Applying a contemporary grounded theory methodology
General Previous     Next

Applying a contemporary grounded theory methodology

Sharon Licqurish Lecturer in midwifery, School of nursing and midwifery, Australian Catholic University, Victoria
Carmel Seibold Professor and dean, Graduate studies, Australian Catholic University, Victoria

Aim The aim of this paper is to discuss the application of a contemporary grounded theory methodology to a research project exploring the experiences of students studying for a degree in midwifery.

Background Grounded theory is a qualitative research approach developed by Glaser and Strauss in the 1950s but the methodology for this study was modelled on Clarke’s (2005) approach and was underpinned by a symbolic interactionist theoretical perspective, post-structuralist theories of Michel Foucault and a constructionist epistemology.

Review methods The study participants were 19 midwifery students completing their final placement. Data were collected through individual in-depth interviews and participant observation, and analysed using the grounded theory analysis techniques of coding, constant comparative analysis and theoretical sampling, as well as situational maps. The analysis focused on social action and interaction and the operation of power in the students’ environment. The social process in which the students were involved, as well as the actors and discourses that affected the students’ competency development, were highlighted.

Conclusion The methodology allowed a thorough exploration of the students’ experiences of achieving competency. However, some difficulties were encountered. One of the major issues related to the understanding and application of complex sociological theories that challenged positivist notions of truth and power. Furthermore, the mapping processes were complex. Despite these minor challenges, the authors recommend applying this methodology to other similar research projects.

Nurse Researcher. 18, 4, 11-16. doi: 10.7748/nr2011.07.18.4.11.c8630

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Accepted: 12 December 2010

Want to read more?

Already subscribed? Log in

OR

Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first 3 months

Your subscription package includes:
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals and their archives
  • Customisable dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests
Subscribe
RCN student member? Try Nursing Standard Student

Alternatively, you can purchase access to this article for the next seven days. Buy now

Or