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Rocking Reflexivity in Grounded Theory
Research
A methodological development
Nieky van Veggel MSc
Background
• Research focuses on how course leaders in a small-
specialist HEI experience using evidence in their role.
• Limited to no evidence currently exists (van Veggel & Howlett (2018))
• Building evidence-base from scratch  grounded theory
Selected methodology
• Classic grounded theory
Researcher position
• Employed at Writtle University College
• Course manager
• Evidence-based vet practice methodologist
• Insider researcher
• Interviewing colleagues in similar roles
• Colleagues with more and less experience
• Deliver EBP staff development for colleagues
Insider bias
• As an insider-researcher you are a source of bias
• Biased research justification
• Biased research design
• Biased data collection
• Biased data analysis
• Biased outcome reporting
… as long as it is addressed appropriately.
 Reflexivity is key
this is not a
bad thing…
Reflexivity in insider research
• Reflexivity is the examination of one’s own beliefs,
judgements and practices during the research process
and their influence on the research
• Reflexive research practice develops transparency (Engward &
Davis 2015)
• As an insider, how do you as a source of bias affect the process
and the project?
• Once recognised, how do you acknowledge this
explicitly?
• Normally, this is done in a narrative, somewhat disconnected
way
Tension between reflexivity and GT
• Criticisms of grounded theory
• Is the theory really grounded?
• Can GT really be objective?
• What about researcher preconception?
• Does being an insider researcher make this different?
Tension between reflexivity and GT
• Not all GT is the same (Levers, 2013)
• Role of the researcher in GT
• Researcher must remain open to
patterns identified and of the impact of
their own preconceptions
• Process managed differently (O’Connor et
al., 2018)
• Charmaz and Corbyn & Strauss advocate
reflexivity
• Glaser says reflexivity is not necessary as
GT process deals with this
Purpose & practice of self-interview
• Asking yourself the same questions you ask your
participants will allow you to analyse your answers
through a reflexive lens
• This process will allow a critical analysis of researcher
bias, directly linked to the research process, and make it
explicitly clear how this bias has affected the research
• Self-interview is currently not used in qualitative research
• I am testing it as a contribution to grounded theory
methodology
Purpose & practice of self-interview
• Ask an experienced interviewer to use your interview
schedule to interview you.
• Experienced: better data, make interview their own
• External interviewer: prevents prediction  variations in style
• Analyse your answers to questions through a reflexive
lens
• Use the analysis to explain your researcher bias
Contribution to knowledge
• Pragmatically, process to address the role of the
researcher should be somewhere inbetween
• How to be reflexive in GT is not clear (Engward & Davis, 2015)
• Critical analysis of self interview allows reflexivity and
acknowledgement of bias (Charmaz 2014)
• Self-interview is “just another source of data” (Glaser, 2007)
• It is an explicit method to increase research transparency,
which leads to better research practice, which leads to
increased credibility.
Acknowledgements
This work is part-funded through a Writtle University
College Learning and Development Fund Grant
I’d like to thank Dr Sally Goldspink for supporting the self-
interview and the constructive methodological discussions.
Questions?
Thank you!
nieky.van-veggel@pgr.anglia.ac.uk
@Nieky_WUC
www.niekyvanveggel.eu
References
• Charmaz, K. (2014). Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis (2nd edition).
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
• Glaser, B.G. (2007) All Is Data. Grounded Theory Review. 6(2).
• Levers M-J.D. (2013) Philosophical paradigms, grounded theory, and perspectives on emergence. Sage Open 3,4.
DOI: 10.1177/2158244013517243.
• van Veggel, N. and Howlett, P. (2018) Course leadership in small-specialist UK higher education - a review.
International Journal of Educational Management, 32, 7, 1174–1183.

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Rocking reflexivity in Grounded Theory research

  • 1. Rocking Reflexivity in Grounded Theory Research A methodological development Nieky van Veggel MSc
  • 2. Background • Research focuses on how course leaders in a small- specialist HEI experience using evidence in their role. • Limited to no evidence currently exists (van Veggel & Howlett (2018)) • Building evidence-base from scratch  grounded theory
  • 4. Researcher position • Employed at Writtle University College • Course manager • Evidence-based vet practice methodologist • Insider researcher • Interviewing colleagues in similar roles • Colleagues with more and less experience • Deliver EBP staff development for colleagues
  • 5. Insider bias • As an insider-researcher you are a source of bias • Biased research justification • Biased research design • Biased data collection • Biased data analysis • Biased outcome reporting … as long as it is addressed appropriately.  Reflexivity is key this is not a bad thing…
  • 6. Reflexivity in insider research • Reflexivity is the examination of one’s own beliefs, judgements and practices during the research process and their influence on the research • Reflexive research practice develops transparency (Engward & Davis 2015) • As an insider, how do you as a source of bias affect the process and the project? • Once recognised, how do you acknowledge this explicitly? • Normally, this is done in a narrative, somewhat disconnected way
  • 7. Tension between reflexivity and GT • Criticisms of grounded theory • Is the theory really grounded? • Can GT really be objective? • What about researcher preconception? • Does being an insider researcher make this different?
  • 8. Tension between reflexivity and GT • Not all GT is the same (Levers, 2013) • Role of the researcher in GT • Researcher must remain open to patterns identified and of the impact of their own preconceptions • Process managed differently (O’Connor et al., 2018) • Charmaz and Corbyn & Strauss advocate reflexivity • Glaser says reflexivity is not necessary as GT process deals with this
  • 9. Purpose & practice of self-interview • Asking yourself the same questions you ask your participants will allow you to analyse your answers through a reflexive lens • This process will allow a critical analysis of researcher bias, directly linked to the research process, and make it explicitly clear how this bias has affected the research • Self-interview is currently not used in qualitative research • I am testing it as a contribution to grounded theory methodology
  • 10. Purpose & practice of self-interview • Ask an experienced interviewer to use your interview schedule to interview you. • Experienced: better data, make interview their own • External interviewer: prevents prediction  variations in style • Analyse your answers to questions through a reflexive lens • Use the analysis to explain your researcher bias
  • 11. Contribution to knowledge • Pragmatically, process to address the role of the researcher should be somewhere inbetween • How to be reflexive in GT is not clear (Engward & Davis, 2015) • Critical analysis of self interview allows reflexivity and acknowledgement of bias (Charmaz 2014) • Self-interview is “just another source of data” (Glaser, 2007) • It is an explicit method to increase research transparency, which leads to better research practice, which leads to increased credibility.
  • 12. Acknowledgements This work is part-funded through a Writtle University College Learning and Development Fund Grant I’d like to thank Dr Sally Goldspink for supporting the self- interview and the constructive methodological discussions.
  • 14. References • Charmaz, K. (2014). Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis (2nd edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. • Glaser, B.G. (2007) All Is Data. Grounded Theory Review. 6(2). • Levers M-J.D. (2013) Philosophical paradigms, grounded theory, and perspectives on emergence. Sage Open 3,4. DOI: 10.1177/2158244013517243. • van Veggel, N. and Howlett, P. (2018) Course leadership in small-specialist UK higher education - a review. International Journal of Educational Management, 32, 7, 1174–1183.