This article is part of the network’s archive of useful research information. This article is closed to new comments due to inactivity. We welcome new content which can be done by submitting an article for review or take part in discussions in an open topic or submit a blog post to take your discussions online.
Grounded Theory is used frequently and discussed often by qualitative researchers, and can be a very useful methodology for indepth analysis of data - yet it can be quite confusing for new researchers to learn about - partly because there are different variants and methods. Here, we provide a list of useful resources to help you get your head around grounded theory.
Of course, we absolutely recommend reading the seminal works on this methodology - those are authored by:
- Glaser and Strauss
- Strauss and Corbin
However, we recognise it can be quite hard to find time to read all these works, and some might need a quicker start! For a helpful, quick overview of GT, this video provides a great start: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6f1GHjD5JQ&t=359s
A really helpful paper for understanding what GT is in practice is provided by Starks and Brown-Trinidad at the University of Washington, who wrote a useful article which compares phenomenological analysis, discourse analysis and Grounded Theory. This useful, practical paper helps to clarify how and when GT is useful, in comparison to other methods. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/a317/738b3a28d7c2c1af03fd1e22f67058342781.pdf
Which type of GT?
Confusingly, there are different variants of GT, though people do sometimes talk about doing "GT" in general without specifying which version they are using. However, it is helpful to learn more about the variants of GT in order to better understand the method.
Grounded theory has different variants as a result of its history. The concept of GT was initially proposed by Glaser and Strauss, but the two authors disagreed on key elements, leading them to break off from one another; Strauss and Corbin proposed a new, more structured style of performing GT, where Glaser remained true to "classical" GT. Charmaz has subsequently proposed a third type: constructivist GT.
A great overview of the different GT strands is provided in the articles Challenges When Using Grounded Theory: a Pragmatic introduction to GT research, which can be accessed freely at: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1609406918758086
Health and Cowley published a useful paper called: Developing a grounded theory approach: a comparison of Glaser and Strauss which helps clarify the different approaches. Helpfully, the full text has been provided for free on ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/8917297_Developing_a_Grounded_Theory_Approach_A_Comparison_of_Glaser_and_Strauss
Muhaiyuddin, Abu Bakar and Hussin published a paper clarifying the Straussian method of GT, entitled Multiple Approaches of Grounded Theory: Justification for the Straussian Version, which again is available freely on ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/308899659_THE_MULTIPLE_APPROACHES_OF_GROUNDED_THEORY_JUSTIFICATION_FOR_STRAUSSIAN_VERSION
Another excellent overview is provided by Evans in the Grounded Theory Review, and entitles A Novice Researcher's First Walk Through the Maze of Grounded Theory: Rationalization for Classical Grounded Theory; this helpful piece provides a fantastic description of the different strands of GT, and explanation of Classical GT. http://groundedtheoryreview.com/2013/06/22/a-novice-researchers-first-walk-through-the-maze-of-grounded-theory-rationalization-for-classical-grounded-theory/
Examples of GT in practice
This helpful paper works through an example of the use of GT in dental practices: https://bmcmedresmethodol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2288-11-128
The Coding Process and Its Challenges is a fantastic paper with practical help for researchers using this method: http://groundedtheoryreview.com/2010/04/02/the-coding-process-and-its-challenges/