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Translation Issues in Grounded Theory

Mouratidou, M and Crowder, Mark (2018) Translation Issues in Grounded Theory. In: 78th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management: Improving Lives (AOM 2018), 10 August 2018 - 14 August 2018, Chicago, USA.

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Abstract

This paper explores the translation and interpretation issues that arose during a grounded theory study of the Hellenic health sector. It outlines the problems that were encountered when working in two languages and demonstrates how these were overcome. This is highly topical because in recent years cross- language qualitative research has become increasingly popular, although there is little literature that explores these issues from a grounded theory perspective. The issues encountered during translation in grounded theory studies are so great that if they are neglected or mismanaged, they can have a direct impact on the validity of the research itself. Implicit in Glaser’s method is an assumption that all researchers fully understand the language being spoken, which is not necessarily the case when research is being conducted in a foreign language. We challenge this assumption by arguing that translation considerably aids the grounded theory methodology by providing extra levels of constant comparison, via the use of verbal memoing, audio recording, and working simultaneously in multiple languages during the coding phase. Hence, our paper adds considerably to grounded theory methodology and offers guidance to future researchers.

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