Another challenge in the implementation of sampling in grounded theory is that it follows an entirely different approach in comparison to the positivist philosophical foundations of research.
The emerging sampling framework depicts a loosely coordinated idea of sampling, deviating from the essence of sampling techniques reflected in positivist methodology. The use of theoretical sampling also poses the challenge of determining the sample size beforehand, as in case of quantitative modes of inquiry, or other qualitative means of data collection.
The ambiguity of the criterion for theoretical saturation encourages the use of great deal of subjectivity in determining the achievement of this objective. Such issues in sampling methodology may limit the scope of applicability of grounded theory. As noted by Corbin and Strauss in order to comprehend the degree of validity of grounded theory as a qualitative tool of investigation, alterations need to be made in the framework illustrating the construct of validity.
The concept of qualitative validity as proposed by Sandelowski, is based on the perception of the reader about the degree of trustworthiness and credibility that can be associated with the research, thus adding a great deal of subjectivity in the decision. Such an approach carries the issue of the use of subjective opinion in evaluation of the quality of a scholarly work, leaving the possibility of erroneous perception.
A more refined approach has been presented by Rolfe who has considered the use of the criterion of credibility and transferability as an alternative approach to internal and external validity respectively. However, the use of these components also poses challenge to the qualitative research as the proponents of quantitative approach argue for the effectiveness of the factors of credibility and transferability.
Credibility may provide sound arguments pertaining to the validity of the findings of grounded theory from the perspective of the people who were involved in the sample of the study, however similar perspective may not be found among others Sandelowski, The issue of reliability is also a key challenge the researcher has to face while deploying grounded theory as a means of inquiry, because the subjective nature of analysis makes it an intricate process. Golafshani indicated that within the sphere of qualitative investigation, researchers are more likely to focus on the criterion of dependability, illustrating the ability of the future researchers to replicate the findings.
However, Parry argued that the inability of the future researchers to replicate the grounded theory in an exact manner also poses a challenge to the reliability of the findings generated during the research process.
For the quantitative approaches, the degree of reliability is easier to determine as compared to the qualitative methods. Sandelowski indicated that critics have viewed the use of means such as dependability as a potential source of threat for the level of validity of a grounded theory research. At one hand the incorporation of feedback from other researchers in the form of member or peer checking has been deemed to add to the degree of dependability or reliability of the findings, as the peers or other scholars can provide an unbiased perspective towards the accuracy of sample and its related findings.
On the other hand, Sandelowski argued that such an approach should be incorporated in the methodology with caution as it can have a negative impact on the reliability of the findings and inferences. The bias involved in the research process can also decrease the degree of trustworthiness and dependability of the inferences drawn from grounded theory.
There remains a possibility of overlooking sources of bias as trivial, which may in fact have a significant influence on the research process.
The researcher may find it difficult to identify how participants alter their responses on the basis of the knowledge they have attained during the investigation. Secondly, Hawthorne effect can also manifest itself in the form of behaviors that emerge as a means of forming a positive impression on the researcher, thus polluting the accurate version of reality. A researcher using grounded theory needs to identify the sources of bias originating from his own ideas about an event, situation, behavior etc, which may be a daunting task, as the biased perception may prevent the researcher from acknowledging the presence of such issues.
However, the effectiveness of the process can be challenged with the ability of the researcher to handle the identification of bias and sorting out relevant and accurate information from the participants.
Considering the dual bias eminent in grounded theory, the researcher would need to be extra cautious in data collection, analysis and interpretation, as bias can seep into the investigation process during any of these stages, challenging the process of effectiveness of bias identification and handling.
This paper examines the case built for selecting grounded theory as a defensible dissertation approach. The basic research issue that I wanted to investigate was how practitioners in an applied field sought information in their work ; in other words, how they researched. I further narrowed the investigation down to a more specific field, but the paper presented here is left in broader form so that other students can see the approach in more general terms.
Like many other doctoral students aspiring to use grounded theory for their dissertations, I had a graduate committee comprised of members who had never supervised a dissertation that used grounded theory and whose members had never done grounded theory themselves. As there were no other faculty members on campus who were experts in the approach, and because a dissertation exclusively using grounded theory had never been done on that campus, I had to fill the role of both educator and sales representative for the approach.
For me, the key to being successful in this approach was to show how grounded theory was not just one possible approach for the desired purpose of the study, but in fact the only appropriate methodology. I deliberately selected texts and references that had been used in previous courses with the committee members as it was felt that they would make relevant exemplars. The intent was to use resources that the committee members were familiar with and already trusted in order to make the case, so that the argument could be kept focused on the methodology rather than the references.
Other references that were similar in research intent were also used to illustrate the acceptability in the academic community of the approach, albeit in other disciplines. This resulted in a more limited but focused literature review than might be used in other instances, but one that was intended to be more persuasive.
Just as there are many different types of problems, there are consequently many different types of research methodologies used to investigate them. Selecting the appropriate methodology for a research problem is therefore much like selecting the right tool out of your toolbox; you might be able to get the job done with screwdriver, but it will not be as effective or efficient if you really needed a hammer all along.
There are several important factors to consider when selecting a methodology. Sogunro describes this process:. When faced with the question of which method to choose in conducting research…the following factors are important for consideration: Note that the first factor Sogunro advises us to consider is the research purpose. The purpose of the research will drive the rest of the process of selecting an appropriate methodology. While this lofty goal of improving practice may indeed be the ultimate goal of the researcher, contributing aspects must be examined as well.
First, whose practice is the researcher interested in improving? For the given case of examining how practitioners seek information, the answer to this question may have dramatic effects in the selection of an appropriate methodology.
For example, if the researcher was the manager of practitioners and ultimately only wanted to improve the practice of the practitioners directly under his or her charge, this would be a very important consideration. On the other hand, if the researcher is an information manager at a particular firm who is considering subscribing to an improved online search service, action research may not be the most appropriate choice.
Instead, the information manager might really only want to know how much practitioners currently use the current package to evaluate whether or not an upgrade would be worthwhile. In addition to whose practice the researcher is interested in improving, the researcher must consider the intended audience for the research. It may simply be a separate project undertaken in the course of other duties, or it may be formalized in a report to upper management for approval. Dissertations related to an applied field may want to appeal to audiences in both industry and academia.
If the researcher dislikes interacting with people, methodologies that use interviews may not be desirable. If the researcher dislikes statistical analysis, a quantitative approach may be unsuitable. Besides simple likes and dislikes, acknowledgement of skills and preferences towards certain methods may be given and evaluated.
There are also other practical considerationsl. As mentioned previously by Sogunro , the resources available, particularly money and time, must be considered. There are at least two related aspects of time that might affect the researcher in the selection of a methodology: If the researcher needs the results in a month, this will clearly limit the choice of methodologies or preclude the proper conduct of the study altogether.
With the above considerations in mind, the researcher begins to be guided towards certain methodologies and away from others. For the purposes of this paper, it will be assumed that there are no overriding constraints on methodology, such as publishing in a journal devoted to a particular approach or having to have the results in a month.
Further, it will be assumed that the research will not be used or consumed solely by the researcher, but will be presented to at least a limited audience of academics and professionals with the goal of explaining and potentially even predicting this information-seeking behavior.
The final product is a defensible dissertation of the quality expected of a doctoral candidate and the utility to be used by practitioners. Although one of the stated intents of the research is for it to ultimately be applied by practitioners in the field, there is no desire to judge the information-seeking behavior of the participants, only to learn what it is.
Although considered a form of applied research, evaluation research approaches would therefore be categorically rejected in this case, as they are intended to be used in rating and making decisions on the subject, as discussed previously. The process therefore turns back to the research question itself. The key word in the research problem is the interest in how practitioners seek information. However, eliminating approaches that are exclusively quantitative only narrows the field of potential methodologies slightly; there are a host of qualitative approaches left to consider.
Since the researcher has a specific audience of both academics and practitioners in mind, with the intent of the research being applied, action research would therefore be eliminated from consideration. Since the researcher is interested in current practices, historical research methods are also inappropriate. This leaves several other options remaining. A case study approach would allow detailed investigation into how a practitioner or practitioners seek information.
Perry believes that case studies are particularly suitable for offering realistic portrayals of behavior:. Given this appropriateness of realism for case study research, the research problems addressed in theses are more descriptive than prescriptive, for example, no positivist experiments or cause-and-effect paths are required to solve the research problem. This fits the stated research problem of how do practitioners research. Case studies are likely to provide some important information, as Stake discusses:.
We recognize a large population of hypothetical cases and a small subpopulation of accessible cases…. On representational grounds, the epistemological opportunity seems small, but we are optimistic that we can learn some important things from almost any case. We choose one case or a small number of exemplars. While learning something is a good start, the case study approach has several drawbacks for the proposed study, which focuses on how practitioners in an applied field seek information.
First, it may be difficult to actually define a case to study for this research. Custom has it that not everything is a case. A child [patient] may be a case, easy to specify.
A doctor may be a case. But his or her doctoring probably lacks the specificity, the boundedness, to be called a case. Similarly, a practitioner seeking information may likewise not be a suitable case for study. More importantly, while a case study would provide a lot of detail about that particular practitioner being examined, this may be inadequate for the given purpose, since the researcher wants to know how practitioners plural seek information.
Hodkinson and Hodkinson point this limitation of case studies out:. They are not generalisable [sic] in the conventional sense. By definition, case studies can make no claims to be typical….
For many researchers and others, this renders any case study findings as of little value.
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A GROUNDED THEORY STUDY OF THE MULTICULTURAL EXPERIENCES OF SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGISTS by Kenya Noreen Mewborn Dissertation submitted to .
abstract of dissertation promises we have kept: using grounded theory methodology to understand developmental factors that contribute to caucasian low-. James W. Jones, Ed.D. Abstract Doctoral students wanting to use grounded theory as a methodological approach for their dissertation often face multiple challenges gaining acceptance of their approach by .
Grounded theory dissertation articles. by ; I have to delete a sentence i'm particularly attached to in this essay so i'm gonna share it here. (1/3). A Dissertation. entitled. A Grounded Theory Approach to Studying Strategic Planning in Higher Education: A Qualitative Research Methodology Utilizing the Literature.