Jargonizing: The use of the grounded theory vocabulary

This paper is Chapter 1 of Dr. Glaser’s forthcoming book, Jargoning: The use of
the grounded theory vocabulary (Sociology Press, 2009)

Barney G. Glaser, Ph.D., Hon. Ph.D.

When in doubt, jargonize.

When you wish to belong, network, be collegial or be ‘a part of’,

When you want to sound knowledgeable, jargonize.

When you wish to sound experienced, jargonize.

Jargonizing is normal. All people, all human kind, jargonize
in their lives to some degree or other. We use the vocabulary
(jargon) of the area in which we act and talk. Jargon is a
vocabulary of action by which to talk about what is going on.
Most fields have their jargon. Few do not. Jargonizing cannot be
stopped. It is needed. It can be very meaningful, properly so, for
a field. In this book, however, I am writing about jargoning as
just words with little or no real meaning, but sounding good and
knowledgeable when talking about an area that one knows little
or nothing about. In this way, jargonizing continually
regenerates the GT (grounded theory) vocabulary wrongly as it is
being applied to QDA (qualitative data analysis) concerns.
Grounded theory is the buzzword in academic circles doing QDA

Even though jargonizing cannot be stopped, it can be
explained and seen for what it is and its consequences in eroding
and remodeling GT as originated. I hope to mute the remodeling
of GT to a significant degree. Paradoxically, jargonizing
continually sells GT to the unknowing with the consequence they
are buying into QDA as if it was classical GT. The resulting
favorable attitude toward GT is therefore not really GT, but QDA.

In this book, I shall deal with the jargonizing of qualitative
data analysis (QDA) with the powerful grab of GT vocabulary in
which jargonizing has lost the GT meanings behind the
vocabulary. For most of the jargonizers, the true GT meanings of
its vocabulary were probably never there to begin with. For an
extreme jargonizing example, see The Sage Handbook (p.510)2:
“Grounded theory has proven useful in orienting and sensitizing
several generations of ethnographers.” Jargonizing seems to
hide from the jargonizer as well as the listener, the fact that very
often they simply do not know what they are talking about;
especially when it is accompanied by a high degree of
(unjustifiable) certainty.

Furthermore, GT jargonizing is very much needed by QDA
methodologists, as they have no vocabulary by which to talk
about their methodology, I, Barney Glaser, have become known
for a QDA methodology view that I did not discover or generate.
How paradoxical. The vocabulary contribution of classical GT
clearly goes far beyond the contributions of method and of its
substantive products.

Does jargonizing change GT as it remodels it? Absolutely
No. It just remodels it for the people who jargonize QDA and do
not know any better. The classical GT method may appear lost
when talking about – jargonizing – QDA, but the classical GT
method remains virtually the same and unchanged for its 40
years of existence. The remodeling of GT is actually a different,
QDA method. Olavur Christiansen wants to stop the jargonizing
but its grab will not let it happen, especially when it fills a
vacuum (Christensen, 2007). Dropping original GT by QDA
remodeling does not drop the classical method. Jargonizers do
not realize this. Whoever might believe the jargonizing QDA as
the “now” GT, does not know classical GT. Furthermore,
jargonizing itself is accused as a jargon of “methodological
rhetoric” (Hdbk, p.205). Jargonizing knows no bounds and turns
on itself by self assuring and self confirming.

Not knowing GT doesn’t seem to prevent jargoning. Rather,
it seems that mastering GT jargon substitutes for mastering the
method. Jargonizing commands respect, however wrong the
meanings attributed to the tenants of classical GT. If one can
sound knowledgeable by jargonizing without real knowledge or
experience, it would seem one can skip doing the scholarship and
experience necessary in learning the classic GT method. Studying
the classical GT books is assumed. And of course, without being
grounded in the experience and scholarship of classical GT, the
jargon loses its relevance and drifts by association into QDA. If
one doesn’t use the classical GT method in a research project; if
one doesn’t continually read and develop his/her scholarship; a
clear understanding of classical GT is not developed. Hence, it
becomes much easier to drift out of the classical GT methodology
and, as a result, not recognize the remodeling and erosion of
classical GT into seemingly erudite, yet completely ungrounded
papers and books on GT as if it was a QDA method.

One has to be doing classical GT to use the GT jargon
correctly. Starting out in a research, the jargon can feel awkward.
It takes time and research experience to really understand the
meanings behind the GT jargon and leave behind the superficial
notions of the concepts captured by the GT jargon. It takes time
to develop the level of expertise – and associated comfort – with
GT jargon so that one can explain to another the true meanings of
its concepts. As Judith Holton said to me in an Email (4/08): “I
got the concept of interchangeability of indicators intuitively, but
it took me much longer with research experience and more
reading before I could explain it to others with confidence and
clarity.” It is no wonder that jargonizing GT to QDA in the
Handbook runs far ahead of its true meaning, since research
experience using classical GT and studying such research
writings barely occurs, if at all, among all but a very few of the
Handbook authors.

The Handbook shows clearly that the GT vocabulary is a
very, very powerful way of conceptualizing QDA with its
categories every which way. GT jargonizing shows that it is the
GT vocabulary that is a major contribution of GT and perhaps the
main contribution. Some QDA researchers jargonize with some
knowledge of GT and slightly remodel GT. Others are just not
aware enough of classical GT procedures and mouth the
jargoning as what they doing in their research and writing. But
the most outrageous use is to wax on with jargonizing acting like
an expert, when they really have no notion of classical GT
methodology procedures. Thus starts the GT jargonizing of QDA
everywhere and every which way when QDA procedures are

Bryant and Charmaz make assertions that seem to suggest a
lack of currency in their own scholarship of classic GT. One is
that, “Glaser has recently changed his stance on the GT quest to
discover a single basic social process (Hdbk, p.9)”. They ignore my
clear insistence in Theoretical Sensitivity(1978, p.96) that the
BSP is but one type of theoretical code that may apply.
Furthermore, they suggest (Hdbk, p.19) that I have distanced
myself from theoretical codes, which seems absurd given my
book, The Grounded Theory Perspective III: Theoretical
(2005). These two assertions seem to suggest jargonizing
remodeling of classical GT erodes its power and undermines
further scholarship to correct it, as evidenced by the
predominance of remodeling among the Handbook contributions.

Barely 5% of the Handbook authors really use the GT
vocabulary to talk about the experiential ‘nitty gritty’ of classical
GT procedures. The rest just “chat up” QDA research every
which way with GT jargonizing, as if talking GT which they
really are not. They join the “sound legitimately knowledgeable”
network as they remodel classic GT down to QDA.

The GT vocabulary is needed by QDA researchers since QDA
has little or no vocabulary of its own, especially none with “grab”.
It fills a vacuum in QDA. It makes QDA sound sensible and then
gives a sense of voiced mastery control. Classical GT vocabulary’s
true meaning is negligible. Jargonizing results in massive
remodeling of GT to fit and be seen as any number of QDA
methodologies. GT virtually becomes a QDA method. The
remodelers have no experiential or procedural knowledge in
classical GT research by which to correct themselves. They do
not know they are doing QDA, while thinking it is GT, as they
jargonize their research. They chat it up in their network to
appear knowledgeable about GT and are none the wiser yet
appear to understand what they do not. A knowledgeable GT
researcher spots them immediately.

Since jargonizing GT is not correct in the first place, it easily
leads to twisted, incomprehensible QDA methodologizing which
then becomes the jargonizers’ world view and frame of reference,
filled with identity, which brooks no threat from negative
evaluations. It helps jargonizers in getting published, joining a
department and participating in a collegial network all of which
empowers them from knowing or admitting its truer, neglected
meanings. If someone is knowledgeable in GT, hence the falsity
of jargonizing, they can easily be forced to jargonize anyway by
these participations. Jargonizing QDA with GT concepts has
been going on for so long now that it has an unquestioned
historical legitimacy. It seems to have solved the credibility envy
for QDA which is required to get QDA accepted in leading
journals which cater to quantitative research with its sure-fire
jargon. That GT is a direct, simple inductive method to generate
conceptual theory from research data is lost forever in the
jargonizing verbiage wrestles over QDA issues. The lack of
experiential knowledge leads to a superficiality of jargonizing
which has many general implications for GT; some of which I will
turn to in this book.

Keep in mind that in many fields, jargoning is necessary and
totally meaningful. It is just in the use of GT vocabulary for QDA
that the meaning of its words for GT have been mostly or totally
lost, which meanings have been exchanged for and by QDA issues
and problems. Jargonizing has legitimated the switching of
classical GT to it becoming and to being a social construction data
method, without giving one example of a “good” GT study based
on social construction. Real understanding of GT as conceptual
not descriptive is lost. GT procedures as originated are slighted,
dismissed or changed to suit QDA problems.

Twenty-four of the Handbook authors indicate clearly they
do not have classical GT research experience, which would
generate clear, accurate meanings for the GT vocabulary. They
also indicate they do not “read” substantive grounded theory
papers or articles that use classical GT. I can tell since they do
not buy my GT readers to see how conceptual substantive GT’s
are done. Not one article in the book analyzes a classical,
substantive GT theory as an example. How else could they know
what good substantive GT’s look like, since such publications are
few and far between in journals. Apart from Judith Holton’s
paper on coding (Hdbk, pp.265-289), the few example bits in
chapters are QDA. There is not one critique of a classical,
conceptual, substantive GT. So these authors not only have no
classical GT research experience, but no product proof for
scholarly study.

Apart from Holton’s paper, not one author talks of the
exciting experience of doing classical GT. The Eureka syndrome
is never mentioned, nor the joy of discovery through emergence,
or the intense motivations linked with each GT procedure. They
do not mention the afforded autonomy given by doing GT and
how it leads to originality. These misses are very apparent to
those who practice classical GT. The Handbook with its constant,
incessant jargoning levels off these powers of GT and the GT
experience to average or below routine QDA. The leveling denies
the realization moments with their flushing out of GT power and
inspiration. This jargonized leveling splatters to below a level of
recognition, these exciting properties of GT; splattering
conceptually productive ideas down to the descriptive level of

Jargoning is both deeply seductive for QDA and destructive
of classical GT. Thus the remodeling alternative to GT is
studying QDA articles and jargonizing them as GT. So the
knowledgeability and joys of actual classical GT are bypassed and
wiped out for, and by, jargonizing. The conceptual originality
goal of classical GT is leveled to routine descriptive findings by
the mistaken views by jargonizing the GT experience as QDA
research. No wonder the flat research findings of supposed GT;
they are not classical GT.

Since jargonizing GT far outruns the method and product,
the latter cannot keep up with the former and thereby correct the
distorted meanings of jargonizing. The procedural strength of
classical GT is missed. Indeed, jargonizing QDA procedures with
the GT vocabulary reflect on the classical GT procedures as a
weakness, since they are misconstrued, but more on this in the
next chapter on Data Worries.

In the bargain GT, as originated by me in 1965 in my paper,
“The Constant Comparative Method of Qualitative Analysis”,
(Social Problems, Spring 1965) and then further elaborated in
Discovery of GT (1967) and Theoretical Sensitivity (1978),
has been remodeled down to the descriptive level of QDA. The
result is that GT, as originated, is lost to the readers of the Sage
Handbook. In many other areas of academia, GT is alive, well
and flourishing on the conceptual level. Its power cannot be
stopped. Students flock to my seminars to get the genuine
classical GT training.

This book is not an impression, not an epistemological fluff
talk, not a conjecture. It is a GT based on one year’s careful
reading and constant comparison of the 27 articles, plus
introduction and glossary, in the Sage Handbook (Bryant and
Charmaz, 2007). It is a treasure trove of rich comparative data
just waiting for a constant comparative analysis to generate a GT
of what is going on in the Handbook. My appreciation goes out
the editors, Bryant and Charmaz, for offering such a unique
wealth of data in one volume. The title itself has great “grab” as a
jargonizing buzzword, since the GT methodology is a GT itself. I
hope to mine this comparative data to the fullest by focusing on
the core category – jargonizing. It even has a glossary of GT
concepts, (with some concepts not suitable for classical GT), that
the authors use and can use for jargonizing QDA with GT

As my constant comparisons of the articles in the Handbook
continued, it became clear that qualitative data analysis lacked a
vocabulary with grab by which to address its issues and research.
And so the authors borrowed the GT vocabulary (which itself was
a GT with great grab) to be used as a jargon by which to talk
about QDA. The result for classical GT was its remodeling down
to the descriptive nature of QDA and all its data problems, to lose
the conceptual level of GT and to wrongly authenticate multiple
‘versions’ of GT, which are really only multiple versions of QDA.
The one and only GT, as originated, was lost in the jargonizing of
QDA with the GT vocabulary. GT became multiple versions of

After reading and assimilating this book, I trust that the
reader will approach the Sage Handbook with a much different
perspective, using the theory of jargonizing. To help the reader, I
will list the pages in the Handbook from which I took the items
for constant comparison and in generating the emergent GT of
jargonizing. To repeat, one could not ask for a better treasure of
data; there for the asking, from which to generate a GT. As
Anselm Strauss would say, it is a superb cache of data just asking
for analysis (Discovery, 1967, pp.167-168).

Yes, dear reader, the Sage Handbook, upon close
examination, is 90% jargonizing distortion of GT as originated. If
the authors could simply master the jargon, they did not have to
do the scholarship or have the experience of a rigorous GT
research. The authors just remodel GT at will with jargonizing
legitimation to become part of the network of remodeling GT to
multiple QDA’s. Only about 5% of the authors really used the GT
vocabulary with proper meaning when talking about the
experiential, ‘nitty gritty’ of GT procedures. The 95% of authors
remaining are just jargonizers chatting up QDA every which with
the GT vocabulary, AS IF talking GT which they are really not.
Essential GT meanings are lost to the jargonizing. It seems that
when in doubt about QDA issues, jargon it up with GT categories
to sound legitimately knowledgeable — to be in the loop.
Jargonizing joins one to the network.

The jargonizers always forget or ignore or are not
knowledgeable that GT, as originated, is just a simple, straight
forward procedural method to induct theory from any type of
data; that is, interviews, documents, observations, conversations,
newspapers, books, magazines, videos, etc in any combination or
alone. For GT “all is data”. GT is just a simple procedural
method to ground conceptual theory; a method among many
methods. It is not all QDA methods; it is not descriptive. It is
trite to say that all methods are grounded – they are in some way
– but all methods are not GT. Jargonizers forget this trite

Bryant and Charmaz say that GT has two major
contributions (Hdbk, Ch.1). It gives a method and a product.
They seem unaware of its third major contribution: a powerful
research vocabulary with “grab”, which to these authors is
apparently its most important contribution when it is used to
describe QDA issues and since QDA had little or no vocabulary
before GT. I, too, was unaware of the power of the GT vocabulary.
I just taught GT method and product when at the University of
California Medical Center. It is only recently that I began to see
the jargon of GT as being used far beyond its true meaning; that
it was leading to more talk than research method and product as
it jargonized virtually all of QDA.

These Handbook authors take the GT vocabulary far beyond
its boundaries, to many different versions of QDA called GT, to
competition with grand theory, and to ideal types of what is or
ought to be data, to mutual use with other forms of methods,
feigning mutual help problems, to remodeling GT according to
QDA preconception, and to potential use as description and as it
becomes used for it. The jargonizing of the GT vocabulary is used
way beyond actual GT research as if all QDA research is GT or
fits GT. The jargonizing starts with the grab of the very title,
“grounded theory:” GT has become a buzz word for all QDA

I have written at length on the rigorous procedures of GT
methodology in several books. I have published several readers
exampling the GT product. These are the two contributions of GT
that Bryant and Charmaz focus and remark on. This books deals
with the third and perhaps most pervasive contribution of GT
methodology: its vocabulary. The grab is used to legitimate by
jargon, QDA issues and research. The Handbook shows the
power of conceptual jargoning of QDA every which way so its
issues can be conceptualized and talked about and the people
talking sound expert. They sound expert when they actually
have no notion of the GT methodology procedures to which the
vocabulary truly refers. The authors refer to uses that sound
good, however unfounded in GT methodology as originated.

Truly the GT vocabulary is powerful with grab and is perhaps the
most important contribution of GT thought. The vocabulary is
itself a GT theory, which explains its power. It was a method
generated and based on our previous very successful research
(see Organizational Scientists, 1964 and Awareness of
, 1965). The GT method stands on its own and can be used
for any research where the goal is a theory product. It does not
need adoption to the preconceptions of other methods or research
goals or areas. It just discovers the patterns in any data.
Jargonizing GT to make it compatible with preconceived
problems is not necessary for GT as originated. The
preconceptions may not have earned relevance be emergence.

These Handbook authors are stuck mainly on data worries
(see next chapter) as their experience. Their jargonizing gives no
real examples of doing genuine GT research. They mostly do not
go beyond data collection to get to the remaining procedures to
get to a genuine GT, as originated. Their jargonizing is
conjectural since they have none of the GT research experience of
going through the GT procedures to get a finished GT product.
They are stuck with jargonizing with little or no meaning of
genuine GT in its use. GT vocabulary for jargonizing QDA
approaches is destructive. It remodels GT to a QDA on the
descriptive level. The jargonizers, by usage, are not aware they
are doing it as they engage in their heavy talk to appear
knowledgeable and to join likening colleagues and to further their
careers through publications subject to peer review by these
likening colleagues.

The jargonizers splatter their pages with non-relevant issues
for classical GT leading to a bewildering complexifying of GT,
indicating they just simply do not know classical GT. It seems
that all they need to do is jargon it up, QDA, that is and the
result is a wrestle leading to nowhere, unsolvable non-relevant
issues. All of which their lofty talk is certainly not helpful to any
researcher who wants to do a classical GT and achieve a good
product. And in the words of Judith Holton, the consequence:
“And strangely, they always seem so pleased with themselves
when they can convolute and confuse with their jargonizing
wrestles which lead nowhere for solid classical GT
research.”(Email, circa 4/08). The true wisdom of classical GT
procedures is simple, not complex.

The jargonizers adopt adapt and co-opt classical GT with
structurally based possessiveness as they remodel GT to multiple
QDA methods. The structure of their departments, books and
journals give them an assumed authority, with little or no
scholarly grounding. The intuitively based, natural predilection
to do classical GT is lost to conjecture and scientism. Jargonizing
feels like one is doing something, BUT NO, whatever it is they
are achieving, it is not doing GT as originated to achieve a worthy
substantive grounded theory. Emotions can run high among the
jargonizers over the rhetorical wrestle, while denuding the joy
that comes from simply doing a substantive GT.

In this book, I will discuss and illustrate the nature of this
jargonizing with its little or no true meaning of the words, its use
and multiple consequences and its remodeling of the classical GT
methodology. It is impossible to stop the grab of GT jargonizing
of QDA, many people are firm and fixed in their use of it. BUT, it
is possible to help the reader realize the existence and use of the
GT vocabulary so it can be realized for what it is, a major
contribution of classical GT and not to be used to jargonize and
therefore remodel GT by default, by its unaware use for talking
about QDA issues.

Two of my PhD students reminded me that I realized the
jargonizing pattern in the remodeling nature to QDA as early as
2003. Dr. Tom Andrews wrote in 2007: “GT continues to provide
a strong rationale underpinning qualitative research. This may
partially explain one of the most pressing challenges to grounded
theory: the eroding and continuing rewriting of the method. This
may in part be explained by the fact that it has given qualitative
researchers a ready made language that they can use to
legitimate their studies but has in the process served to subvert
grounded theory, resulting in complexifying a simple
methodology (Glaser, 2003)”, (The Grounded Theory Review, Nov,
2007, p. 56). In the same journal (p.48), Dr Hans Thulesius, MD,
in talking about the comparison of diverse books on qualitative
research said: “One of Barney’s own comments of these
comparisons is – and this is a real Email quote in 2003 — “Hans,
as I have said, if nothing else, I gave the world a jargon that
legitimizes.” He continues: “The Discovery of GT book in Nov
2007 got 8545 citation hits on Google Scholar. No other method
book dealing with qualitative data analysis gets even half that
many citations” I can only hazard the hypothesis that one source
of the spread in popularity of GT is the “grab” of the GT
vocabulary, which easily runs far ahead of the method and
actually achieving the product of classical GT research.

Furthermore, Judith Holton writes about the brief “brush
with Barney” as a legitimation of jargonizing: “Yes, I saw his
using you the first time I read the preface. He’s used his brief
brushes with you to infer that you are on the same page, and, to
make it worse, he’s dismissive of your stance” (Email 9/14/08).
Tony Bryant used my legitimating name by saying in referring to
the Handbook perspective as a resource: “This in turn evoked
Barney’s rejoinder, ‘Your vision of the handbook is right on’.”
(Hdbk, p.xxx) which was a verbal brush with me. It legitimated
the jargonizing to follow through the Handbook. Such claiming to
doing GT and actually using it is a great discrepancy that
remodels classical GT to QDA. Some have told me that
remodeling is too mild a term. It should be termed a “take over”
by jargonizing, which builds careers.

I teach frequently, so the brushes continue. I am told that
the jargonizing remodeling effort is gaining more momentum in
Developing Grounded Theory: The Second Generation
(Morse et al, 2009). Be that as it may, this book will serve to
maintain the integrity of GT as originated and as separate from
QDA methodology, no matter how it is jargonized using GT

Judith Holton, an experienced GT researcher and teacher,
comments on this book on jargonizing as follows: “Your use of the
Handbook as data for the jargonizing book is brilliant – without a
doubt the best use that will ever be made of it. You’re setting the
record straight with a truly scholarly response to another
unscholarly bash of classical GT. I am learning a lot from your
transcending approach. In doing so, you may show them how to
use the classical GT methods with any data – that is, if the reader
is sufficiently open to seeing it. The jargonizing book may become
as popular as Basics of Grounded Theory Analysis” (Email
9/7/08). I am not alone in realizing the core category as the
pattern emergent in this Handbook.

Tony Bryant refers to jargonizing, though not realizing it.
“Titscher et al. explain the predominance of GT in part by the
enormous number of citations of Glaser and Strauss’s, The
Discovery of Grounded Theory, Awareness of Dying
and Time for
books, whereas other approaches do not have such specific
and widely acclaimed core texts. (Kearny, in Chapter 6, describes
these three texts as ‘the definitive GT tutorial’.) Yet, as Lee and
Fielding note, “[W]hen qualitative researchers are challenged to
describe their approach, reference to grounded theory has the
highest recognition value. But the very looseness and variety of
researchers’ schooling in the approach means that the tag may
well mean something different to each researcher’(1996:3.1)”
(Hdbk, p.2). Recognition value is simply achieved by jargonizing
QDA with the GT vocabulary that has “grab”.

It is clear that jargonizing has been going on for many years.
It is the power of classical GT which produced a vocabulary with
a powerful “grab” yet to be equaled. It was needed. The
Handbook in substantiating the attributes and contributions of
GT as originated clarifies by jargonizing the ways in which
researchers have developed by jargonizing adaptation of GT to
QDA use. As the reader will see, this leads to much confusion
unless GT is seen as its own conceptualizing, inductive method
and the reader drops its jargonizing use for other QDA research
methods. The Introduction and Chapter One of the Handbook
are full of allusions to jargonizing as they discuss problems of
QDA research techniques.

Vivian Martin, PhD, a very able grounded theorist, Emailed
me: “The jargoning of GT is so vast and has become such a standin
for actually doing the method, as you note Barney, so this is an
important statement and intervention.” Astrid Gynnild, PhD,
another GT advocate Emailed: “Barney, your chapter on
jargonizing opens up a new way of understanding and getting
insights in strategies for imitation of GT that concerns most of
us.” (Email 10/8/08).

My intervention will only explain jargonizing’s pervasive use
and its remodeling of GT to another QDA. It will not stop it. For
example, Bryant states, after referring to the large group of GT
adherents using GT with vast global reach: “Far too many
references to GT fail to get much beyond a few slogans or
mantras supposedly corroborated by reference to key texts, as if
the rich detail and complexities magically flow from the latter.”
(Hdbk,p.8). Clearly although apparently unaware, he is referring
to jargonizing GT. This is just one more of the interchangeable
indicators of jargonizing GT down to QDA which abound in the

It is impossible to stop the GT jargonizing of QDA methods.
People are firm and fixed in their use of it. But it is not
impossible to explain and realize its existence and its use by QDA
researchers, and its consequences for remodeling classical GT.
Thus the classical GT conceptual vocabulary can be realized for
what it is – a major contribution of classical GT and not to be
used to remodel classical GT by its unaware use. I hope to
forestall the pervasive nonstop jargonizing which fosters the
disattendance to classical GT simple procedures used to
conceptually generate theory based on patterns found in any
data. I have certainly not relaxed my classical GT perspective as
Bryant and Charmaz suggest in Chapter 1. That Charmaz was
my student at UCSF 40 years ago does not excuse her jargonizing
or give my support to it.

Colleagues have told me that classical GT has been virtually
high jacked by so many who have not appreciated that classical
GT is not a qualitative descriptive method; some simply because
they do not know better and others because they think they do
know – or know better. The confusion between GT and QDA
consequences to a fading of boundaries between research methods
with a resulting undermining of classical GT by jargonizing QDA
while amplifying its spread as just another QDA method. I
know, as the originator of classical GT, that the jargonizing in the
Handbook is incorrect for classical GT.

In this book, I will discuss and illustrate the nature of
jargonizing use, its multiple consequences and its easily almost
imperceptible remodeling of classical GT methodology. I turn
now discuss data worries; fit with other QDA approaches;
conceptualizing; lofty talk; and then, multiple versions view of

I would like to end this chapter with a quote from my
colleague Judith Holton:

“Here we are, fifteen years later, riding the wave of yet another
epistemological fashion in constructivism. While each
epistemological trend carries classic GT further from its
foundations, the methodological vocabulary of GT persists. This
persistence is clear evidence not only of its empirical grounding
and imageric grab, but also of an obvious void within qualitative
research for a similar vocabulary to explain and guide its
methodological progression. Vocabulary devoid of its substantive
meaning is empty. The subsequent lexical drift fosters the
remodeling confusion that continues to position GT as a qualitative
method. So this book by Glaser will serve to set the record straight
again on the basics of classic GT, reclaiming its methodological
vocabulary and challenging current qualitative scholars to
transcend constructivist notions and acknowledge GT as a simple
method using empirically grounded data to generate conceptually
abstract theory.” (Email memo 8/9/08).

2 This citation and others (cited as Hdbk) throughout my book refer to Bryant &
Charmaz (2007). The Sage Handbook of Grounded Theory. London: Sage


Andrews, T. (2007). Reflections on ‘The Discovery of Grounded
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