The method was developed by Glaser and Strauss (1967). As many other frameworks it can mean different things for different people. It is important to define what it means for you.
Grounded theory aims to develop theory which is grounded or rooted in reality. In Glaser and Strauss (1967) words, grounded theory aims to develop explanatory theory of basic social processes studied in the environments in which they take place. It is not a testing theory approach, and it does not aim to provide descriptive accounts (Denscombe, 2010), but goes beyond this, to provide an explanation of the phenomena researched.
Grounded theory typically involves questions that seek to understand what’s going on here? It is about learning from participants how to understand a situation. Grounded theory is often used in health and business, where change and processes are important (Richards and Morse, 2007).
Researcher’ s position
The researcher is supposed to work without any preconceptions, to not be influenced by previous theories, ideas, existing literature. Any existing knowledge needs to be put on hold. The researcher is expected to construct a theory emerging from the data, not from what he already knows.
Empirical fieldwork is important as theories are not developed abstractly. Multiple methods can be used, but preference is for methods that provide relatively unstructured data or raw data such as unstructured interviews, open ended questions…...
Analysis and Results
Grounded theory involves extracting concepts from data, while testing them , testing their relationships to continuously verify emerging theory. The analysis involves finding basic elements of complex things through categorising , comparing. This implies an ongoing interplay between data collection, analysis and writing.
Since grounded theory develops theory, results generally concentrate on a single concept.
Glaser, B.G. and Strauss, A.L. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory; Strategies for qualitative research. Chicago:Aldeline.
Strauss, A. & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: grounded theory procedures and techniques. Newbury Park , Calif. : Sage Publications.
Strauss, A. & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. Thousand Oaks : Sage.
Charmaz (2000). ‘Grounded theory: objectivist and constructivist methods’ in Denzin and Lincoln (eds.) Handbook of Qualitative Research pp. 105-117.
Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory: a practical guide through qualitative analysis. London: Sage, 2006.