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The debate over what counts as theory has dominated methodological conversations in grounded theory research for decades. Four of the schools of thought in that debate – Glaserian, Straussian, Charmazian, and Clarkeian – hold different assumptions about what theory is and how it is made. The first two schools understand theory as an abstraction that exactingly accounts for exceptions. The second two schools understand theory as a process of describing voices hidden from public view. While Glaserian and Straussian coding processes focus on coding exceptions, Charmazian and Clarkeian coding processes focus on building a story of the participants or social phenomenon. This article attempts to clarify the goals of the schools in an effort to overcome the debate about which kinds of research count as grounded theory and which do not.
Citation of this paper:
Apramian, T., Cristancho, S., Watling, C., & Lingard, L. (2017). (Re) Grounding grounded theory: a close reading of theory in four schools. Qualitative research, 17(4), 359-376.