From the Editor’s Desk: Remembering Barney Glaser

It is hard to believe that nearly a year has passed since the loss of Dr. Barney G. Glaser, our dear teacher, mentor, friend, and colleague. As co-originator and constant champion of the original classic theory method, Glaser focused much of his life on teaching grounded theory and mentoring novice and experienced grounded theorists. He founded the Grounded Theory Institute, Sociology Press, and this journal, the Grounded Theory Review. He wrote or co-wrote more than 30 books and papers focused on grounded theory. He hosted innovative grounded theory seminars in the US, Europe, and Asia and mentored hundreds of PhD candidates and novice researchers through the years. In this issue, we re-publish the Glaser’s Origins and Growth of Grounded Theory, which was originally published as the first chapter in his 2016 book, Grounded Theory Perspectives: Its Origin and Growth. This chapter described Glaser’s perspective on the original method and how it was first discovered.  He also discussed how remodeling of the original method was produced by people who did not understand the basic assumptions of the method and how the method’s procedures flowed logically from these assumptions. Glaser aimed to clarify misinterpretations of the method in the many subsequent books and papers that he published.

The Grounded Theory Review will remain as originally intended by Glaser—a repository of original research and other works that adhere to the classic grounded theory method. The current issue has four basic foci: an editorial on theory in general, an essay tribute to Glaser, methodological papers, original research, and a book review.

In the form of a guest editorial, Kara Vander Linden tackles the question, What is ‘Theory’ in Grounded Theory.  Although theory is often discussed in relation to research, Vander Linden proposes that there is a lack of consensus on what theory is. The author briefly discusses some views of theory within sociology and the lack of consensus over what constitutes theory. This lack of consensus makes it important that grounded theorists not only explain what is meant by a theory being grounded in data but also what is meant by theory in grounded theory.

Glaser was active with grounded theorists in China. In their paper, Becoming Independent: The Life-Changing Experiences of GT Researchers in China, Fei, Chen, Feng, and Wang pay tribute to Glaser. The paper lays out some life-changing experiences of these GT researchers, which ultimately led toward their academic independence. They identify three intertwining aspects of their experience with grounded theory: inspiration and empowerment of Glaser and his methodology, developing a critical mind, and growth in personal character.

This issue also has two classic grounded theory methodology papers, both of which are republished with permission.  In his paper, Coding in Classic Grounded Theory, Chametzky gives novice researchers interested in the classic grounded theory design a foothold in how to do one aspect of classic grounded theory analysis: coding.  The explanation offered in this paper is based in theory and supported with practical examples. In the paper, When and How to Use Extant Literature in Classic Grounded Theory, Nathaniel weaves together Glaser’s recommendations on how, why, and when to review the literature and which literature to review. The paper includes a section debunking the no literature myth followed by descriptions of the three phases of the classic grounded theory literature review.

There are four original research papers in this issue. In the paper, Transcending Inequality: A Classic Grounded Theory of Filipino Factory Workers in Taiwan, Peter Sun presents a theory that explains how individuals resolve inequality via three overlapping patterns of behavior: coping, bonding, and serving.  In a paper entitled Theory of Flowing: Going with the Flow of the Ups-and-Downs of Recovery from an Ordeal, Alan Kim-Loc Oh outlines the theory of flowing, which is an intervention strategy that ordinary people implement in order to go with the flow of the ups-and-downs of recovering from an ordeal. Alros Joan Sumner studied the processes of teams who utilize a particular tool—the De Bono thinking tool. In the paper, Getting on the Same Page, Sumner described a three-stage process of change in personal cognitive capability with participants using the De Bono instrument. In the paper entitled, The Behavioural Motivations of Police Officers Engaged in Domestic Abuse Incident Work, Daniel Ash explores domestic abuse police work by considering the behavioural motivations of officers. Ash examined how officers behave when carrying out police incident work in England.

We at the Grounded Theory Review often refer to the extent to which Glaser influenced classic grounded theorists through his writings, teaching, and mentoring. A student of Glaser, Odis Simmons, became a colleague and lifelong friend to Glaser. Vander Linden, Allen-Hammer, Goldberg, Kellogg, and Underwood review Simmons’s newly published book, Experiencing Grounded Theory. They recommend the book to both novice and practicing grounded theorists as an enjoyable, easy-to-read journey through Simmons’s 55 years of learning, doing, mentoring, teaching, and applying grounded theory. The book begins with Simmons’s introduction to grounded theory and progresses through his years of teaching the methodology. The authors propose that while there are many books written on grounded theory, few explain the method as clearly as this one.

We at the Grounded Theory Review wish you a very productive new year, filled with joy and productive scholarship.

Alvita Nathaniel, PhD