Memoing in Grounded Theory

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  • #2319
    Jai Seaman
    Participant

     

    This is a really interesting discussion around using memoing in Grounded Theory from Melanie Birks. Melanie co-wrote Grounded Theory: A Practical Guide with Jane Mills and this film came from their discussion of the how’s, the what’s and the why’s of producing memos in Grounded Theory. There are a lot of ideas and opinions surrounding the use of memos in Grounded Theory Research – each adds something to the conversation but it can become confusing to those new to the field – particularly if you are looking to start a practical project using Grounded Theory; this is a useful place to start unravelling the discussions.

    Melanie explains her own position and highlights the importance of keeping both subjective memos and objective fieldnotes as an ‘audit trail’; she argues that memos allow us to capture ideas, to describe our expectations/assumptions and to progress our analysis. The use of memoing is thus described as a ‘lubricant’ – i.e. a tool which pushes your research forward whilst highlighting your role as researcher.

    The film is saved here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rvb9sm7-Nc&list=FLu8KF5TYR9_b7YhUJQXwLmA&index=2&feature=plpp_video

     

    More information about Grounded Theory: A Practical Guide can be found here:http://www.uk.sagepub.com/books/Book233955?siteId=sage-uk&prodTypes=Books&q=melaine+birks&pageTitle=productsSearch  

     

    See what you think – do you agree with Melanie?

    #2326
    Dr Mike Lambert
    Participant

    Thanks, Jai, this is a very comprehensive and useful presentation.

    Memoing was part of my grounded theory research on curricular difficulty and challenge a couple of years ago (http://wlv.academia.edu/MikeLambert/books).  I drew on recommendations of Birks, Chapman and Francis (2008), who claimed that it helps to ‘transport the researcher from the concrete to the conceptual’ (p.71).  Also useful was their notion of ‘journalling’, and the ‘blue-skying’ of Orona (1997) – a writing of whatever thoughts occur, ‘without monitoring or making judgements’ (p.180). 

    I will order Melanie’s book and can see myself recommending it to research students.

     

    Birks, M., Chapman, Y. and Francis, K. (2008). Memoing in qualitative research. Journal of Research in Nursing, 13(1), pp.68-75.

    Orona, C.J. (1997). Temporality and identity loss due to Alzheimer’s disease. In: Strauss, A. and Corbin, J., eds. Grounded theory in practice. London: Sage Publications, pp.171-196.

     

    #2325
    Jai Seaman
    Participant

    Thanks Mike – I’m pleased that you found this interesting; memoing is so useful when it’s explained well but it can take a while to get your head around it and to feel confident using it! I hope you enjoy Melanie and Jane’s book.

    If you are looking for titles to recommend to students who are using grounded theory for the first time it might be worth casting an eye over a forthcoming title from Cathy Urquhart which is due to publish in November. It is called Grounded Theory for Qualitative Research: A Practical Guide and is aimed at first time researchers; the book introduces the practicalities of research design, theory building, coding and writing up.

    http://www.uk.sagepub.com/books/Book232280?siteId=sage-uk&prodTypes=any&q=urquhart&pageTitle=productsSearch

     

     

     

    #2324
    Dr Mike Lambert
    Participant

    Thanks, Jai – that looks like another book for the reading list. It is good to see material on grounded theory which covers the main issues in an accessible way.  I now find undergraduate and other first-time researchers considering this approach for their projects – so I have referred to it in A Beginner’s Guide to Doing Your Education Research Project, to be published by SAGE in September: http://www.uk.sagepub.com/books/Book236033

    #2323
    Ahmad Salih
    Participant

    Thanks, Jai. I am beginning to explore grounded theory; so this video is helpful.

    #2322
    Ahmad Salih
    Participant

    Thanks, Jai. I am beginning to explore grounded theory; so this video is helpful.

    #2321
    Crespel Elodie
    Participant

    This is interesting, and it is very useful to have video. 

    Here is an article by Udo Kelle to nourish the discussion: 

    “Emergence” vs. “Forcing” of Empirical Data? A Crucial Problem of “Grounded Theory” Reconsidered.

    http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/467

    #2320
    carolannblank
    Participant

    This post and the resulting conversation is very helpful to me as I start on my dissertation proposal writing.  I hope to have something of substance to contribute soon.

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