Problematics of grounded theory: Innovations for developing an increasingly rigorous qualitative method

Academic Article


  • Our purpose in this article is to identify and suggest resolution for two core problematics of grounded theory. First, while grounded theory provides transparency to one part of the conceptualization process, where codes emerge directly from the data, it provides no such systematic or transparent way for gaining insight into the conceptual relationships between discovered codes. Producing a grounded theory depends not only on the definition of conceptual pieces, but the delineation of a relationship between at least two of those pieces. Second, the conceptualization process of grounded theory is done in hierarchical fashion, where individual codes emerge from the data but then are used to generate insight into more general concepts and thematic statements. But various works on grounded theory have failed to provide any systematic way of using data specific levels of scale (the codes) to gain insight into more macro levels of scale (concepts and themes). We offer fractal concept analysis as a means of resolving both of these issues. By using a logic structure generator, fractal concept analysis delineates self-similar conceptual frameworks at various levels of abstraction, yielding a method for linking concepts together within and between levels of scale encountered in the grounded theory coding and categorization process. We conclude that this fractal analytic technique can bolster the aims of grounded theory as a formalized and systematic process for generating theory from empirical data. © 2009 SAGE Publications.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Wasserman JA; Clair JM; Wilson KL
  • Start Page

  • 355
  • End Page

  • 381
  • Volume

  • 9
  • Issue

  • 3