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From the Editor’s Desk

We are pleased to publish this December 2019 issue of the Grounded Theory Review, an online journal dedicated to supporting those who conduct classic grounded theory research.  First developed by Glaser and Strauss in the early 1960s and further established by Glaser in the intervening years, classic grounded theory is a unique method of discovering never before recognized processes and patterns of human behavior. This issue includes three papers that discuss educational issues surrounding the method and four original classic grounded theories. Preserving Autonomy: A Cry for Help was written by Glaser and first published in 2016.  In this paper, Glaser discusses cries for help he has received over the years—often from novice grounded theory researchers who are striving to obtain the highly valued PhD.  As is often the case, many cries for help come from students who struggle to learn the method without the support of experienced classic grounded theory mentors. In this paper, Glaser stresses that autonomy is essential, even for the novice.  Grounded theory mentors are encouraged to support novices’ autonomy, thereby preserving the joy of freedom of discovery that comes with doing grounded theory. Glaser is a master teacher.  He taught for several years at University of California, San Francisco, where he developed a seminar method of teaching.  He adapted his “delayed action learning process” to three-day intensive grounded theory seminars that he conducted for many years.  The second paper in this issue, How Classic Grounded Theorists Teach the Method, outlines the teaching strategies of 15 experienced grounded theorists, all of whom learned the method from Glaser.  Although the settings and types of students vary, all who contributed to this paper offer strategies to teach grounded theory through experiential learning. An important initial aspect of teaching is to differentiate classic grounded theory from other research methods, particularly remodeled versions of grounded theory.  In Teaching Qualitative Research: Versions of Grounded Theory, Andrew P. Carlin and Younhee H. Kim, both from University of Macau offer a scholarly discussion.  The paper identifies problems associated with remodeled versions of grounded theory.  Based on a critical incident analysis of literatures as ‘fieldwork sites,’ this paper discusses iterations of qualitative research—particularly, what Carlin and Kim call the versioning of Grounded Theory. Carlin and Kim identify misapprehensions regarding the use of qualitative methods and alerts researchers in interdisciplinary fields to adverse consequences of using remodeled versions of grounded theory. In the theory, Neutralizing Prejudices Rúni Johannesen presents a social profile of a tolerant and global ideological behavior. Johannesen found that the in-group-behavior revolves around enforcing the tolerant virtue and rooting out and eliminating prejudiced attitudes that affect minorities and the collective environment.  Johannesen discovered that neutralizing prejudices is a means to engage and deal with prejudiced oppression and prejudice-related behavior. Mindsets with a tolerant worldview use neutralization to assert their worldview and cope with the prejudiced attitudes they experience towards minorities and the collective environment. Neutralizing prejudices is a way to negate, defuse, disqualify, or override a prejudiced context by applying an opposite or contrary force or effect.  Neutralizing prejudices is a basic social process of collective regrouping in relation to a social, moral, and global objective. Karen Jagiello discovered the theory of Seeking to Do What’s Best for Baby. Focusing on a sample population of breastfeeding mothers who had been encouraged to exclusively breastfeed without offering other nutrition supplementation to their babies, Jagiello identified a temporal three-stage process that included pre-pregnancy nescience, working through, and succeeding or surrendering. As is the...

Preserving Autonomy: The Cry for Help

Barney G. Glaser Editor’s note:  Preserving Autonomy was first published in Glaser’s 2016, The Cry for Help: Preserving Autonomy Doing GT Research and re-published as the first chapter in Glaser’s 2019 Chapter One: A Grounded Theory Review Reader, both published by Sociology Press.  Preserving Autonomy has been lightly edited for clarity and context. The most desirable cry for help is a specific question requiring only a direct specific answer.  However, this seldom occurs in over half the cries for help.  Most requests are not that simple nor answers that brief.  In this chapter we see the amazing variations in request and replies for help. The novice proceeds as best as possible to the highly valued goal—the PhD. The cry for help with a specific question getting a specific answer can free up the novice to maintain his autonomy in completing his dissertation.  Some questions are too general for a specific answer and thus the novice may be referred to a training seminar, a network of GT researchers, or a mentor, etc.  Sometimes the learning answer can change the novice’s way of thinking about life.  When the answer clinches getting the PhD, the novice can become so thrilled that he may email and phone the mentor many times to thank him.  The value of CGT [classic grounded theory] research for obtaining a PhD is so great it cans stimulate a long period of sweet talk between novice and mentor.  There is much appreciation for a good helpful answer beyond belief on the part of the novice. New novices are usually very shy about getting help from a senior GT mentor.  They usually focus on one next procedural question in their research.  The shy novice often says, “I have one last question for you.”  One question and answer is usually not enough to put the novice’s autonomy at stake.  If the mentor knows a lot about the area of study and the next procedure . . . in the research, the novice’s autonomy could be at stake for a time.  Novices best stick with one humble question and trust their autonomy.  He should avoid a takeover by a non-experienced GT mentor, who can change his view of a GT.  The academic mentor from a non-GT department can use the power of a departmental perspective to take over the novice.  Then the novice could lose the control of his GT autonomy to the social structural department power.  The mentor can be a supervisor, committee member, peer reviewer, or just a friend. A little brief help can last for years with positive results.  A little can go a long way, punctuated at the end of researched final theory by obtaining a PhD and excessive thank yous from the novice.  A novice from the Philippines wrote me, “I am pleased to inform you that after two years from the troubleshooting seminar that I have successfully passed my final PhD defense.  The trouble shooting seminar helped me a lot.  I could not have done the PhD without your help.  My gratitude to you.” The novice must be careful not to yield or give away his power of autonomy given by the GT methodology.  He may yield his autonomy to satisfy his desperate need for help.  But no matter how desperate he may feel the need, he should be careful not to give up his power of autonomy to a mentor who takes over control of the research.  And the mentor may know little about GT...

How Classic Grounded Theorists Teach the Method

Alvita Nathaniel Contributing Authors in Alphabetical Order:  Tom Andrews, Toke Barfod, Ólavur Christiansen, Evelyn Gordon, Markko Hämäläinen, Agnes Higgins, Judith Holton, Tina Johnston, Andy Lowe, Susan Stillman, Odis Simmons, Hans Thulesius, Kara Vander Linden, Helen Scott Grounded theory upsets PhD students’ world view.  By the time they reach the classroom to learn grounded theory, research, to them, usually means deductively verifying established propositions. In quantitative research courses, they learned that they must design research that can be objectively judged to be reliable and valid; that research questions and related hypotheses (which remain static throughout a study) must include standardized measurements for strictly defined dependent and independent variables; that the pre-investigation literature review and synthesis must be comprehensive and phenomenon focused; that measurement of concepts must have internal and external validity; that the findings can be verified through replication; that exacting descriptions of sample selection, procedures, and instrumentation must be specified and approved by an ethics committee; and that significant findings are measured by strict statistical benchmarks. Imagine students’ confusion when they begin to learn about classic grounded theory, a unique research method of inductive discovery, rather than deductive verification. A method in which the processes are standard, yet fluid; the phenomenon of study is not known beforehand; the sample selection changes as data emerges; the literature review follows data analysis; and the final product is tentative.  The rules of quantitative research that they believed were carved in stone simply do not apply to grounded theory.  Those of us who teach grounded theory understand that we must help students move toward a different way of thinking about research.  I have taught grounded theory to PhD students for many years, with variable results, so I wanted to learn more about how others teach grounded theory.  I reached out to expert classic grounded theorists around the globe, who shared their strategies.  This paper is not a primer on classic grounded theory.  It is simply a synthesis of teaching approaches that these professors and mentors use to guide students as they learn the grounded theory method. Classic grounded theory is a unique inductive research method with language, rules of rigor, procedures, and a final product that is different from other research methods.  It is highly misunderstood.  Glaser and Strauss first described the method in the seminal work, The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research (1967).   Glaser further described and refined the grounded theory method over the intervening years and continues to write prolifically (Glaser, 1965, 1978, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002a, 2002b, 2002, rev. 2007, 2003, 2005a, 2005b, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014a, 2014b, 2014c, 2016a, 2016b, 2016c, 2019, 1993, 1994, 2017; Glaser & Tarozai, 2007; Holton & Glaser, 2012) Although grounded theory is one of the most frequently utilized research methods, many novice grounded theorists have struggled to find qualified mentors.  A surprising number of universities have no experienced grounded theorists.  Institutions often rely on faculty who may understand the basics of research but are not familiar with the unique and essential aspects of classic grounded theory.  I was struck by the magnitude of this problem after a grounded theory workshop at a large national research conference when a professor who taught a PhD-level qualitative research course asked, “But, grounded theory doesn’t really have to produce a theory, does it?  Can’t it consist of a list of themes?”  At another research conference I learned that PhD students at a prominent university were assigned to learn the different qualitative...

Teaching Qualitative Research: Versions of Grounded Theory

Andrew P. Carlin, University of Macau Younhee H. Kim, University of Macau Abstract This paper concerns the teaching and iteration of Grounded Theory, taking published accounts referring to Grounded Theory as instructional materials on the workings of Grounded Theory. The paper identifies problems associated with later versions of Grounded Theory that are anticipated and avoided in The Discovery of Grounded Theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). It alerts practitioners and students to theoretical options in doing research. Based on a critical incident analysis of literatures as ’fieldwork sites’, looking at information science and dentistry research, this paper discusses iterations of qualitative research – particularly, what we call the versioning of Grounded Theory – in clinical settings and interdisciplinary studies. Reading accounts of qualitative studies revealed misapprehensions regarding the use of qualitative methods. Critical reading facilitates the examination of analytic claims, to alert researchers in interdisciplinary fields to adverse consequences of using inferior accounts. Keywords: Cumulation Problem, Grounded Theory, Qualitative Research, Research Evaluation, Thematic Analysis, Theoretical Imperialism Introduction This paper seeks to contribute to an important thread in this journal (Breckenridge et al., 2012; Evans, 2013; O’Connor, Carpenter & Coughlan, 2018), continuing a focus on readers and the communication of qualitative research methodologies. The origins of this paper are located in the authors’ shared concerns with children’s storytelling practices, and their disillusion with thematic analysis as a methodologically adequate means to study how accounts are produced within interaction. In terms of research design, the use of thematic analysis (e.g. Jones & Argentino, 2010; Nelson et al., 2008; Ross & Green, 2011) produces studies that are about analysts’ research decisions rather than people’s orientations to stories; and is reductionist by treating stories as simplistic conduits for information on topics for operationalization. The current authors’ specific interest in stories (Carlin, 2009; Kim, 2016, 2019), and finding extant analyses of stories to be wanting of phenomenological integrity, led to a broader consideration of accounts of research methods. The authors of this paper are interested in qualitative research, and the utility of qualitative research methods for education, linguistics, logistics, the study of second language acquisition, urban studies and the analysis of public space. Therefore, the authors seek to engage with accounts of qualitative research in various fields. Further, as teachers of qualitative research, the authors have been struck by students’ uncritical acceptance of accounts of qualitative methods in different fields. Thus, while the pool of discipline-specific, relevant and student-friendly materials has increased (Davis 1995; Hadley 2017), our arguments complement teaching and learning arguments that distinguish between “downloading information” (Brabazon 2007, p. 99) – having materials available – from the effort of reading original sources and interpretations. In this paper, the authors draw upon their engagement with information science and education in various professional environments, including clinical settings, to consider the presentation of qualitative research in general, and the use of recent versions of Grounded Theory (GT) within these fields. Publication of studies in professional journals confers tutorial status, or authority, on accounts of research paradigms and research methods which, even mediated by peer-reviewed journals available through bibliographic databases hosted by institutional libraries to ensure quality, may not be completely warranted. Readers may take published studies as credible, pedagogic materials; as formative accounts of research methods for use in their own projects. Accordingly, their education about these methods, and the qualitative evidence-base, are compromised when inferior accounts or incomplete methods are not challenged. For educators, this trend is “worrisome” (Glaser, 2002, p. 1) and an “abiding...

Neutralizing Prejudices

Rúni Johannesen Abstract This study presents a social profile of a tolerant and global ideological behavior. The in-group-behavior revolves around enforcing the tolerant virtue and rooting out and eliminating prejudiced attitudes that affect minorities and the collective environment. The main concern is conceptualized as “enabling a nonjudgmental environment” for oneself and others. The recurrent solution to this concern is “neutralizing prejudices.” Neutralizing prejudices is a means to engage and deal with prejudiced oppression and prejudice-related behavior. Mindsets with a tolerant worldview use neutralization as a way to assert their worldview and cope with the prejudiced attitudes they experience towards minorities and the collective environment. Neutralizing prejudices is a way to negate, defuse, disqualify, or override a prejudiced context by applying an opposite or contrary force or effect. As such, neutralizing is mainly a rhetorical requisite. As a basic social process, neutralizing prejudices is a process of “collective regrouping” in relation to a social, moral, and global objective. Keywords: Neutralizing prejudices, prejudiced oppression, tolerance, enabling a nonjudgmental environment, global ideology, collective regrouping. Introduction This classic grounded theory study started out examining how ordinary people from the Faroe Islands saw themselves in a global context. About half of the subjects, who were interviewed, are the focus of this paper (in conjunct with a considerate amount of data from social media sites, news articles, and letters to the editor). This group saw themselves through a tolerant worldview having to deal with an out-group, referred to as “people with prejudiced attitudes” or “prejudiced people.” In this global context, the main concern of the tolerant group was “enabling a nonjudgmental environment” that is free from prejudiced oppression. More precisely, the main concern is to enable a nonjudgmental collective environment, wherein both minorities and tolerant attitudes are safe and free from being judged or confronted with certain sensitive issues. A collective safe space, so to speak. The way the subjects handled and resolved this concern, was through “neutralizing prejudices.” People with a tolerant worldview neutralize prejudiced attitudes as a mean to engage and deal with prejudiced oppression and prejudice-related behavior. The core variable will also be simply referred to as neutralizing. “Prejudices” or “prejudiced attitudes” refer in this context to ”prejudiced attitudes related to minorities,” which also represented the subjects’ prevalent use of the saying. Neutralizing is a mode of behavior that people with a tolerant worldview use to assert their worldview and cope with the prejudiced attitudes they experience towards minorities and the social collective environment at large. When a tolerant worldview comes in contact with an opinion, expression or context, that is perceived prejudice, it will eliminate the prejudiced content by neutralizing it. What is being neutralized, are the critical or negative differences between majority and minority identities that are proposed by the out-group. The notion “out-group” is referring to out-group derogation, where an out-group is perceived threatening or hindering the goals of the favored in-group to which one belongs. The notion “neutralizing” refers in general to “making something neutral,” “defusing,” “disqualifying,” “to counterbalance or counteract the effect of something,” “to render ineffective,” “to negate,” and “to nullify.” Neutralizing prejudices is in simple terms defined as “to negate, defuse, disqualify, or override a prejudiced context by applying an opposite or contrary force or effect.” Prejudiced context refers to the situations, attitudes, opinions, assertions, and accusations concerning critical, negative or hostile attitudes towards minorities, made by the out-group, “prejudiced people” (or “people with prejudiced attitudes”). Hence, prejudiced people are perceived to proclaim critical differences...

Seeking to Do What’s Best for Baby: A Grounded Theory

Karen Jagiello, James Madison University Abstract The purpose of this classic grounded theory study was to develop a theory of how rural breastfeeding women respond to their main concern associated with exclusive breastfeeding. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for infants through the first six months of life. Mothers living in rural U.S. communities exclusively breastfeed less frequently than their urban counterparts. The theory Seeking to Do What’s Best for Baby emerged from the data and describes the process that mothers work through to do what is best for their baby. The theory consists of a temporal three-stage process: pre-pregnancy nescience, working through, and succeeding or surrendering. The process is influenced by evolving internal conditions and basic social processes which account for the variation in the pattern of behavior. The results of this study begin to fill the gap in knowledge about the choices made by mothers to exclusively breastfeed to six months or to end exclusive breastfeeding. Keywords: exclusive breastfeeding, rural, classic grounded theory Introduction Exclusive breastfeeding is considered the healthiest source of nutrition for infants from birth through age six months (American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP], 2012; Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2014; World Health Organization [WHO], 2015). Exclusive breastfeeding is defined as giving a baby no food or drink other than breastmilk (WHO, 2015). While researchers have provided evidence that there are numerous health advantages to breastfeeding, most new mothers in the U.S. do not practice exclusive breastfeeding through the recommended six-month period. Rates of breastfeeding initiation in the U.S have risen, yet only 18.8% of new mothers continue to breastfeed for six months (CDC, 2014). No regions within the nation have met the Healthy People 2020 breastfeeding goals, and new mothers in rural areas are significantly less likely to breastfeed or exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months compared to their urban counterparts (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Maternal and Child Health Bureau [MCHB], 2015). This is especially concerning for new mothers who live in rural areas as rural residence is associated with negative health outcomes for residents (Fahs et al, 2012; MCHB, 2013a). The choice to not breastfeed impacts the health of mother and infant, and creates economic and environmental disadvantages for the family and community. For women, failure to breastfeed is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes (Faupel-Badger et al. 2012; Figueroa et al. 2012; Ip, Chung, & Raman, 2007; McClure, Matov, Ness, & Bimla Schwarz, 2012; Stuebe, 2009; Stuebe & Schwarz, 2010). The benefits of exclusive breastfeeding for infants are dose dependent with an increased odds of disease as the duration and intensity of breastfeeding decreases (Kramer & Kakuma, 2012). Infants never having been breastfed or having limited breastfeeding exposure also have increased odds of infection-related mortality, childhood obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, leukemia, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), gastrointestinal infection, upper and lower respiratory disease, and otitis media (Ip et al. 2007; Taylor, Kacmar, & Nothnagle, 2005). Rural infants have poorer health outcomes compared to urban infants including increased incidence of low birth weight and preterm birth (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS], 2013b). Moreover, the postnatal mortality rate is 27% higher than the urban mortality rate including SIDS deaths occurring during the first year of life (HHS, 2013b). The negative impact of failure to exclusively breastfeed, particularly in the rural population, cannot be overstated. The researcher began this study with a preconceived...