Reviews

Grounded Theory: A Practical Guide, Second edition

This book is intended as a practical guide to introduce the novice grounded theorist to the issues and challenges of undertaking grounded theory research

This book is intended as a practical guide to introduce the novice grounded theorist to the issues and challenges of undertaking grounded theory research.

It is said to provide a comprehensive description of the strategies and techniques used in this research approach even though there is an acknowledgement of its limitations in terms of providing an in-depth account of the philosophical underpinnings of grounded theory. For this, the reader will need to look elsewhere, to the many texts that have emerged on grounded theory, not least the Glaser and Strauss seminal works.

The book is written in an accessible style. The authors explain the complex tenets of grounded theory in easy-to-understand language. The challenges that grounded theorists face, such as how much to engage with the literature to satisfy grant or ethics panels while staying true to the methodology, are explained in no-nonsense practical terms. The authors also highlight that it is usual to expect to return to ethics panels to seek approval for amendments as grounded theory studies unfold. This is useful advice to the novice researcher, who may not factor this in to project timelines.

The chapter on data generation offers a good overview of the main methods of gathering data and covers traditional methods such as interviewing as well as addressing more emergent methods such as using social media. However, the subject matter is covered briefly, without depth, and readers would be advised to consult with wider literature on their chosen method to gain a deeper understanding of strengths and limitations.

The chapters on analysis and theoretical integration are where this book offers the novice researcher some much-needed guidance. The authors present a practical walk through the process, which uncovers the dark art of analysis. Even for the doctoral researcher engaging in the analysis process, this book, when read alongside a text on grounded theory, offers a step-by-step guide. The activity boxes in these chapters help the reader develop his or her skills in this area. The concept of grounding the emergent theory in the data is well explained through the advice on ‘writing your storyline’.

The strength of this book is that it offers practical advice on the challenges of conducting grounded theory in an accessible and non-threatening way. For this reason, it is especially suited to those new to conducting grounded theory research.

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