One Approach: Grounded Theory
Coded Concepts Provide Explanatory Assertions
- Strauss and Corbin (2014) outline procedures for content analysis aimed at developing an understanding of concepts related to the research or evaluation questions directly from qualitative data.
- Their “Grounded Theory” approach is used to generate theory from data through induction and continual comparison of emerging understandings with the group or phenomenon of study (case).
- The researcher or evaluator analyzes the data using systematic coding procedures to identify concepts in the data (and their properties and dimensions) related to the research or evaluation questions.
- Concepts are organized to develop a tentative explanatory theory.
- This emerging theory is crosschecked against reality by going back to the data, and sometimes by conducting additional fieldwork, “to explore the dimensional range or varied conditions along which the properties of concepts may vary” (Strauss and Corbin 1998, p. 73).
- The principle behind grounded theory methodology is that assertions, which are explanatory concepts and hypotheses, are derived directly from the data and developed in relation to the data as the analysis progresses.
- This approach provides coding procedures that add rigor and some standardization to the qualitative analytical process, helping to reduce researcher bias.