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Grounded Theory Qualitative Research Essay

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Updated: Jun 22nd, 2019


Grounded theory is a qualitative approach to research that encompasses the use multifarious iterative methodologies to carry out systematic analysis of social phenomena. The grounded theory methodology is explicitly applied in the generation and/or development of new theories with reference to interactive social inquiries.

Creswell (2012) reveals that the grounded theory is suitable for seeking advanced knowledge about a specific social phenomenon. The grounded theory methodology uses abductive rather than inductive or deductive reasoning. However, abductive reasoning is a compromise of both inductive and deductive ways of thinking. Inductive and deductive philosophies seek the best explanation about the subject of study.

This characteristic makes grounded theory research appropriate for analyzing intricate social occurrences in the society. Unlike many other theoretical concepts, grounded theory research uses data to develop theories. In this case, data is analyzed with a view of building a theory. The researcher is not expected to approach phenomenal data with a theory (Lawrence & Tar, 2013).

Types of Grounded Theory Research Designs

There are three types of grounded theory designs that include systematic, emerging, and constructivist grounded theory research designs. The systematic grounded theory design focuses on the utilization of open, axial, and selective coding techniques in the process of data analysis (Creswell, 2012). These systematic phases enable the researcher to develop a cogent archetype of the expected theory.

On the other hand, the emerging design emphasizes allows the theory to develop from the obtained data. This type of grounded theory research does not use predetermined stages as in the systematic grounded theory design. Lastly, the constructivist design entails the analysis of respondents’ attitudes, values, expectations, beliefs, and philosophies. It seeks to examine individual experiences.

Process of going about this Research

Creswell (2012) explains the various distinctive stages that are involved in the process of going about the grounded theory research. The grounded theory methodology starts with data collection. Personal consultations, direct observations, and journal information constitute the different techniques that researchers use to collect grounded data.

The method that is used to collect data depends on its ability to provide flexible information since grounded research is a dynamic process. The second step entails note taking. The keenness of the researcher is crucial to obtain relevant information. The sensitivity of the information that is collected in the process of grounded theory research determines the applicability of the developed concepts.

In the third step, the researcher is expected to seek approval and permission to access information from relevant sources. Fourthly, the grounded theory research involves intentional conduction of theoretical sampling. Next, the collected data is coded to provide a framework for developing the anticipated theory.

The sixth step entails validation of the developed theory. Finally, the researcher has to write a grounded theory research report to support the developed theory.


Grounded theory research involves difficult processes such as collection and analysis of cyclical data. Indeed, the collection of cyclical data, analysis, and determination of conclusions is time-consuming. This challenge significantly affects the ability of the researcher to maintain perpetual comparison of grounded data (Lawrence & Tar, 2013).

Furthermore, grounded theories are inferential rather than descriptive. This nature of research complicates the understanding of abstract information. This situation affects flexibility and ability to uphold reliability throughout the entire process of research.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Grounded Theory Research

Creswell (2012) posits that every qualitative approach to research has its own advantages and disadvantages that determine its suitability for analysis. One of the greatest advantages of the grounded theory approach is its methodically and rigorously framed investigation procedures. The systematic arrangement of the theory’s stages eases the collections, analysis, and generation workable solutions to social issues.

In addition, the grounded theory research provides the researcher with rich data that is gained from the experiences of other individuals. The theory obtains data from experiences pertaining to different social phenomena. This advantage enables the researcher to use old information to come up with alternative solutions for complex problems.

However, the grounded theory research has various disadvantages. First, since the theory is a compromise between inductive and deductive reasoning, the partiality of the information interferes with the dependability and substantiation of the entire process of data analysis. Secondly, the qualitative nature of the results that are obtained for the grounded research process is at times ambiguous for practitioners.

Field in which the Grounded Theory Research is mostly widely used

The grounded theory research is used in many fields to seek practicable solutions for social phenomenon. Lawrence and Tar (2013) reveal that the grounded theory research has become increasingly popular in conducting medical studies. Its qualitative aspects make it appropriate for designing, rationalization, and generation of pioneering findings that enhance the handling of patients and administration of treatment.

Furthermore, the grounded theory approach is useful in accountancy. Accountants require abductive reasoning to gather and analyze coded data. It enables them to develop pertinent theories through the manipulation of accountancy data.

Accounting practices demand uninterrupted assessment of complex information from business documents. The analysis of such information requires the application of qualitative methods such as the grounded theory research.

Reference List

Creswell, J. (2012). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches. New York, NY: Sage Publications.

Lawrence, J., & Tar, U. (2013). The use of Grounded Theory Technique as a Practical Tool for Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis. Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 11(1), 29-40.

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