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Grounded Theory's Best Kept Secret: The Ability to Build Theory

Urquhart, C (2019) Grounded Theory's Best Kept Secret: The Ability to Build Theory. In: The SAGE Handbook of Current Developments in Grounded Theory. Sage. ISBN 9781473970953

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Abstract

While the power and influence of GTM as a qualitative research method in all academic disciplines continues to evolve and grow, the original intent of the founding fathers to build theory, and build it ambitiously, across and over different data sets and settings, seems to be rarely discussed in the literature. In particular, the recommendations from Glaser and Strauss in their 1967 Discovery book about building formal theory from substantive theory are rarely referenced. This chapter discusses how best to consider the recommendations from Glaser and Strauss with regard to not only building theory by minimising and maximising group differences, but by also considering the diversity or similarity of concepts within similar or dissimilar groups. An example of how such movements from substantive to formal theory might proceed is discussed, in order to explore and demonstrate those ideas in depth. The grounded theory approach to theory building is contrasted and critiqued against more mainstream ideas about theory building in various disciplines, and the debates about theory that exist in many applied disciplines. Finally, this chapter discusses how grounded theorists can actively take up these ideas within their own academic disciplines.

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