Understanding, choosing and applying grounded theory: part 2
Evidence and practice    

Understanding, choosing and applying grounded theory: part 2

Meg Polacsek PhD candidate, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
Gayelene Boardman Senior lecturer, Nursing College of Health and Biomedicine, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
Terence McCann Professor of mental health nursing, Department of Nursing & Midwifery, College of Health and Biomedicine, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia

Background A fundamental decision when planning a study is the selection of the most appropriate approach to the research. Researchers choosing grounded theory must consider which approach is best suited to for collecting and analysing data.

Aim To enable nurse researchers to choose and apply a grounded theory methodology, using a worked example to illustrate the main elements and considerations.

Discussion Grounded theory provides a helpful framework to guide data collection and analysis, and to generate theory from the data. It can also be used to modify or advance existing theories.

Conclusion Neophyte researchers need to understand the jargon, technical language and specific requirements of grounded theory to use it to its capacity. This supports the correct application of their preferred approach to grounded theory, and continuity between the study’s question, aims and methods.

Implications for practice It takes time and effort to understand the different approaches of grounded theory, and to learn its rigorous standards. This paper offers guidance to nurse researchers by explaining fundamental decisions to be made when choosing and adopting a grounded theory methodology.

Nurse Researcher. doi: 10.7748/nr.2018.e1593


Polacsek M, Boardman G, McCann T (2018) Understanding, choosing and applying grounded theory: part 2. Nurse Researcher. doi: 10.7748/nr.2018.e1593

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Published online: 03 December 2018

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