Qualitative research is a research method that focuses on in-depth analysis of the experiences, perceptions, and attitudes of people in a particular setting. Qualitative researchers are interested in studying human experience and behavior. They try to understand the meaning and significance of events through close observation and analysis of people’s experiences.
Situating grounded theory
Grounded theory is a complex methodology, it refers to a set of systematic inductive methods for conducting qualitative research aimed toward theory development surrounding a social issue. It is quite often used to provide explanations to phenomena that do not have any theoretical background. The basic idea behind grounded theory is that you should start with your data and then develop your theory from there. You don’t try to make up a theory in order to test it; instead, you try to develop your theories based on what you learn from your data.
Grounded theory is a qualitative approach in research that emphasizes inductive, reflexive and participatory research. Grounded theory is a way of doing qualitative research that involves the process of generating hypotheses and then testing them by inductively collecting data from participants. As you go through the process of generating hypotheses, you will begin to understand how people think about their experiences in new ways; this understanding can lead to new ideas about what has been happening in your study.
The term “grounded theory” was coined by Glaser and Strauss (1967). The purpose of grounded theory is to generate an integrated explanation or model from observed phenomena (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). The development of grounded theory requires researchers to engage in an iterative process:
- First, they develop general concepts based on their observations;
- Second, they refine these concepts using additional data;
- Third, they test these refined concepts against other theories and apply them as necessary.
The goal of grounded theory is to develop an understanding of the meaning of a phenomenon, which can then be used in subsequent research. The process involves developing a theoretical model based on the participant’s own experiences and interpretations, rather than using an existing model from other researchers.
Grounded theory design and significance
Qualitative researchers begin their analysis by describing participants’ experiences with their feelings about what is happening around them. They then try to understand how those feelings influence the way they view themselves as well as others in their life situations. Typically, qualitative researchers will not use any form of quantitative data collection such as questionnaires or statistical surveys as part of their research process because they believe that the answers provided by these methods are too generalized to accurately portray the individual’s true thoughts and feelings. Instead qualitative researchers rely upon open-ended questions which allow participants to formulate their own responses without being influenced by any preconceived ideas or expectations about responses that might have been held by researchers prior to conducting the interview session.
Similarly, in grounded theory, theoretical sampling is a key aspect of the sampling stage of grounded theory. Participants are recruited based on their different experiences of a phenomenon and the information is collected using observation, literature survey and focus groups and interviews. This form of data collection is iterated with key relationships and analysis formed with each step. Its significant strengths include (a) presents clear, sequential steps for doing qualitative research; (b) provides specific methods for processing the data analysis phases of research; (c) unifies data collection and processing; (d) explores the theory of qualitative data; and (e) legitimizes qualitative research as scientific enquiry.
The qualitative researcher tries to understand people’s experiences by collecting data from multiple sources such as interviews and observations. This type of research involves collecting data from individuals who are directly involved in an issue or event being studied. Consequently, this type of research can be used to study a wide range of subjects including social issues such as prejudice and discrimination, personal development and growth, group dynamics and leadership styles, educational issues such as teaching methods and techniques, etc.
The main advantage is that it helps researchers create a better understanding of their subjects’ experiences and behaviors by focusing on them holistically instead of focusing on specific events or items (Bryman & Bellah
Limitations and issues of validity
Limitations or weaknesses of grounded theory:
1) It can be time-consuming because you must spend time doing ethnographic fieldwork in order to generate your data set (this can be especially difficult if you only have limited resources).
2) Your findings may not be generalizable because your sample size may not be large enough for you to draw conclusions about larger populations.
Grounded theory is also limited by its lack of validity, meaning that it cannot be used to make predictions about future events or situations.Corbin and Strauss (1990) explained that in order to comprehend the degree of validity of grounded theory as a qualitative tool of investigation, alterations need to be made in the framework illustrating the construct of validity.
Another limitation of grounded theory is that it is not a “scientific” approach to qualitative data. The intent of the method is to develop a theory based on the data and then incorporate that theory into a research article. The resulting article may not be as rigorous as an original study by itself, but it will be a more complete picture of what has been learned.
The weakness in this approach is that the researcher does not have control over how the data will be used or what conclusions will be drawn from them. This means that there is no way to determine if certain information has been missed or misconstrued by using this method.
One of the most important limitations of grounded theory is that it cannot be used to study the same topic in different settings. For example, if a researcher wants to study how women feel about maternity leave policies in a particular company, he or she would have to use data collected from interviews with employees and managers at that company. However, this approach would not work if the researcher wanted to use data from interviews with employees and managers in other companies.
Another limitation of grounded theory is that it does not allow for inductive reasoning. This means that one cannot draw conclusions from observations or from data collection (Heelan, 2011). To illustrate this limitation, consider an example where a researcher collects data on how many customers are satisfied with their purchases from a store. This information could be used as evidence for whether or not the store should increase their prices, but it cannot be used as evidence for what should happen next (Heelan, 2011).