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Describe the Methodological Paradigms for Classical Grounded Theory.


Grounded theory is a qualitative method that pursues to cultivate an argument based on methodically collected and analyzed data. The technique was initially presented by Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss in 1967. They established this exploration style while reviewing the relations with critically ill patients in a clinic environment. The two sociologists were unhappy about the manner in which prevailing philosophies ruled sociological research (Falzon, 2016). They established a process of instantaneous data gathering and analysis which allows the creation of a theory grounded in the collected data. In other words, they created a technique that wishes to develop a concept rather than to test pre-conceived ideas.  During that period most of the theory progress was conducted before collecting and analyzing data. Glaser and Strauss were, therefore, interested with another tactic, one which involved evolving approaches in a manner that is related to the data gathering and analysis process. However, it worth noting that the grounded theory approach has experienced some various amendments (Goldstein, Gray, Salisbury, & Snell, 2014). Most meaningfully, the authors separated company and suggested different techniques in which grounded theory should be accomplished.  As a result, there are three major approaches of grounded theory expansion namely; traditional/classical, evolved and constructivist. Traditional methods were developed by Glaser and Strauss though separately.

The epistemological background entails ignoring the existing literature of theory to ensure that the emergence of categories will not be tainted. Approach advocates that an analyst's epistemological outline ought to be clearly discovered and recognized in early phases of the research. The justification is that nonparticipation from a literature review will permit the concept to arise from the data, instead of being executed to it from the available literature. However, Glaser and Strauss later deviated on their positions regarding steering a literature review before data gathering (Fusch & Ness, 2015). Regardless of their disagreement on a method to literature reviews, they stayed attached to a shared fundamental belief that to establish a grounded theory it was significant to let such theory to arise via means of evading researcher's contamination of research project.

Moreover, the importance of emergency is contained in the three approaches of GMT though there is divergence. The divergence arises from different strategies adopted by the sociologists on how a researcher should realize or permit a theory to develop devoid of introducing rigid notions and norms on the research item. Glaser debated in approval of no reading on the topic of investigation before the research itself. Subsequently, he divided into three major categories; non-professional, popular and pure ethnographic descriptions.

Methodology used

On the other hand, (Corbin & Strauss, 2014) acknowledged that a scholar conveys to the study not only his/her individual and skilled understanding, but also awareness learned from the literature which may entail the area of examination. As a result, they dived literature into methodological and non-technical. Also, they acknowledged read before data gathering could not necessarily deter the advent of the theory. Besides, they did not endorse distancing from the literature, but rather to engross with it and utilize it in the entire process of exploration.

 Though Glaser recommends refraining from a literature review before the exploration and both Strauss and Corbin, do not, their opinions revolve around the same foundation: not to restrict with the advent of the innovation of a concept. The basic principles of grounded theory are that you should approach your study with no assumptions or hypothesis.

Some of the standard techniques used in grounded theory entail participant observation. Indeed, this is a method which requires the analyst engaging him or herself in the regular life of those being studied. Often involves a broad work in the environment of interest. The method is also known as fieldwork. In a like manner, there is an interviewing method in which researchers will study about beliefs by dialog with informers or associates of the group. From this view, the categories of interviews steered by researchers using this style differ in point of formality from casual conversation to semi-structured and organized interviews. (Matthew, Huberman, &Saldaña, 2014) Besides, a researcher may also acquire knowledge about the group by amassing and reviewing artifacts such as written procedures, diagrams, and educational handouts. They are considered as materials used by affiliates of the values in their everyday lives.

Moreover, the grounded theory approach involves a constant comparative method that entails the investigator moving in and out of the data pool and investigation process. The back and onwards undertaking between the data collection and analysis is referred to as iteration. The multiple iterations in grounded theory start with a propagative question that leads to the first iteration of theoretical sampling. It entails classifying an initial section of people to observe such as registered nurses. The data obtained is analyzed to enable the researcher to start to progress a theory and decide how next to sample hence known as theoretical sampling (Reeves, et al. 2013). A similar procedure endures till the investigator obtains a saturation stage. It is a position in which no first-hand ideas and insights are emanating from the data.

Methods used

Also, there are three stages of data analysis in GT. Open coding in which researcher segments data into related groups and formulae first groups of information about the subject of study (Suryani, 2013). Axial coding that involves identifying a relationship between the groups and connections. Subsequently, there is selective coding which consists in determining the core category and methodically relating to other types as well articulate a coherent understanding of the phenomenon of study.

Ethnography is a complete style to research established by anthropologists to apprehend persons within their typical and traditional backgrounds. It is, therefore, the study of social interaction and culture groups irrespective of these groups are defined as societies, organizations or teams. The fundamental notional foundation of ethnography is that individual's activities and opinions are reliant on a vast variety of aspects and what they proclaim and act in one background is not necessarily what they do in another (Emerson, et al. 2017). Hence to entirely apprehend peoples' conduct, views, and decision-making procedures, a researcher ought to devote time with them in their different physical and societal surroundings. The utilization of ethnography as a research methodology has thrived across the social science within various academic fields such as commerce, healthcare, and education among others.

Ethnographic paradigm advocates for the establishment of a serene and conducive environment as well as an enabling rapport between the interviewer and members of the society.

Ethnographic research just like all social research requires to be undertaken ethically. Indeed, it entails due care and attention to protect the interests of research participants. Consequently, ethnographies require prior ethical approval from the local research community committee that covers organizations in which the study is due to be undertaken (Heath, & Cowley, 2014). Also, ethnographer ought to ignore his or her deductions and expectations about a group of individual to efficiently acquire everything about them.

The principal technique of the ethnographer is contributor observation. It entails the involvement of the researcher into the lives of those that they are reviewing which is established on living among the persons under study usually for a year. During the period the researcher can gather data via continuous participation in their lives and activities. The ethnographer pursues not only to perceive and investigate about circumstances facing individuals but to contribute within them (Emerson, et al. 2011). Participant observation is useful to measure the difference between what people exactly do and what people say they do. An interview also acts as a valuable method to learn from individuals what they believe, how they contemplate and how that affects their daily life. There are two kinds of an interview; totally structured and semi-structured. Fully formal discussions are where questions are non-flexible while the latter interviewer has the flexibility to add additional items based on the interviewee's responses. Besides, there is a utilization of survey which ought not to be non-inflammatory and should not be too long.

Analysis of data in GT

It is vital to record all of the interviews since memory may not be sufficient source for citation. Partial transcriptions are highly recommended to capture necessary and most valuable parts of the conversation. Under participant observation, a research journal for field notes is very vital to keep track of comments. Journals will also be relevant for determining researcher's own biases or prejudice.  Technical tools, always the researcher ought to test his or her equipment before travel and every day before going out into the field.

There is some aspect in which the grounded theory approach is similar to ethnography approach. First of all the researcher in both methodologies utilizes a holistic approach to study the phenomenon and the study occurs in the phenomenon's natural context. Secondly, in both approaches, there is use of more than one data collection method to enable the researcher to offer numerous explanations and improve reliability and exactness of research study (Heath, & Cowley,2014). Also in both categories, the researcher presents the reports from the standpoint of a contributor who has experienced the occurrence in the natural setting.

In spite of the similarities, there are some differences between grounded theory and ethnography approach. The most noticeable difference between grounded theory and ethnography is that of purpose. The grounded theory focuses on developing methods while ethnography aims at discovering and understanding a specific culture (Robinson, 2013). Also, researchers utilizing grounded approach do not consult literature before analyzing data since it may influence their findings. In contrast, ethnographers can consult literature before embarking on the field work. Ethnographic research is investigative in which the ethnographer goes into the field to discover a cultural group and explore specific social interactions.

Conversely, in case of grounded theory approach, a theoretical sampling technique is assumed to help in theory building. Theorist tends to collect, code and analyze data to enable development of theory (Smyth & McInerney, 2013). On the other hand, ethnographers apply purposive sampling to emphasize more to a particular aspect of culture.

Overall it can be noted that the selection of one of these approaches is highly dependent on the research questions of the study and the basis of the similarities and differences outlined above. Both research approaches are valuable in their context and are highly useful as qualitative methods of research. Moreover, it essential to note that the difference between the two approaches does not propose differences in quality but rather in their nature and purpose.


Grounded theory has substantial significance since it offers clear, chronological strategies for steering qualitative research. Besides, it provides detailed approaches for supervision of the systematic stages of analysis. In a like manner, the theory simplifies and incorporates data collection and investigation (Holloway, & Galvin,2016). Furthermore, the argument progresses the theoretical study of qualitative data, and also legitimizes qualitative exploration as a scientific inquest. Additionally, grounded theory methods have received their place as a typical communal research technique which has influenced investigators from diverse disciplines and occupations.

It has been established that grounded theory contributes to a positivist epistemology and that it avoids inquiries of reflexivity. The approach tends to work with induction which is associated to pay inadequate consideration to the role of researcher since the data is presumed to speak for itself (Aldiabat & Le Navenec 2015) An additional limitation of grounded theory is its concern with the discovery of common procedures that confines its applicability to more phenomenological research inquiries. When used to issues of the environment of involvement as opposed to relating societal process, then the model is reduced to a method classification.

The work of ethnographers enables ordinary people to learn more about people who live in various countries, their cultures as well as norms. As a result, it opens an individual's mind and enables one to realize how the world is diverse. Also due to the use of qualitative research, ethnographers can make discoveries that would not have been obvious if a quantitative analysis was used hence the establishment of more detailed and in-depth results (Jamal et al. 2013). Through the application of consumer ethnography, businesses can learn more about their target market.

Ethnography relies on qualitative research hence it can be hard to select a demonstrative model by the researcher. It attributed to the fact that despite people living in the same area, they have different personal experience. Moreover, ethnography study requires a substantial amount of time to build rapport with his subjects (Venzon Cruz & Higginbottom, 2013). Likewise, the achievement of ethnographic research heavily rests on the subject's readiness to open up to the investigator. For instance, when people are aware someone is observing them, they tend to pretend to make themselves appear honorable or to mislead the researcher.

Grounded theory is a qualitative research method which is suitable for research questions about the health and medicine field. Ethnography is most useful in the early stages of a user-centered design project since it focuses on understanding and developing of the design problem. Part 3


I would wish to carry research on a question regarding inclusive education for students with disabilities in higher institutions of learning.  The theoretical aspect which appeals to me best is none other than that of ethnography approach. With the use of ethnography approach, I will be able to look at the barriers and facilitating factors to participate in inclusive education from the perspective of parents, teachers' and students with disabilities (Heath & Street, 2015). Also, ethnography appeals to me most since I will be intensively involved with participants of disabled students both in their settings and the social world during my period of field work.


 Aldiabat K & Le Navenec C-L (2015) Philosophical roots of classical grounded theory: Its foundations in symbolic interactionism. The Qualitative Report. 16(4):1063.

Corbin, J., & Strauss A. (2014) Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. Sage publications.

Emerson, R.M, Fretz, R, & Shaw, L.L. (2017). Writing ethnographic field notes. University of Chicago Press;

Falzon, M. A. (2016). Introduction: Multi-sited ethnography: Theory, praxis and locality in contemporary research. In Multi-sited ethnography (pp. 15-38). Routledge.

Fusch, P. I., & Ness, L. R. (2015). Are we there yet? Data saturation in qualitative research. The qualitative report, 20(9), 1408-1416.

Goldstein, T., Gray, J., Salisbury, J., & Snell, P. (2014). When qualitative research meets theater: The complexities of performed ethnography and research-informed theater project design. Qualitative Inquiry, 20(5), 674-685.

Heath, H., & Cowley, S. (2014). Developing a grounded theory approach: a comparison of Glaser and Strauss. International journal of nursing studies, 41(2), 141-150.

Heath, S. B., & Street, B. V. (2015). On Ethnography: Approaches to Language and Literacy Research. Language & Literacy (NCRLL). Teachers College Press. 1234 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10027.

Holloway, I., & Galvin, K. (2016). Qualitative research in nursing and healthcare. John Wiley & Sons. 

Jamal, F., Fletcher, A., Harden, A., Wells, H., Thomas, J., & Bonell, C. (2013). The school environment and student health: a systematic review and meta-ethnography of qualitative research. BMC public health, 13(1), 798.

Matthew B. M., Huberman A.M, Saldaña J. (2014.) Qualitative data analysis: A methods sourcebook. Sage.

Robinson, S. G. (2013). The relevancy of ethnography to nursing research. Nursing science quarterly, 26(1), 14-19.

Reeves, S., Peller, J., Goldman, J., & Kitto, S. (2013). Ethnography in qualitative educational research: AMEE Guide No. 80. Medical teacher, 35(8), e1365-e1379.

Smyth, J., & McInerney, P. (2013). Whose side are you on? Advocacy ethnography: Some methodological aspects of narrative portraits of disadvantaged young people, in socially critical research. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 26(1), 1-20.

Suryani, A. (2013). Comparing case study and ethnography as qualitative research approaches. Jurnal Ilmu Komunikasi, 5(1).

Venzon Cruz, E., & Higginbottom, G. (2013). The use of focused ethnography in nursing research. Nurse Researcher, 20(4).

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