The Development of Constructivist Grounded Theory

Jane Mills, Ann Bonner, Karen Francis

Abstract


Constructivist grounded theory is a popular method for research studies primarily in the disciplines of psychology, education, and nursing. In this article, the authors aim to locate the roots of constructivist grounded theory and then trace its development. They examine key grounded theory texts to discern their ontological and epistemological orientation. They find Strauss and Corbin’s texts on grounded theory to possess a discernable thread of constructivism in their approach to inquiry. They also discuss Charmaz’s landmark work on constructivist grounded theory relative to her positioning of the researcher in relation to the participants, analysis of the data, and rendering of participants’ experiences into grounded theory. Grounded theory can be seen as a methodological spiral that begins with Glaser and Strauss’ original text and continues today. The variety of epistemological positions that grounded theorists adopt are located at various points on this spiral and are reflective of their underlying ontologies.

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