Charmaz’s (2014) Constructing Grounded Theory is an engagingly-written book which presents one version of grounded theory procedures in a concise and explicit style. This book would be of value to both novices and experts. Urquhart’s (2013) Grounded Theory for Qualitative Research: A Practical Guide is also ideal for the novice who may have lots of ‘How?’ questions as it guides researchers in the practical aspects of using grounded theory analysis. Some concepts in grounded theory tend to be poorly understood. Conlon et al (2020) have helpfully examined and clarified the key concept of theoretical sampling and the uses and functions of this characteristic feature of grounded theory work.
These methodological sources should be read alongside articles that report grounded theory studies in clear ways so that you can see how researchers have applied the principles of grounded theory and how they write up their work. In Appendix 2 in the book, you will find Sque and Payne’s report on their grounded theory research, which considered how families of deceased people decide whether to donate their loved one’s organs for transplantation. For a longer version of this report, see Sque and Payne (1996). More recent examples of grounded theory research on health-related topics are Basinger et al’s (2015) research on how college students who are living away from their family home cope when a family member is diagnosed with or treated for cancer; Loopstra et al’s (2015) study of how parents assess acute pain in young children; Marks et al’s (2016) research on how health care professionals who work with children and adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis understand the condition; and McHale et al’s (2018) creation of a model of engagement in mindfulness-based groups for people who hear distressing voices.
Remember, though, that some researchers claim to have used grounded theory even though they only used its coding procedures and did not try to generate new theory. If you want to find examples of grounded theory work to enhance your learning about the approach, stick to instances where the researchers have actually generated new theory.
- Basinger, E.D., Wehrman, E.C., Delaney, A.L. and McAninch, K.G. (2015) ‘A grounded theory of students’ long-distance coping with a family member’s cancer’, Qualitative Health Research, 25(8): 1085–98.
- Charmaz, K. (2014) Constructing Grounded Theory. 2nd edn. London: SAGE.
- Conlon, C., Timonen, V., Elliott-O’Dare, C., O’Keeffe, S. and Foley, G. (2020) ‘Confused about theoretical sampling? Engaging theoretical sampling in diverse grounded theory studies’, Qualitative Health Research, 30(6): 947–59.
- Loopstra, C., Strodl, E. and Herd, D. (2015) ‘A qualitative analysis of how parents assess acute pain in young children’, Health Psychology Open, 2(1): 1–12.
- Marks, M.R., Huws, J.C. and Whitehead, L. (2016) ‘Working with uncertainty: A grounded theory study of healthcare professionals’ experiences of working with children and adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome’, Journal of Health Psychology, 21(11): 2658–67.
- McHale, C., Hayward, M. and Jones, F.W. (2018) ‘Building a grounded theory of engagement in mindfulness-based group therapy for distressing voices’, Qualitative Health Research, 28(14): 2169–82.
- Sque, M. and Payne, S.A. (1996) ‘Dissonant loss: The experiences of donor relatives’, Social Science & Medicine, 43(9): 1359–70.
- Urquhart, C. (2013) Grounded Theory for Qualitative Research: A Practical Guide. London: SAGE.