Adapting Grounded Theory in Qualitative Research: Reflections from Personal Experience

Philip Bulawa


Grounded theory is one of the methodologies that have been widely used in qualitative research. However, researchers, especially inexperienced ones have not been sure about its use in the process of the data collection and analysis. The uncertainty arises mainly from the differences that have emerged between Barney G. Glaser and Anselm L. Strauss who previously pioneered grounded theory together. Using the researcher’s own PhD study, this paper seeks to show that grounded theory can be adapted to suit studies being undertaken. It demonstrates that there is no one way of undertaking grounded theory studies, and that the initial approach by Glaser and Strauss was never intended to be dogmatic. The paper shows that while there are common elements across most approaches of grounded theory, theorists and users of this approach have applied it differently. Therefore, this suggests that researchers can adopt and adapt the grounded theory approach for their own research.

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