Study examines use of grounded theory in mixed methods research

Study examines use of grounded theory in mixed methods research Friday, July 28, 2017

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A team, Michelle Howell Smith, CYFS research assistant professor, and Jared Stevens, CYFS graduate assistant are investigating the use of grounded theory in mixed methods research, which combines qualitative and quantitative approaches.

The team’s study, “Contemporary Approaches to Mixed Methods–Grounded Theory Research: A Field-Based Analysis,” was published June 1 in the Journal of Mixed Methods Research. The team includes Timothy Guetterman, assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan, and Nebraska’s Wayne Babchuk, assistant professor of practice in educational psychology.

The technique called theoretical sampling is one the trademarks of grounded theory. Researchers using this approach are able to gather data agreeing with analysis and change their data collection protocols according on what they are finding

These findings led the team to recommend best practices for researchers using grounded theory. Among the suggestions:

  • Cite mixed methods and grounded theory literature
  • Describe reasons for using mixed methods and grounded theory
  • Specify methodological designs and approaches
  • Use strategies to validate grounded theory findings
  • Use standards to evaluate the quality of mixed methods and grounded theory findings

“The thing that’s really nice about grounded theory is that is has this very rigorous design, which is more familiar to researchers with quantitative backgrounds,” said Howell smith. “Grounded theory is a little more seamless and intuitive for people with a quantitative background, and it has a lot of promise going forward in mixed methods research.”