Volume 5, Issue no. 2/3, March/June 2006

GT Review vol. 5 no. 2-3

Volume 5, Issue no. 2/3, March/June 2006

 Editorial Judith A. Holton, Ph.D.

The Roots of Grounded Theory Barney G. Glaser, Ph.D., Hon. Ph.D.

From a keynote presentation given to the 3rd International Qualitative Research Convention, Johor Bahru, Malaysia 23rd August 2005.


Grappling with the Literature in a Grounded Theory Study Antoinette M. McCallin, Ph.D., RN

Student researchers often struggle to understand how to use literature in a grounded theory study where timing and knowing what to read are critical. Despite substantive theoretical documentation on this topic the reality of working through abstract ideas is more challenging. There is a fine line between not doing a literature review in the area of study and being informed so that a study is focused. In this paper a practical example will be presented illustrating how the student can integrate literature yet stay away from preconceived notions. The topic is interprofessional practice.

This paper was originally published in Contemporary Nurse (www.contemporarynurse.com) and is reprinted with the kind permission of the publisher. Reference: McCallin, A. M. (2003). Grappling with the literature in a grounded theory study. Contemporary Nurse, 15(1-2), 61-69.


The Literature Review in Grounded Theory: A response to McCallin (2003)Tom Andrews, RN, B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc., Ph.D.

The paper by McCallin (2003) is a useful contribution to the debate surrounding the role of the literature in Grounded Theory (GT).  For the purpose of this paper and with reference to McCallin (2003) the issue will be discussed in relation to the purpose of a review within GT.  It will be argued that the misunderstanding about the function of the literature within a GT study arises partly as a result of the confusion caused by the continual re-writing of the method.  Further it will be argued that a preliminary reading of the literature is entirely consistent with the principals of GT.  Finally some practical suggestions will be made as to how the issue could be dealt with in a way that is unproblematic for GT.

Thoughts on the Literature Review and GT   Alvita Nathaniel, DSN

Thinking about epistemic questions always reminds me of Socrates’ cave allegory. In Plato’s most famous book, The Republic,Socrates talks to a young follower named Glaucon. I would like to include here a short excerpt of their conversation and discuss how this relates to my thoughts about preceding a classic GT study with a thorough literature review.


New Way of Using Literature in GT? Hans Thulesius, GP, Ph.D.   

After having read Antoinette McCallin’s paper on literature use in GT I find myself asking the following question. Is McCallin’s way of applying the literature – letting the research area emerge in a literature search – an important modification on how to use the literature in classic GT according to Glaser?


Aspects on McCallin’s paper, “Grappling with the literature in a grounded theory study”. Helene Ekström, MD, Ph.D.  

I read Antoinette McCallin’s paper with interest and I have learned that there are problems which I have foreseen perhaps because I am, as many medical doctors are, unaware of the many “theories” or different perspectives that one can chose in undertaking a study. Kirsti Malterud, Professor of General Practice in Bergen, Norway, used to say that we are theoretically ignorant and instead focus on the pragmatic issues of how to survive the day and help the “sick” in an appropriate way. However, even if I feel like a real novice, I have some remarks about literature and grounded theory studies.


The Relationship between an Emerging Grounded Theory and the Existing Literature: Four phases for consideration Vivian B. Martin, Ph.D.   

In this brief essay I propose that the relationship between the existing literature and a developing grounded theory project goes through four discernible phases: noncommittal, comparative, integrative, and, if the analyst can push, a transcendent phase in which the theory is not simply one of a number of theories of a kind within the discipline’s literature. I explain the phases to make more explicit the under-recognized subversive potential of grounded theory to push pass disciplinary boundaries by broadening the ‘relevant’ literature.


Methodological Issues: Have we forgotten the place of thinking here? Antoinette M. McCallin, Ph.D., RN

The article “grappling with the literature in a grounded theory study” (McCallin, 2003) has stimulated a lively discussion in the international grounded theory research community. In this paper, I reply generally to my colleagues’ responses and raise some further issues that I do not believe have been addressed to date. In particular, I question if current discussions about the place of literature review are incomplete if methodological matters are debated in isolation from issues of thinking. The purpose of this paper is to argue that although literature review is preferably minimised initially, simply focusing a study, in reality timing does not matter, as long as the analyst is critically analytical of literature at all times, and does not allow existing knowledge to pre-empt identification of the research problem or formation of the emergent theory.


Caresharlng: Hiding frailty in a Florida retirement community Eleanor Krassen Covan, Ph.D.   

This paper presents research findings generated from a study of the structure of a caresharing system for the elderly who reside in a Florida retirement community during the last decade of the twentieth century. A caresharing system is a combination of strategies employed in order to maximize pleasure and minimize losses that might otherwise be associated with communal and individual aging processes. In this instance, the caresharing system entailed a series of conscious efforts to hide frailty in the community. Consequences of such caresharing systems and implications for future retirement communities are discussed.

This paper was originally published in Health Care for Women International, 19:423-439, 1998 and is reprinted with the kind permission of the publisher, Taylor & Francis.


Revisiting Caresharing in the Context of Changes in a Florida Retirement Community Eleanor Krassen Covan, Ph.D.   

In this paper I revisit the basic social process of caresharing whereby people engage in personal and communal strategies to maximize their pleasure and minimize their losses. I originally discovered caresharing in the context of Hollywood Falls, a Florida retirement community that provided no formal supportive services for its aging residents (Covan, 1998).  There, hiding frailty was the most obvious caresharing strategy.  In this community which has since become more diverse in terms of ethnicity and age, hiding frailty is no longer practical among the oldest residents. It has been surpassed by bolstering strength, a process which involves exposing need, expanding the caresharing network, stifling crises, and staking competence claims. In consequence of bolstering strength, the oldest residents are able to diminish the costs of help while augmenting opportunities for personal autonomy, thereby extending their period of residence within their ‘independent’ living community.

A Grounded Theory on Helping Behavior and Its Shaping Factors Bro. Hans Steven Moran, FSC   

In social psychology, the attribution model of helping behavior suggests that beliefs of the helping target’s responsibility for the need for help evoke affective motivators such as feelings of pity, sympathy, or anger. The affective motivation leads to helping or not helping the target. The current emergent theory is an enhancement of this theory by incorporating other personal and situational variables.

Through the use of classic grounded theory, I interviewed 80 participants from different De La Salle Schools in the Philippines. This yielded over 1300 individual incidents that were compared and contrasted to form codes, categories and subcategories. A theory on the decision making process of helping emerged that incorporates the helper’s personal conviction, and rational deliberations of the situation. The desire to help is based on the helper’s rational-emotive beliefs (philosophical ideals and values that nurture helping and the knowledge of the nature of risk/problem) and relational-emotive ties (with the one who needs help and with a social group that nurtures helping). The desire to help undergoes a process of rational-pragmatic deliberations on the appropriateness of the recipients need of help, the cost of helping, the helper’s capability of helping, and the logistics of helping before the actual helping occurs. The theory has implications for current social psychological theories of helping, and the use of classic grounded theory research.


The Postmodern Turn: Shall Classic Grounded Theory Take That Detour? A Review Essay Vivian B. Martin, Ph.D.   

Adherents to classic grounded theory have gotten used to spotting the pretenders working under the grounded theory banner. Some of these faux-GT researchers have worked in a fog, misunderstanding fundamentals of the method; these are the studies that leave us shaking our heads and wondering about the doctoral committee and peer reviewers who did not bother to find out more about the method they were evaluating. More infuriating are the authors who are claiming to improve on grounded theory, to reground it, to quote one notable British author who, lack of hands-on grounded theory experience aside, manages a book-length critique of the method. Two recent books in the “remaking grounded theory” genre are from sociologists with some years of grounded theory projects behind them. Adele E. Clarke, author of Situational Analysis, was a student and colleague of Anselm L. Strauss at the University of California -San Francisco. Kathy Charmaz, author of Constructing Grounded Theory, is among the few grounded theorists who studied with Barney G. Glaser and Strauss at UCSF.


GT Review vol5 no2-3