Whilst conducting research on my professional doctorate thesis, I had become frustrated at the lack of evidence regarding two of the areas of inquiring I was interested in. As a result of communicating this frustration with my supervisory team, there was a moment of clarity, which came from my supervisory team that perhaps I needed to adopt a Grounded Theory approach to my doctoral thesis. I was advised by a friend that the reading material was vast and that I would need a large backpack if I was to take books out of the library. The magnitude of information that exists in regard to grounded theory methods and findings have made engaging in grounded theory a complicated endeavour. The change in approach has also necessitated the need for me to park my existing introduction and literature review for the time being. This material will not be wasted, just paused and I will loop back around at a later date and revisit this initial research, but for now, I have progressed to the reading of grounded theory.
The intent of a grounded theory study is to “move beyond description and to generate or discover a theory” (Creswell 2007, p. 83), a “unified theoretical explanation” (Corbin and Struss, 2007, p. 107) for a process or an action. The outcome of a grounded theory study does not create an “off the shelf” theory, but rather this will be as a direct result of participant’s experiences and processes, (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). It was this explanation within Creswell’s, Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design book which articulated a clear line of progressing for my own study. What has become clear to me through my initial reading of grounded theory is the methodology and methods I will select to underpin and extrapolate this study. The methodological framework with its underpinning philosophy influences how the researcher (me) will work with the participants. My research will not adopt a Glaser approach as I am organically exposed to the environment in which I am researching. I will not be able to take a position of distance; rather my approach will be an acknowledged inclusion both in the field and in the final outcome of the study. At this point, my research has pointed me in the direction of Charmaz, who offers a constructivist and interpretive perspective to grounded theory. Charmaz (2006) places more emphasis on the views, values, beliefs, feelings, assumptions, and ideologies of individuals than on the methods of research, although she does describe the practices of gathering rich data, coding the data, memos and using theoretical sampling.
On the subject of memos, I have initiated the use of this tool to gather data and to show my thought processes towards my decision to use grounded theory within my own doctorate. To date I have held two meetings with Professional Doctorate students who have used grounded theory, creating outcomes and actions as a result of our conversation. I have also created a memo with regards to my attendance at the Narrative Inquiry Research Interest Group – Change, Order and the Narrative Structure: the Metaphor of the Trickster. This initial engagement into grounded theory has ignited my interest in using grounded theory and beginning the process through the ethics committee and data collection in early 2019.