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Grounded Theory

Kathy Charmaz

Subject Sociology » Methods in Sociology

Key-Topics qualitative methods

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


The term grounded theory refers to a set of methods for conducting the research process and the product of this process, the resulting theoretical analysis of an empirical problem. The name grounded theory mirrors its fundamental premise that researchers can and should develop theory from rigorous analyses of empirical data. As a specific methodological approach, grounded theory refers to a set of systematic guidelines for data gathering, coding, synthesizing, categorizing, and integrating concepts to generate middle-range theory. Grounded theory methods are distinctive in that data collection and analysis proceed simultaneously and each informs the other. From the beginning of the research process, the researcher analyzes the data and identifies analytic leads and tentative categories to develop through further data collection. A grounded theory of a studied topic starts with concrete data and ends with rendering them in an explanatory theory. Barney G. Glaser and Anselm L. Strauss developed grounded theory methods when they studied the social organization of dying in hospitals. They articulated their methodological strategies in their cutting-edge book, The Discovery of Grounded Theory (1967). Prior to its publication, field researchers had learned qualitative methods through an oral tradition combined with lengthy immersions in fieldwork. Glaser and Strauss revitalized qualitative ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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