The roots and development of constructivist grounded theory
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The roots and development of constructivist grounded theory

Erica I Lauridsen Doctoral candidate, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Alberta, Canada
Gina Higginbottom Canada research chair in ethnicity and health, Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Canada

Aim To deconstruct how Charmaz’s constructivist grounded theory (CGT) evolved from the original ideas of Glaser and Strauss, and to explore how CGT is similar to and different from the original grounded theory (GT).

Background The origins of GT date to 1967 with Glaser and Strauss’s study of the treatment of dying individuals, applying an inductive method allowing for the development of theory without the guidance of a preconceived theory. CGT moves away from the positivism of the Glaserian and Straussian GT schools, approaching GT through a constructivist lens that addresses how realities are made.

Data sources This article does not involve the collection and analysis of primary data; instead, academic literature written by leaders in the field of GT was reviewed to generate the ideas presented.

Review methods Comprehensive literature review drawing on the ‘integrative review’ principles.

Discussion When selecting a GT approach, the possibility of a congruence between the chosen methodology and the worldviews of the researcher’s discipline and own outlook should be considered.

Conclusion The differences among the various schools of GT lie in their overarching goals and their perspectives of the nature of reality.

Implications for research/practice Considering the alignment between the constructivist worldview and the field of nursing, CGT offers a valuable methodology for researchers in this area.

Nurse Researcher. 21, 5, 8-13. doi: 10.7748/nr.21.5.8.e1208

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 30 October 2012

Accepted: 10 May 2013

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