188.8.131.52 Observation for theory generation: emergent theory
184.108.40.206.1 Grounded theory The 'grounded theory' approach (Glaser and Strauss, 1967), widely referred to in the literature, is a process of inductive construction and testing of hypotheses and as such is similar to the positivists inductive generation of hypotheses, although going further in using the data themselves as the basis for suggesting theories.
Grounded theory works on the basis that, when undertaking observational (or ethnographic) research, theories evolve from the data. This is different from using observational data to illustrate a preformed theory.
In order to go beyond description and develop a theoretical understanding of the interaction of policies with the refugees themselves, I have analysed the research findings using grounded theory modes of analysis.
Grounded theory is a straightforward approach, although it takes some imagination and lateral thinking to do it well. The approach is summarised in CASE STUDY Grounded theory.
Grounded theory is nothing more grandiose than coding and gradually refining the theoretical constructs that account for similarly coded material. This process evolves, through the next stage of refinement of the theoretical model, into a more delimited set of constructs that start to emerge as the theoretical explanation—emergent theory as it is known. AsCooper et al., (2004) stated:
An inductive, grounded theory approach was taken in the analysis of the transcripts and fieldnotes allowing the emergence of categories and themes from the data and the development of theory. Categories were refined and coding reviewed throughout the process...
For Glaser, the aim of the grounded theorising method is to discover the theory implicit in the data. There is a continuing search for evidence that disconfirms the emerging theory.
Glaser suggests two main criteria for judging the adequacy of the emerging theory: that it fits the situation and that it works, that is, it helps the research subjects make sense of their situation and experiences and to improve their management of the situation.
Grounded theory is not greatly different from analytic induction (Section 220.127.116.11); it draws heavily on that conventional ethnographic approach and, as was noted, is concerned, through theoretical sampling (Section 18.104.22.168.2.2), to explore the data systematically and as exhaustively as possible. Furthermore, in Glaser's formulation of theoretical adequacy his emphasis on practical relevance strongly echoes pragmatist philosophy.
Glaser and Strauss diverged in their development of grounded theory after their initial outline of the approach (Glaser and Strauss, 1967).Strauss and Corbin (1990) published a text book on qualitative research, which Glaser considered had misrepresented the most important features of grounded theory.Glaser (1992) describes how to undertake his style of grounded theorising. In particular, he argued there is a difference between letting the theory emerge from the data and forcing the data into preconceived frameworks.
adopted a grounded approach which promotes theoretical flexibility without abandoning a structural analysis, an approach which digs beneath the surface to uncover the ways in which political, ideological and economic apparatuses pattern practice.
In this situation, the authors are talking about grounding their analysis in observational data but this does not mean that they are using 'grounded theory' in the sense of inductively deriving theory from empirical observations. Indeed, Gottfried and Graham make no mention of Glaser and Strauss and are, in fact, undertaking a critical study (explored in more detail in Section 3.3.3).