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Are There Two Methods of Grounded Theory? Demystifying the Methodological Debate

Grounded theory is an inductive research method for the generation of substantive or formal theory, using qualitative or quantitative data generated from research interviews, observation, or written sources, or some combination thereof (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). In recent years there has been much controversy over the etiology of its discovery, as well as, the exact way in which grounded theory research is to be operationalized. Unfortunately, this situation has resulted in much confusion, particularly among novice researchers who wish to utilize this research method. In this article, the historical, methodological and philosophical roots of grounded theory are delineated in a beginning effort to demystify this methodological debate. Grounded theory variants such as feminist grounded theory (Wuest, 1995) or constructivist grounded theory (Charmaz, 1990) are beyond the scope of this discussion.

Article originally published in ‘The Grounded Theory Review’, V.7(2008), n. 2. http://groundedtheoryreview.com/. Reprinted with permission.

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