A "good" code

A code may be changed later over the process of your research. However, it doesn't mean you can name it without pondering it. With same data, different people may identify different labels, but some are "good" and some are "bad". Please bear in mind what you need to consider when you are coding.

Glaser (1998) and Locke (2001: 69) suggested to ask these questions when you do coding:
  • What is happening?
  • What is basic problem faced by the actors here?
  • What category or what aspect of a category does this incident suggest?
  • What does this incident suggest this is a theory of?
Again, 5 elements of a "good" code suggested by Bryne (2001):
  • a label
  • a definition of what the theme concerns
  • a description of how to know when the theme occurs
  • a description of nay qualifications or exclusions to the identification of the theme
  • examples, both positive and negative

Bryne, M. (2001). "Data analysis strategies for qualitative research-Research Corner", AORN Journal. Dec, 2001.
Locke, K.D. (2001). Grounded theory in management research. London: Sage.

Doing Qualitative Research Using Your Computer: A Practical Guide - Chapter 9

The book uses straight-forward, everyday language to walk readers through the research process, drawing on a wide range of examples to demonstrate how easy it is to utilize software that you might already own. The author used a diagram to describe the qualitative research coding process. However, Chapter 9 - Level 3 and Level 4 (Theoretical Concept) Coding, which a grounded theory researcher more concerned, is unavailable on the website.

Grounded theory ideas in Richards' book

It is worthwhile of reading the book below. Richards (2005: 143) stated some key points of how you should conclude your research validity.
The log you built up since the beginning of the project recording at each step why it was taken, what ere the alternatives and why rejects, and what then you saw as the likely results for the final project.
Archived models from the early stages show what you think is going on.
Archived copies of catalogues of ideas created at different stages.
Meanwhile, the author (2005: 134-135) mentioned the "discovery" feeling, which is the "Aha" moment.
Don't wait for the 'aha', as it probably will not happen, and don't feel cheated if it doesn't."
Richards, L. (2005). "Handling Qualitative Data: A Practical Guide". London: Sage.

Seminar: Qualitative Inquiry Methods

Seminar: Qualitative Inquiry Methods organised by Graduate School "Human Behaviour in Social and Economic Change" (GSBC). On the second day, there will be a session about Grounded Theory Design.

Venue: 207, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Bachstraße 18k (east wing), 07743 Jena, Jena
Date: November 8-11, 2011
Speaker: Dr David Hiles

Characteristics of grounded theorist

Strauss and Corbin (1998: 7) offered a list of the "characteristics of a grounded theorist":

  1. The ability to step back and critically analyze situations
  2. The ability to recognize the tendency toward bias
  3. The ability to think abstractly
  4. Sensitivity to the words and actions of respondents
  5. A sense of absorption and devotion to the work process.

Questions about coding in GT (2)

In Grounded theory, I am confused of which coding process shall I follow.

I suggest you to have a clear idea of what different researchers advocated. You need to know what to code firstly and then know how to find the relationships between codes and develop your core category and build your theory. 

The following comparison may help as a start.

A coding process by Glaser and Strauss is different:
Glaser & Strauss (1967) Glaser (1978) Strauss & Corbin (1998)
Open coding Open coding Substantive coding Open coding
Selective coding
Theoretical coding Theoretical coding Axial coding

Selective coding

Selective criteria for core category:
Glaser (11 Criteria) (1978) Strauss & Corbin (6 Criteria) (1998)
  • central
  • reoccur frequently
  • more time to saturate
  • connections not be-forced
  • clear & grabbing implication for formal theory
  • carry through
  • completely variable
  • is also a dimension of the problem
  • prevent to other sources of establishing a core
  • see the core category in all relations
  • it can be a kind of theoretical code
  • central
  • appear frequently
  • no forcing of data
  • sufficiently abstract
  • grows in depth and explanatory power
  • is able to explain variation

Glaser (1978) indicated foundational 6Cs as coding family.
  • Cause 
  • Consequence
  • Condition
  • Context
  • Covariance
  • Contingency
If Glaser's approach is difficult to understand, have a look Spradley's (1979: 111) 9 semantic relationships. It may offer you a start to code your data, and combining with Grounded theory coding process, you will then build a map of your code relationships. Furthermore, will have categories and core category.
  • X is a kind of Y (strict inclusion)
  • X is a place in Y (spatial)
  • X is a result of Y (cause-effect)
  • X is a reason for doing Y (rationale)
  • X is a place for doing Y (location for action)
  • X is used for Y (function)
  • X is a way to do Y (means-end)
  • X is a step in Y (sequence)
  • X is a characteristic of Y (attribution)
(Spradley, J. A. (1979). The ethnographic interview. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.) 

    International Research Workshop on Gronded Theory Methodology

    The International Workshop on Grounded Theory Research at ICIS2011 seeks to contribute to the development and refinement of the members' knowledge on GTM, and to enhance the quality of GTM application in the IS discipline.

    Date: December 7, 2011
    Venue: Shanghai

    Grounded Theory in Chinese Teaching Resources

    林本炫 (1993). 紮根理論研究法. 南華大學, 教育社會學研究所.
    龍紀萱 (2007). 質的研究法(Qualitative Research) - 單元三:紮根理論(Ground theory). 中國醫藥大學醫務管理學系.

    Charles Chen (2009). Grounded Theory: Basics of Qualitative Research - Anselm Strauss & Juliet Corbin Ch1-7. 國立臺灣師範大學圖書資訊學研究所.

    David Yang (2009). Research Design. TCSL at MCU.

    吳芝儀 [n.d.]. 紮根理論研究法. 國立嘉義大學輔導與諮商系.

    洪銓修 [n.d.]. 互動論與據證理論在俗民誌研究的運用. 雲林科技大學, 應用外語系. 

    Question about grounded theory, Ethnography and Phenomenology

    I just started my research. I'm confused the use of grounded theory, Ethnography and Phenomenology...

    You may have a clue by reading my thesis, chapter 3.2.

    It may help if you read this book and think what your research stands on? 
    Creswell (2003). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, 2nd ed. London: Sage.

    For example, ask yourself what your research process probably is(read P.6 Alternative knowledge positions)
    ask yourself what strategy of inquiry you (read P.13 Alternative Strategies of inquiry).

    Other resources:

    case study and GT

    I read a course PPT Case Study and Grounded Theory by chance. I guess it was created for a research methods in Engineering course CEE320 by Martin Fischer in 2004.

    It mentioned David de Vaus and I found that David de Vaus in the book <<Research Design in Social Research>> (2001) outlines with great clarity a wide variety of issues of research methods and design, including testing theories, causation, data analysis, and the main considerations involved in using the different research designs covered. The "Teheory Building" and "Theory Testing" chapters will be very useful for Grounded Theory researchers.

    French versions of Strauss' books

    The books by Strauss have been translated into French.

    Symbolic Interaction, Vol 21. (1998). Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, ISSS Press. [Not sure if it's the original book source.]

    Isabelle Baszanger, (conformé) (1992). La trame de la négociation: sociologie qualitative et interactionnisme. Paris: L'Harmattan.
    ISBN:  9782738414113

    Strauss, A.L. (1959). Mirrors & masks: the search for identity. Glencoe, III. Free Press.

    Paris: Métailié
    ISBN: 9782864241164

    Free e-book chapters about Grounded Theory in Computer Science

    Hart, D. & Gregor, S. (eds). (2005). Information System Foundations: Constructing and Criticising. Australia: ANU E Press.

    This book emphasises the development of "grand" theory in Information Systems discipline. It describes the grounded theory in the Chpater 4. Grounded theory (by M. Gordon Hunter); Chapter 5. Grounded theory and case study, Demands and risks of grounded theory (by Walter D. Fernández).

    Grounded theory in books - Education (2010)

    Riccio, G. & Darwin, M. (2010). "Grounded Theory for Values-Based Training & Education", In: Riccio, G., et al. (eds.). An Initiative in Outcomes-Based Training and Education: Implications for an Integrated Approach to Values-Based Requirements. Fort Meade, MD: U.S. Army Asymmetric Warfare Group. pp. 86-117.

    GT in wikis

    Question about symbolic interactionism and grounded theory

    What is symbolic interactionism in grounded theory? 

    Grounded Theory is informed by the pragmatism and has the ideas of the symbolic interactionist. I quote Parker & Roffey (1997, pp.216-217) and Denzin (1989, p.5) statements here to let you see the connections between Symbolic interactionism and Grounded theory.

    • Interacting individuals produce and define their own definitions of a situation;
    • People can engage in self-reflexive behaviour (i.e. assessing the contextual meaning of their own actions and reactions), and
    • humans interact with each other in negotiating a poisition in relation to each other.
    • Interactionists regard (observation of) human interaction as their basic source of date
    • Grounded thoery includes data sources such as interviews, written reports and documents that relate to the research phenomenon.

    Sixth Annual Grounded Theory Jamboree

    Sixth Annual Grounded Theory Jamboree: “Uncorking (classical) Grounded Theory
    Resolving the Confusion and Uncertainty learning and doing classical Grounded Theory

    To resolve your confusion around doing classical Grounded Theory. Participants will be able to direct their energy into doing their classical Grounded Theory research, and generate relevant and meaningful Grounded Theories.

    Venue: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    Date: August 3rd-5th, 2011