Grounded Theory



Qualitative research and its epistemological approaches can lead to misunderstandings when it comes to Grounded Theory application.

Indeed, as the very charismatic Professor Suddaby explained it[1], lots of researchers misuse this methodology which conducts to many unpublished materials.

So, how can we avoid it?

First, let's recall Grounded Theory principle. Through an interpretive process and refusing positivist notions of hypothesis testing and falsification, this methodology suits the efforts to understand how actors construct meaning out of an intersubjective experience.

Therefore, Professor Suddaby pointed out six common misconceptions :

Misconception # 1 Grounded Theory is not an excuse to ignore the Literature

Misconception # 2 Grounded Theory is not a presentation of raw data

Misconception # 3 Grounded Theory is not theory testing, content analysis or word counts 

Misconception # 4 Grounded Theory is not routine application of formulaic technique to data 

Misconception # 5 Grounded Theory is not perfect

Misconception # 6 Grounded Theory is (not) easy

Yet, if you are a newbie researcher as I am, you may want to defer the use of this methodology until you've got better experienced. And don't underestimate the intuitive skills, the tacid field knowledge – practitioners' attribute -, the time allocation and the considerable exposure to empirical context Grounded Theory requires.


[1] Suddaby, R. From the Editors: What grounded theory is not. Academy of Management Journal, 2006, 633-642

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