[LOCAL LOGO 1] An Introduction to Grounded Theory
Karl "Chuck B." Freiherr von Manteuffel
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I can create grounded theory methodology, I can write grounded theory, and I can teach grounded theory, BUT, I cannot control how grounded theory methodology is used. [...] forcing and preconceptions are still permitted to insert themselves at various junctures in the studies. [...] Not all of the researchers can "get thee to a mentor" [..., GLASER95, pp. 3, 5].

| Bahasa Indonesia | English |

| Introduction | Time to Use | Origin | Versions | Non GTM | References |

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Introduction

Grounded Theory (GTM) is a "general method of comparative analysis" to discover theory with four central criteria, i.e. work (generality), relevance (understanding), fit (valid), and modifiability (control). GTM is "one of the interpretive methods that share the common philosophy of phenomenology". It is a "do-it-yourself methodology" where no research assistant, no research grant, no dues, and no secret handshakes is needed :-). References: [GLASER78, p. 116], [GLASERSTRAUSS67, pp. 1-2], [STERN94, p. 213].

GTM is just a method, a whole method, and nothing but a method. It "guides the researcher from the moment he enters field to a final publishable draft" with the five S's packet, i.e. Subsequent, Sequential, Simultaneous, Serendipitous, and Scheduled. Understanding GTM is a delayed action phenomenon for about 12 months of learning. Nothing is more practical than a Grounded Theorysm. References: [GLASER98, pp. 14-15].

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When should GTM be used?

This methodology can generate substantive as well as formal theories, in either well codified set of properties or running theoretical discussions. References: [GLASERSTRAUSS67, pp. 31-32].

According to Glaser:
"Grounded Theory becomes an answer where other methodologies did not work well enough, especially in the sensitive dependent variable fields within the health science and business and management." References: [GLASER95A, p. 15].
According to Stern:
"[...] the strongest case for the use of grounded theory is in investigations of relatively uncharted water, or to gain a fresh perspective in a familiar situation." References: [STERN95, p. 30].
According to Strauss and Corbin:
"If someone wanted to know whether one drug is more effective than another, then a double blind clinical trial would be more appropriate than grounded theory study. However, if someone wanted to know what it was like to be a participant in a drug study, then he or she might sensibly engage in a grounded theory project or some other type of qualitative study." References: [STRAUSSCORBIN90, p. 37], [STRAUSSCORBIN98, p. 40].
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The Origin of GTM

Grounded Theory was discovered, -- not invented -- by Barney G. Glaser and Anselm L. Strauss back in the 1960s. Barney G. Glaser came from Columbia University (1961). His Ph.D. dissertation topic was on scientist professional carrier by using qualitative analysis on secondary quantitative data. Glaser was strongly influenced by the inductive methodology (qualitative and quantitative) which was discovered by Paul F. Lazarsfeld (1901 - 1976), and his colleagues Herbert H. Hyman, Allen Barton, Bruce McPhee, Bernard Bereldson, et. al. His inductive theory generating methodology was influenced by his adviser Robert K. Merton (1910 - 2003; a student of Talcott Parsons; 1902 - 1979); and his colleagues Hans Zetterberg, Seymour Lipset, Alvin Gouldner, et. al. References: [GLASER64], [GLASER92, p. 17], [GLASER98, p. 21].

Glaser then joined the University of California Medical Center at San Francisco where he meet Anselm L. Strauss (Ph.D. in sociology, University of Chicago, 1945). The University of Chicago has a strong tradition in qualitative research. Strauss was influenced by the Interactionist and Pragmatist writings of Robert E. Park, W.I. Thomas, John Dewey, G.H. Mead, Everett Hughes, and Herbert Blumer. This tradition contributes the need to go to field in a small-scale team, to make discovery as well as the need of a theory that is grounded in data, as well as other symbolic interaction properties which rooted the GTM framework. References: [STERN94, p. 215], [STRAUSS91, p. 18], [STRAUSSCORBIN98, p. 9].

While studying dying patients, Glaser and Strauss discovered the core categories of dying awareness as well as its dying trajectory. The research method were coined as "Grounded Theory Methodology" in the Discovery book. References: [GLASERSTRAUSS67], [GLASTRA65], [GLASTRA68].

Glaser left the University of California at San Francisco to open his own business as well as to write "Theoretical Sensitivity" (1978) on advancement in grounded theory . Then, Strauss wrote "another version" of GTM in 1987, and together with Corbin wrote a book for beginers in 1990. Glaser wrote his comments regarding Strauss' books in 1992. References: [GLASER78], [GLASER92], [GLASER94], [GLASER96], [GLASER98], [STERN94, p. 220], [STRAUSS87], [STRAUSSCORBIN90], [STRAUSSCORBIN97], [STRAUSSCORBIN98].

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GTM Versions

Apparently there are at least two versions of GTM, i.e. Glaserian and Straussian. "Students of Glaser and Strauss in the 1960s and 1970s knew the two had quite different modus operandi" of teaching GTM. The differences include the understanding of "constant comparissions" as well as "theoretical memoing and sorting". On the verificational issue, Glaser argued that rigorous verificational methods could be used for testing a few of the central hypotheses only. References: [GLASER92, pp. 116-117], [GLASER98, p. 22], [MORSE97B, p. 184], [STERN94, pp. 212, 220].

Whereas Glaser openly argued that Strauss' version has its own merit, but it is not grounded theory; Strauss only hinted that "although many of the essentials of the original grounded theory method were maintained, there were some differences. These were not intentional but rather simply evolved as Strauss continued to conduct, teach, and discuss research methodology with colleagues and students.". References: [GLASER92], [GLASER98], [STRAUSSCORBIN98, pp. 10,12].

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This is NOT GTM

There exists various other types of comparative analysis which are NOT GTM:

  1. Comparisons for Verifications.
  2. Assumed Verification Plus Limited Generation.
  3. Organizing Data but not Generating Theory.
  4. Comparisons for Generation.
    However, "because the approach was not, however, as explicit as outlined (in the Discovery book), the grounded theory was less than fully satisfactory in its integrations".
References: [GLASERSTRAUSS67, ch. VI, p. 158].

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References:

  • The Grounded Theory Reference Page -- in paper form.
  • Online Grounded Theory Articles -- on the Web.
  • [GLASER78] Glaser, Barney G. 1978. Theoretical Sensitivity. Sociology Press, pp. 164. [HM48 Gla CLMS, -]
    MEMO: Although it is not a doctrine, read this thoughtfully! It is about Theoretical "Pacing, Sampling, Coding, Sorting, Writing", as well as Basic Social Processes - BSP -, Generating Formal Theory, and New Directions.
  • [GLASER92] Glaser, Barney G. 1992. Emergence vs. Forcing: Basics of Grounded Theory Analysis. Sociology Press, pp. 129. [HM28 Gla CLMS, -]
    MEMO: REPRODUCIBILITY (pp. 116 - 117) do not waste time! Use rigorous verificational methods to test a few of its central hypotheses [cf. MORSE97B].
  • [GLASER98] Glaser, Barney G. 1998. Doing Grounded Theory: Issues and Discussions. Sociology Press, pp. 254. [-, -]
    Keywords: Grounded Theory
    MEMO: Grounded theory is a delayed action phenomenon. Do not expect to understand this book at the first glance.
  • [GLASERSTRAUSS67] Glaser, Barney G., and Strauss, Anselm L. 1967. The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research. Aldine, pp. 271. [HM48 Gla CLMS, ISBN 0-2977-6318-0]
    MEMO: The starting point of GTM.
  • [GLASTRA65] Glaser, Barney G., and Strauss, Anselm L. 1965. Awareness of Dying. Aldine Pub., pp. 302. [BF789 Dea.G CLCS, -]
    MEMO: The origin of GTM
  • [STERN94] Stern, Phyllis Noerager. 1994. Eroding Grounded Theory. In Critical Issues in Qualitative Research Methods (Morse, Janice M. editor), Sage Pub., - ed., pp. 210-223. [RT81.5 Cri CLMS, ISBN 0-8039-5043-8].
    Keywords: Grounded Theory, Minus Mentoring, Glaser vs. Strauss
    MEMO: Strauss stops at each word to ask "What if?" whereas Glaser keeps his attention focused on data and asks, "What do we have here?". Also in GLASER95.
  • [STRAUSS87] Strauss, Anselm L. 1987. Qualitative Analysis for Social Scientist. Cambridge University Press, pp. 319. [H61 Sta CLMS, ISBN 0-5213-2845-4]
    MEMO: Ch 2: A good illustration of the coding procedure
  • [STRAUSS91] Strauss, Anselm L. 1991. Creating Sociological Awareness -- Collective Images and Symbolic Representations. Transaction Publisers, pp. 483. [HM51 Str CLMS, ISBN 0-88738-355-6]
    MEMO: with a foreword by Irving Louis Horowitz.
  • [STRAUSSCORBIN98] Strauss, Anselm L., and Corbin, Juliet. 1998. Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory. Sage, 2nd ed., pp. 312. [HA29 Str, ISBN 0-8039-5939-7]
    Keywords: Grounded Theory, Qualitative Analysis
    MEMO: A good book for novice researchers: discusses the version that is taught by Strauss (p. 12). See also http://gtm.vlsm.org/gtm-18.en.html.
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