Session: Seven Things You Didn't Learn About Grounded Theory in Graduate School (Society for Social Work and Research 14th Annual Conference: Social Work Research: A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES)

19 Seven Things You Didn't Learn About Grounded Theory in Graduate School

Cluster: Research Design and Measurement

Jane F. Gilgun, PhD, LICSW, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and Alankaar Sharma, MSW, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Thursday, January 14, 2010: 3:30 PM-5:15 PM
Seacliff C (Hyatt Regency)
Grounded theory as the originators formulated it was innovative and inspirational to countless scholars, but also incomplete, contradictory, and confusing (Bryant & Charmaz, 2008; Gilgun, 2007). Anselm Strauss, Barney Glaser, and Juliet Corbin completed several iterations of grounded theory, each intended to clarify and elaborate on what grounded theory is (Glaser, 1978, 1991, 1992, 1998, 2001, 2002; Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Strauss, 1987; Strauss & Corbin, 1990, 1992, 1998, 2006). Other scholars who were students and collaborators with the originators also wrote their own versions of grounded theory (Bryant & Charmaz, 2008; Charmaz, 1990, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2007; Charmaz & Henwood, 2007; Clark, 2005; Covan, 2008; Schatzman, 1991; Schatzman & Strauss, 1973; Stern, 2008, 1994; 1980. These researchers and authors have a variety of views on definitions and procedures.

Presumably, researchers can make decisions based on their own purposes, goals, and creative thinking. Strauss encouraged this. In his writings, he advised other researchers to be creative, to decide what they want from their research, and to stick with it no matter what others may do to challenge them (Strauss, 1991).

The purpose of this workshop is to address advanced topics in grounded theory. The focus is on aspects of grounded theory that are under-developed in writings on grounded theory and in graduate school curricula. The presenters of this workshop are a social work academic researcher who has conducted grounded theory studies for almost 30 years and an advanced social work PhD student who has been her research assistant and mentee in the grounded theory approach for almost three years. The co-presenters will model one of the core ideas of doing grounded theory; that is, researchers cannot learn to do grounded theory from a book but must learn through working with a more experienced researcher.

Topics to be covered include 1) differences between grounded theory as method and grounded theory as product; 2) characteristics of grounded theory as product; 3) emergence as the core idea of grounded theory as product; 4) the uses of grounded theories that are products; 5) grounded theory as method: its origins in the Chicago School of Sociology and the Columbia School of Sociology; 6) grounded theory as method as a generic set of procedures for many types of qualitative research such as group analysis of data; and 7) using grounded theory as method and product with other perspectives such as narrative analysis and phenomenology.

The presenters will provide many examples of grounded theory as product and as method. We will invite the audience to share their experiences with doing grounded theory. We also will present puzzling aspects of grounded theory approaches and invite the audience to problem-solve. By the end of the workshop, participants will have acquired greater clarity about the purposes, products, and uses of grounded theory as product and as method.

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