Astrid Gynnild, University of Stavanger

Ideas are precious. They may come to mind when you least expect to them to, and many times before you are consciously aware of them. The grounded theory solution to capturing valuable ideas from preconscious thought is writing memos. In this issue of the Grounded Theory Review, we are delighted to publish the first chapter of Barney G. Glaser’s coming book on memoing, which truly opens up new perspectives on the potentially complex but productive process of collecting ideas that is such an important part of doing grounded theory.

A memo might be anything from a couple of words to several paragraphs or pages, and there are no rules as for how they should be written. Possibly for that reason, however, memoing is potentially one of the least focused aspects of doing grounded theory; yet anyone who has been struggling with categorization and handsorting, knows that memos are what ties concepts together when generating new theory. The article challenges preconceived thinking of what a memo actually is and prompts autonomous memo productivity.

The next focus in this issue is on short format publishing. When the Grounded Theory Review switched to digital open access publishing one and a half years ago, we introduced short format articles as an alternative way of publishing papers. Since grounded theories are conceptual and not descriptive, the presentation of a theory might be scaled up or down as time and place allows. We believe that the shorter format might inspire grounded theorists to present theoretical discussions on aspects of grounded theory even before they have any full-fledged theory that is ready for publishing. Therefore, this format allows authors the opportunity to focus on one issue at a time, and to test ideas at an earlier stage of a study.

Authors Olavur Christiansen, Svend Erik Sorensen, and Helen Scott have tested out a partial application of the grounded theory method on a study of poverty in Greenland. Due to strict time frames, the authors did not have the opportunity to generate a full theory, but even in a partial state, they found that grounded theory might be a very helpful research approach. With the partially developed theory, the researchers identified proactively steering behavior as a main concern of public employees in their attempt to resolve poverty problems in the population. The researchers managed to develop a suggested strategy to improve the self-reliance of socially dependent clients, and the study is still in progress.

Authors Roland Nino Agoncillo and Roberto Borromeo have developed the theory of becoming selfless, that derived from a study of educational partners in their home country. Educational partners are young volunteers who assist religious organizations in education, and being committed to service through becoming selfless is particularly important after a natural disaster like the super typhoon that hit the Philippines last fall. The article speaks to the broader field of management research on the issues of organizational commitment.

In a world of data overflow, there is a growing focus on secondary data analysis. As early as 1962, Barney G. Glaser wrote a short format article entitled ‘Secondary Analysis: A Strategy for the Use of Knowledge from Research.’ The article discusses comparability of existing data material and suggests that secondary analysis of data might help resolve challenges related to economy, client readiness, application testing and application variables. Dr. Glaser’s PhD study on scientists and their organizational careers was generated from secondary data analysis, and the arguments for secondary analysis provided in this piece are just as relevant today. We hope the article might inspire GT researchers to consider the use of existing data before they start their next study.

The last short format article highlights generalizability dilemmas of grounded theories. Author Barry Chametzky discusses to what extent his substantive theory of offsetting the affective filter might be generalizable to other fields than that of online foreign language learners. The question of generalizability, or expanding from a substantive to a formal theory, is often raised during the PhD phase of a research career. Chametzky uses the five pillars for a satisfactory developed grounded theory as a spring board to discuss aspects of generalizability and transferability under the grounded theory umbrella.