Qual Data Analysis & Grounded Theory

Categories: Data Analysis, Focus Series, Other, Qualitative, Research

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Qualitative data analysis is a focus on MethodSpace for April. This week we will look at data analysis in the context of specific methodologies.

Read all posts in the series through this link: QualDataAnalysis. By logging into MethodSpace you will automatically receive new posts by email.

This collection of open access articles offers perspectives on data analysis in qualitative grounded theory research. They point to steps involved with theorizing, and discuss ways to start thinking about analytic strategies at the design stage.


Grounded theory builds systematic theoretical statements inductively from the coding and analysis of observational data, and the subsequent development and refinement of conceptual categories which are tested and re-tested in further data collection. 

Questions Arising about Emergence, Data Collection, and Its Interaction with Analysis in a Grounded Theory Study (Bruce, 2007)

Abstract: There has been a strong call for increased clarity and transparency of method in qualitative research. Although qualitative data analysis has been detailed, data management has not been made as transparent in the literature. How do data collection and analysis interact in practical terms? What constitutes sufficient data? And can research be both planful and emergent? In this paper, the author highlights several methodological strategies for addressing data management challenges in a grounded theory study of preservice mathematics teachers.

Special Invited Paper: Continuities, Contradictions, and Critical Inquiry in Grounded Theory (Charmaz, 2017)

Abstract: What continuities and contradictions can qualitative researchers discern among versions of the grounded theory method? How do contradictions within the method affect research practice? How do new versions of grounded theory advance research practice and critical inquiry? To answer these questions, this keynote address begins with a brief overview of grounded theory for those who are unfamiliar with the method and subsequently discusses the continuities and contradictions between versions of the method. Constructivist grounded theory (CGT) uses the methodological strategies of the original version but builds on its pragmatist heritage, shifts its epistemological foundations, and resolves contradictions in earlier versions of the method. The result means placing grounded theory in the social constructionist tradition, viewing data as co-constructed with research participants, puncturing deeply held methodological preconceptions, and subsequently fostering a heightened methodological self-consciousness. The practice of CGT assists researchers in interrogating their data, nascent analyses, research actions, and themselves each step along the way. Subsequently, researchers can gain awareness of the pervasiveness of Anglo-North American worldviews throughout inquiry. CGT not only aids theorizing and defining and developing emergent critical questions during the research process but also brings power into purview.

Grounded theory research: A design framework for novice researchers (Chun Tie, Birks, & Francis, 2019)

Abstract: Grounded theory is a well-known methodology employed in many research studies. Qualitative and quantitative data generation techniques can be used in a grounded theory study. Grounded theory sets out to discover or construct theory from data, systematically obtained and analysed using comparative analysis. While grounded theory is inherently flexible, it is a complex methodology. Thus, novice researchers strive to understand the discourse and the practical application of grounded theory concepts and processes.

Conceptualization: On Theory and Theorizing Using Grounded Theory (Glaser, 2002)

Abstract: This article explores the use of grounded theory to generate conceptualizations of emergent social patterns in research data. The naming of patterns and their abstraction across time, place and people, are discussed. The constant comparative method employed in grounded data analysis is offered as a developmental tool for enhancing researchers’ abilities to conceptualize and form emergent theories. Conceptual levels, descriptions, power and flawed approaches to analysis are explored at length.

Clarifying Analysis and Interpretation in Grounded Theory: Using a Conditional Relationship Guide and Reflective Coding Matrix (Scott & Howell, 2008)

Abstract: Although qualitative methods, grounded theory included, cannot be reduced to formulaic procedures, research tools can clarify the process. The authors discuss two instruments supporting grounded theory analysis and interpretation using two examples from doctoral students. The conditional relationship guide contextualizes the central phenomenon and relates categories linking structure with process. The reflective coding matrix serves as a bridge to the final phase of grounded theory analysis, selective coding and interpretation, and, ultimately, to substantive theory generation. (Scott & Howell, 2008)

Related MethodSpace Posts


Bruce, C. (2007). Questions arising about emergence, data collection, and its interaction with analysis in a grounded theory study. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 6(1), 51-68. doi:10.1177/160940690700600105

Charmaz, K. (2017). Special invited paper: Continuities, contradictions, and critical inquiry in grounded theory. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 16(1), 1609406917719350. doi:10.1177/1609406917719350

Chun Tie, Y., Birks, M., & Francis, K. (2019). Grounded theory research: A design framework for novice researchers. SAGE Open Medicine, 7, 2050312118822927. doi:10.1177/2050312118822927

Glaser, B. G. (2002). Conceptualization: On theory and theorizing using grounded theory. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 1(2), 23-38. doi:10.1177/160940690200100203

Scott, K. W., & Howell, D. (2008). Clarifying analysis and interpretation in grounded theory: using a conditional relationship guide and reflective coding matrix. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 7(2), 1-15. doi:10.1177/160940690800700201

One thought on “Qual Data Analysis & Grounded Theory

  1. Thanks Janet, another bobbydazzler.


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