16 January 2009

Grounded theory

I came across an interview with Juliet Corbin (of Strauss and Corbin fame) and was struck by one of its comments. The subject came up in informal discussions at ISIC 2008 - why don't people who claim to use 'grounded theory' ever develop a theory? What you get instead is qualitative description - interesting, but not really going far enough.

The interviewer (Danny Meetoo) asked:

DM Many people talk about grounded theory. In your extensive experience, do you think that everyone who claims to do grounded theory actually lives up to that claim?

and Corbin replied:

JC What I’ve noticed is that very few people really develop theory. Doing a grounded theory implies developing a theory from data. At the end of the study, there is more than a set of findings... Often people don’t develop theory either. They do descriptive studies, and by descriptive I mean they come up with five themes and just list the five themes and talk about the five themes with no integration or no scheme that pulls the themes together. There is no integrative theoretical formulation that could be called theory...

Exactly what gives qualitative research a bad name.

1 comment:

  1. I kinda have been expecting this in a way...
    But I reali dun think da world is going to end...start a new era maybe but the world is not ending.
    That's not gonna happen till a thousand years later! Ok, I'm not sure bout that either but that's not the point! The world's not gonna end! Full stop!
    ]2012 end of world
    [/url] - some truth about 2012