McGhee, G., Marland, G.R. and Atkinson, J. (2007). Grounded theory research: literature reviewing and reflexivity. Journal of Advanced Nursing60(3), pp.334-342.
The authors examine two possibilities – using literature as data in theory building, and doing a literature review in the normal way, before theory building takes place. They do not come to a conclusion about which is better. In my thesis on difficulty and challenge in curriculum for gifted students http://bit.ly/H9Kz1o I argued a pragmatic approach, using literature wherever it was useful – before, during and after the investigation.
I like to take the GT perspective beginning at the beginning of the study and use it throughout. (I believe there is no such thing as theory free observation.)Thus, the articles found in the literature become data along with everything else. As an example, in 1993 I used a meta-modeling approach in my dissertation; I constructed a new meta model, using a GT process, from implicit and explicit models in the literature (reference:
Johnson, R. B. (1998). Toward a theoretical model of evaluation utilization. Evaluation and Program Planning: An International Journal, 21, 93-110. ).
In a recent article some colleagues and I provide some thoughts for a mixed methods grounded theory approach (MM-GT). Here is the reference:
Johnson, R. B., McGowan, M. W., & Turner, L. A. (2010). Grounded theory in practice: Is it inherently a mixed method? Research in the Schools, 17(2), 65-78.
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