Grounded Theory for ABM

Report
Professor Cathy Urquhart
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Strong interest in qualitative data analysis,
especially grounded theory, since 1995
Wrote a chapter on grounded theory in 2001
directed at postgraduate students which is
widely used (Ed Eileen Trauth, Qualitative
Research in Information Systems)
Written in the Sage Handbook of Grounded
Theory
Written a commissioned book for Sage on
grounded theory
Senior Editor of MIS Quarterly, the top journal in
information systems. MISQ has an impact factor
of 4.83, the highest of all business journals
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 Background
– a meeting of minds?
 What is grounded theory?
 What bridges can we build between
GT and ABM?
 Both
are essentially inductive – they
build a model or theory
 GT has historically used qualitative
data
 ABM is quantitative, but is grounded
in narrative observations
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A qualitative research method.
Co-originators sociologists Barney Glaser and
Anselm Strauss (1967).
An inductive approach to generating substantive
theory that is ‘grounded’ in the data.
Has clear directives on coding data.
There are disputes about application and also the
method.
Many adaptations in many fields.
© C.Urquhart 2000
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The aim of grounded theory is to
generate or discover a theory.
The researcher has to set aside
theoretical ideas in order to let the
substantive theory emerge.
Theory focuses on how individuals
interact with the phenomena under
study.
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Theory asserts a plausible relationship
between concepts and sets of concepts
Theory is derived from data acquired
from fieldwork interviews, observation,
and documents.
Data Analysis is systematic and begins
as soon as data is available.
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Data analysis proceeds through
identifying categories and connecting
them.
Further data collection (or sampling) is
based on emerging concepts.
These concepts are developed through
constant comparison with additional
data.
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Data collection can stop when no new
conceptualisations emerge.
Data analysis proceeds from open
coding (identifying categories,
properties and dimensions) through
selective coding (clustering around
categories), to theoretical coding.
The resulting theory can be reported
in a narrative framework or a set of
propositions.
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Open coding - the data is examined and
coded at a word or sentence level.
Selective coding – coding around emergent
categories.
Theoretical coding - coding for one or two
‘core’ categories and considering the
relationships
Note: Glaser version.
Strauss and Corbin – open, axial, selective stages
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Many options for relating categories, one of
which may be of particular interest to ABM
colleagues. Glaser (2005) gives some wonderful
nuances of causation in this theoretical code
family.
Causal family – a relative of the 6Cs family, it
includes several aspects: 1) bias random walk, 2)
amplifying causal looping, 3) conjectural
causation, 4) repetitive causal reproductions, 5)
equifinality, 6) reciprocal causation, 7) triggers, 8)
causal paths, 9) perpetual causal looping
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‘Bias random walk’ – all variables are in a flux,
‘then on the introduction of a crucial variable …
then of a sudden all of the variables fall into
organisation’
‘Amplifying causal looping’ – ‘consequences
become causes, and one sees either worsening or
improving progressions or escalating severity’
‘Conjectural causation’ – it is not always easy to
identify decisive causal combinations.
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Repetitive causal reproductions’ – a repeated
action keeps producing the same consequences.
‘Equifinality’ – no matter what the causes and
paths, the same consequence will occur.
‘Reciprocal causation’ – there is a similar
interaction of effects or amplified causal looping.
‘Triggers’ – sudden causes that set off a
consequence or set of consequences.
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Causal paths’ – used to intervene in changing or
stopping a consequence.
‘Perpetual causal looping’ – a mathematical
model, an ordered calculated growth of increased
size based on a set temporal path.
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ABM and GT are closer than we might think?
Both are in my view inductive methods
Challenges are numerous
Can GT help with isolating actions and agents?
What would be the methodological sequence if we
combined both methods?
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Urquhart C, Lehmann H, Myers M (2010), Putting the
Theory back into Grounded Theory: Guidelines for
Grounded Theory Studies in Information Systems,
Information Systems Journal, 20, 4, pp 357-381
Urquhart C (2007) 'The Evolving Nature of Grounded
Theory Method: The Case of the Information Systems
Discipline' In: Kathy Charmaz and Tony Bryant (ed.),
The Handbook of Grounded Theory, Sage Publishers,
311-331.
Urquhart C and Fernandez W, Grounded Theory
Method: The Researcher as Blank Slate and Other
Myths, Proceedings of the Twenty Seventh International
Conference on Information Systems, Milwaukee 2006
Charmaz K (2006), Constructing Grounded Theory,
Sage Publications
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www.groundedtheory.com
http://www.qual.auckland.ac.nz/grndrefs.aspx
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grounded_theory_(Glaser)
http://gtm.vlsm.org/
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Open Coding
- codes which become
categories and
properties of
categories
Selective Coding
some codes become
categories, some
become properties,
some relationships
are made
1-2 core categories
‘emerge’
Theoretical coding
Finally, coding the data
for the core categories.
Building the theory by
considering
relationships carefully.
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Ok let me tell you about three different kinds of ways of using IT
skills training
[…] There are organisations who provide generic IT skills
[For example] learn to use Word, learn to browse the Internet, learn
to use email […]. Those are the easiest ones to measure because you
can have them [the people] a test […] you can issue a certification
based on that
Now, we have also found that it is the one that has the least retention
and maybe the least usefulness for people to actually solve their
every day problems. It maybe is the easiest one to implement but not
the most productive one
Another type of training that takes place is within an industry.
Industry-specific training in IT skills. […] the training is tailored to
certain people and training them in the specific skills that are needed
in that industry
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Possible Selective Codes
Open Codes
Generic Skills Training
Agencies providing generic skills,
word processing skills, web browsing
skills, email skills, ease of
measurement of generic skills, testing
of generic skills, certification as
outcome of generic skills, lack of
retention of generic skills, lack of
every day usefulness of generic skills,
ease of implementation versus
eventual value of skills
Industry Specific IT Skills Training
Job targeted IT training, Job gain as
success measure
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Possible Selective Codes
Open Codes
Types of skills training
Industry specific IT training, Job
targeted IT training, Agencies
providing generic skills, word
processing skills, web browsing skills,
email skills, , lack of every day
usefulness of generic skills, ease of
implementation versus usefulness
Benefits of skills training
Job gain as success measure,
Community empowerment, Benefits of
local training, certification as outcome
of generic skills
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One of the most interesting aspects of the
interview is the idea that impact of IT skills
training is hard to measure, and that the most
impact is made by locally relevant training. So one
emerging research question might be:
How can we measure the impact of IT skills
training?
Another might be;
How important is the context of IT skills training?
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Types of skills training
• Locally relevant training
• Generic skills training
• Industry based IT training
Have
different
Benefits of skills training
• Job gain as success
measure
• Community
empowerment
• Benefits of local
training,
• Certification as
outcome of generic
skills
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Grounded theory is a rigorous way of doing
qualitative resarch
Some researchers leverage the coding processes
without producing theory and this is a legitimate
use
Good for rigour - you can be confident about
what you produce
Good for practice – enables us to build theories of
what happens, instead of imposing theories from
elsewhere
Good for innovation – excellent where no theories
exist -yet
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