Saturday, October 9, 2010

Quote about grounded theory

(This posting was made 1/21/10 but was never posted because...... either it didn't feel right or I retrieved the post because something ain't quite right so... 8-O lol)

Can't stop feeling that the whole grounded theory method thing is about the development and maintenance of the delusional system. 

"A researcher can easily find examples for dreamed-up, speculative, or logically deduced theory after the idea has occurred.  But since the idea has not been derived from the sample, seldom can the example correct or change it (even if the author is willing), since the example was selectively chosen for its confirming power.  Therefore, one receives the image of a proof when there is none, and the theory obtains a richness of detail that it did not earn."  (Glaser and Strauss, 1967, P. 5)

"But the generation of data from such insights (e.g., outside of data) must then be brought into relation to the data, or there is great danger that theory and empirical world will mismatch."  p. 8

Contemporary emphasis on verification, the influential style of logico-deductive theorizing, which encourages the drive toward verification, the useless distinction between qualitative and quantitative data for theory generation."   P. 9

Verification and "Grand" Theory

"Currently, students are trained to master great-man theories and to test them in small ways, but hardly to question the theory as a whole in terms of its position or manner of generation." P. 10

Verification or Generation? 

Both Blumer and Znaniecki addressed the issue of verification rather than theory generation.

Qualitative v.s. Quantitative data

"What clash there is concerns the primacy of emphasis on verification or generation of theory."

Quantitative research so far have been maining focus on the testing of grand theories or modifying it rather than the generation of new theory-- a pattern of higher ed philosophy.

Chapter 2: Generating Theory

Accurate evidence

"(i)n generating theory, it is not the fact upon which we stand, but the conceptual category (or a conceptual property of the category) that was generated from it."

"In discovery theory, one generates conceptual categories or their properties from evidence; then the evidence from which the category emerged is used to illustrate the concept.  The evidence may not necessarily be accurate beyond a doubt, but the concept is undoubtedly a relevant theoretical abstraction about what is going on in the area studied."  P. 23

Generating Theory

"When the vital job of testing a newly generated theory begins, the evidence from which it was gnerated is quite likely to be forgotten or ignored.  Now, the focus is on the new evidence that will be used for verifying only a part of the theory."  P. 29

"His job is not to provide a perfect description of an area, but to develop a theory that accounts for much of the relevant behavior."  P. 30

What theory is generated

Footnote: "The form in which a theory is presented does not make it a theory; it is a theory because it explains or predicts something."  P. 31

"Theory as a process." P. 32

"Our strategy of comparative analysis for generating theory puts a high emphasis on theory as a process; that is, theory as ever-developing entity, not as a perfect product." P. 32

Substantive and Formal Theory

Substantive at the empirical and, perhaps, the applied level.  Formal theory at the conceptual level.

"Our approach, allowing substantive concepts and hypotheses to emerge first, on their own, enables the analyst to ascertain which, if any, existing formal theory may help him generate his substantive theory."  P. 34

"we use the word grounded here to underline the point that the formal theory we are talking about must be contrasted with "grand" theory that is generated fromm logical assumptions and speculations about the "oughts" of social life." P. 34-35

"... many ethnographic studies and multiple theories are needed so that various substantive and formal theories  areas of inquiry can continue to build up to more inclusive formal theory... since one theory never handles all relevancies, and because by comparing many theories we can begin to arrive at more inclusive, parsimonious level." P. 35

Elements of the Theory

"First, conceptual categories and their conceptual properties; and second, hypotheses or generalized relations among the categories and their properties."  P. 35

"A category stands by itself as a conceptual element of the theory.  A property, in turn, is a conceptual aspect or element of a category."  P.  36

"both categories and properties are concepts indicated by the data (and not the data itself); also that both vary in degree of conceptual abstraction."  P. 36

"When generation of theory is the aim, however, one is constantly alert to emergent perspectives that will change and help develop his theory.  These perspectives can easily occur even on the final day of study or when the manuscript is reviewed in page proof: so the published word is not the final one, but only a pause in the never-ending process of generating theory." p. 40

Elements of theorySubstantiveFormal
CategorySocial Loss of dying patientsSocial Value of People
Properties of categoryCalculating social loss on basis of learned and apparent characteristics of patientCalculating social value of person on basis of learned and apparent characteristics
HypothesisThe higher the social loss of a dying patient, (1) the better his care, (2) the more nurses develop loss rationales to explain away his deathThe higher the social loss of person the less delay he experiences in receiving services from experts

Chapter 3: Theoretical Sampling

Why selecting groups?

"First conceptual level, and second, population scope.  Third, comparison groups also provide simultaneous maximization or minimization of both the differences and the similarities of data that bear on the categories being studied.  This control over similarities and differences is vital for discovering categories."  (p. 55)

Consequences of minimizing and maximizing differences in comparison groups for generating theory for two different types of data (similar and diverse) (p. 58)

Differences in groupsSimilarDiverse
MinimizedMaximum similarity in data leads to: (1) verifying usefulness of category; (2) Generating basic properties; and (3) Establishing set of conditions for a degree of category.  These conditions can be used for prediction.Spotting fundamental differences under which category and hypotheses vary.
MaximizedSpotting fundamental uniformities of greatest scopeMaximum diversity in data quickly forces:  (1) Dense developing of property of categories; (2) Integrating of categories and properties; (3) Delimiting scope of theory. 

Theoretical saturation

"The criterion for judging when to stop sampling the different groups pertinent to a category is the category's theoretical saturation.  Saturation means that no additional data are being found whereby the sociologist can develop properties of the category.  As he sees similar instances over and over again.  The researcher becomes empirically confident that a category is saturated."  (P. 61)


Helen said...

When you start doing Grounded Theory it all makes perfect sense... I promise :)

Ratprincess said...

Thanks and I surely hope so...

Ratprincess said...

Interesting to revisit this post... grounded in data and in search of the theory...