Role of theory in research
I was wondering what list members’ experiences are when they need to deal with the “role of theory in research” in practice, for example in phd theses.
Classically, we apt to recognize the dichotomy of “data-driven” vs. “theory-driven”; with “data-driven” following a “grounded-theory” approach and with the mission of building theory; while the former following a “verification” approach. The two approaches have also been represented with “qualitative” vs. “quantitative” methods.
I’ve been reading two theses whose authors have claimed using a grounded-theory approach, but with heavy reliance on theory from the very beginning. They have indeed collected qualitative data and have followed the qualitative procedures of coding the data and analyzing the data. However, it seems to me, they have relied on the current theories in developing their coding schemes and making sense of their data. I’ve been thinking rather than labeling the studies as “grounded theory”, perhaps they’d be better to frame them as “theory-driven” with the purpose of whether their data talk to the theories they’re relying on or not even though they’re using qualitative data.
What folks think?