos  that  contain   an  analyst’s  thoughts  and  ideas  about  theore/cal  sampling  and  other  issues    Operational notes:  Memos  containing  procedural  direc/ons  and   reminders Diagrams:  Visual  devices  that  depict  the  rela/onships  among  concepts Definitions of Terms - Memos and Diagrams
  19. 19. An  Introduc+on  to  Grounded  Theory 19 Taking field note instead? • Insufficient space to develop ideas • Old coding written in the margins might be misleading or confusing when concepts revised • Difficult to retrieve information in margin • Unnecessary to write on the margin when many helpful computer programs available Features of Memos and diagrams • Analyst develops his or her own style: computer program, color-coded cards, binders, folders, notebooks • Orderly, progressive, systematic, easily retrievable • Provide a storehouse of analytic ideas • Force the analyst to work with concepts rather than raw data • Act as reflections of analytic thought • Memos can be written from other memos. Why Memos and Diagrams?
  20. 20. An  Introduc+on  to  Grounded  Theory 20 Technical Features of Memos and Diagrams Memos & Diagrams The analyst • Not be afraid to modify the content of memos and diagrams as progressing • Keep a list of emergency codes for reference • Be flexible and relaxed when doing Ms & Ds • Be conceptual rather then descriptive when writing memos • Notice when category appears saturated or several memos begin to sound alike • Keep multiple copies of memos • References should include code number of the interview, observation, or document; date; page number • Contain headings denoting the concepts or categories, the title or heading describe the type of memos • Quotes or phrases of raw data can be included as handy reminder, and further as illustrations • Be specific and kept distinct
  21. 21. An  Introduc+on  to  Grounded  Theory 21 Code Notes Theoretical Notes Operational Notes • At first, scan a document and identify some concepts. • Early notes include categories, the concepts that point to the categories, some properties and dimensions • Ask some other properties and their dimensions • Theoretical sampling • What operations to carry out next? Asking question, making comparison, or doing more observation or interview? Memos and Diagrams in Open Coding
  22. 22. An  Introduc+on  to  Grounded  Theory 22 Memos and Diagrams in Selective Coding • Think about this or that • Go here or there to theoretically sample • Check out this or that • Do this or that Filling in of categories and refinement of the theory Fewer; take the form of an integrative memo describing what the research is all about. Theoretical and Operational Notes Code Notes Diagrams Show the density and complexity of the theory Help the analyst finalize relationships and discover breaks in logic The final step in analysis ---- integration of concept & development and refinement
  23. 23. Criteria  for  Evaluation
  24. 24. An  Introduc+on  to  Grounded  Theory 24 Judging the merits of Theory-Building Research What  one  is  making  judgment  about ✓ FIT This  is  another  way  of  expressing  validity  (Face  Validity) ✓ Does  the  concept  adequately  explain  the  data  which  the   theory  purports  to  express? ✓ WORKABILITY ✓ Do  the  concepts  begin  to  account  for  how  the  main  concerns   for  those  being  studied  are  being  con/nually  resolved? ✓ RELEVANCE ✓ How  relevant  is  the  research  to  those  being  studied? ✓ MODIFIABILITY ✓ How  capable  is  the  theory  of  incorpora/ng  new  concepts   from  the  data  which  is  generated  aOer  the  comple/on  of  the   study?
  25. 25. An  Introduc+on  to  Grounded  Theory 25 Evaluating the Research Process • Criterions1 : How was the original sample selected? On what grounds? • Criterions2 : What major categories emerged? • Criterions3 : What were some of the events, incidents, or actions (indicators) that point to these major categories? • Criterions4 :On the basis of what categories did theoretical sampling proceed? That is, how did theoretical formulations guide some of the data collection? After the theoretical sampling was done, how representative of the data did the categories prove to be? • Criterions5: What were some of the hypotheses pertaining to conceptual relations (i.e., among categories), and on what ground were they formulated or validated? • Criterions6: Were there instances in which hypotheses did not explain what was happening in the data? How were these discrepancies accounted for? Were the hypotheses modified? • Criterions7: How and why was the core category selected? Was this collection sudden or gradual, and was it difficult or easy? On what grounds were the final analytic decisions made?
  26. 26. An  Introduc+on  to  Grounded  Theory 26 Evaluating the Empirical Grounding of a Study  Criterion 5: Are the conditions under which variation can be found built into the study and explained?  Criterion 6: Has process been taken into account?  Criterion 7: Do the theoretical findings seem significant, and to what extent?  Criterion 8: Does the theory stand the test of time and become part of the discussions and ideas exchanged among relevant social and professional groups?  Criterion 1: Are Concept Generated?  Criterion 2: Are the concept systematically related?  Criterion 3: are there many conceptual linkages, and are the categories well developed? Do categories have conceptual density?  Criterion 4: is variation built into the theory?
  27. 27. Thank  You Contact us via … Mail: Follow: twitter@htjitra Website: Zhejiang  University,  Hangzhou  (China)