From the Editor’s Desk

I am humbled by the opportunity to work with the classic grounded theory community and to follow in the footsteps of the previous two editors, Judith Holton and Astrid Gynnild. I am excited to work closely with Barney Glaser, the editorial board, and peer reviewers. One of the most exciting aspects of the Review is the engagement of a global community of classic grounded theorists. Internationally diverse researchers from many disciplines collectively engage in this important research method. As editor, I pledge to continue international multi-disciplinary collaboration and promote the conduct and dissemination of classic grounded theories.

Glaser and Strauss developed the classic grounded theory over 50 years ago. Barney Glaser has continued to teach the classic method through writing more than 29 books and dozens of papers, leading seminars in the U.S. and Europe, and mentoring PhD students. Conducting a classic grounded theory study requires adherence to the essence, procedures, and language of the method as described by Glaser. Getting the basics right is key to developing a grounded theory. This issue includes a reprint of a chapter from Glaser’s 1992 book, Basics of Grounded Theory Analysis. In this chapter Glaser discusses how to get started, how to avoid preconception, and how to think about the grounded theory research question.

Grounded theory reverberates with diverse people because, when executed well, grounded theories illustrate human truths that are recognized beyond geographic or disciplinary boundaries. That is why a physician or sociologist can read a theory discovered by a mathematician, nurse, or dietician and acknowledge the truth embedded in the theory. This issue of the Review includes contributions from authors from Australia, Ireland, Sweden, and the U.S. with fields of study as diverse as nursing, engineering, education, psychology, and dietetics.

Susan Bush Welch delivers a powerful theory exploring how parents experience the expected death of an infant from a life-limiting congenital anomaly. The grounded theory Navigating Infant Death from Life-Limiting Congenital Anomaly includes three stages and two cutting points. The first stage is living in innocence which ends with the first cutting point of getting the bad news. The second stage is parenting in the new reality which ends with the second cutting point, death of the baby. The final stage of the theory is going on. This powerful new theory has practice implications for nurses, physicians, and other health care professionals.

In the paper Negotiating Emotional Order, Jennifer A. Klimek Yingling captures the processes that occur when women have completed initial treatment for breast cancer. The theory consists of five stages of negotiating emotional order emerge. This study will help healthcare providers who care for breast cancer survivors understand the depth of perpetual emotional impact that breast cancer survivors endure.

Siri Khalsa-Zemel and Kara Vander Linden explore hunger in the paper, Developing Mind Body Hunger Mastery. The theory touches on overweight and obesity, mind body medicine, and personal development. The substantive theory depicts two types of hunger, physical hunger and abstract hunger, each requiring separate nourishment processes. The authors conclude that it may be possible to escape confusion and hunger suffering through self-awareness and development of mind body hunger mastery.

Bonnie Johnson, Karen Holdness, Wayne Porter, and Alejandro Hernandez’s paper details the classic grounded theory approach to develop a conceptual theory for an engineering solution to address highly complex problems. The project resulted in the emergence of a theory for a new class of engineered Complex Adaptive Systems of Systems solutions.

In A Grounded Theory on Obtaining Congruence in Decision Making, Michal T. Lysek explains how people who receive contradictory information decide which option to select. The process of obtaining congruence in decision making consists of four stages: struggling, congruencing, deciding, and justifying. The process shows how people resolve cognitive struggles related to contradictive issues. By better understanding decision-making process, Lysek posits that leaders can better learn how to influence people’s decisions.

Debbie Garratt contributed an essay exploring the journey of undertaking a Grounded Theory research project in an area about which little was known. Garrett explains that through the grounded theory process, she became an expert. She describes how this shift from “little known” to “expert area” occurred and discusses the challenges of overcoming anxiety associated with the shift. Garrett concluded that expert knowledge enables nuances to be seen that may otherwise be missed, but that having expert knowledge necessitated greater attention to ensuring sensitization, not preconception.

Ann O’Conner, Barry Carpenter, and Barry Coghlan explore the debate surrounding classic grounded theory versus the constructivist version. The paper evaluates the various claims in a critical manner by revisiting the original discourse outlining these approaches. The importance of maintaining a reflective, neutral stance while examining the arguments and evidence for the claims on both sides of this debate is emphasized. The rationale for choosing a classic grounded theory is outlined and suggestions are offered to novice researchers as they choose the most appropriate approach.

I hope you enjoy reading the theories and essays in this issue of the Grounded Theory Review. As we move forward, we will continue to honor Dr. Glaser’s work by supporting and disseminating classic grounded theories. We will restrict publication to those papers that adhere to the classic grounded theory method. We enthusiastically welcome papers from all disciplines and all areas of our global community.

Alvita Nathaniel, PhD