Published on March 9, 2014
Research Philosophies – Grounded Theory ESUUK Research Methodologies Seminars 7th March, 6:30 PM London Time Amgad Badewi, PMP, ITIL Cranfield University A.firstname.lastname@example.org LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/amgad-badewi/59/612/910 Google +: +AmgadBadewi Twitter: @AmgadBadewi
Outlines • Research Paradigms • Grounded Theory Research
Ontology Epistemology Research paradigms Accounting – Finance – Marketing & HR Quantitative - Statistics Testing Hypotheses Operations Management – Information Systems Qualitative – Narrative – Hermeneutics Social Construction of reality Objectivity Subjective Reality is external Reality is Internal Reality is single No Single reality Positivist Interpretivist
Introduction • Research Paradigms • Positivist • Post-Positivist • Constructionist • Pragmatism 4
Logical Positivism • Ontology (nature of reality): positivists believe that there is a single reality • Epistemology (the relationship of the knower to the known): believes that the knower and the known are independent. • Axiology (role of values in inquiry): positivists believe that inquiry is value free. • Generalisations: Positivists believe that time- and context free generalisations are possible • Causal Linkages: Positivists believe that there are real causes that are temporally precedent to or simultaneous with effects. • Deductive Logic: There is an emphasis on arguing from general to particular, or an emphasis on a priori hypotheses (or theory) (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998; P.7) 5
Post-positivism • The same as positivists but they are different in • Ontology (Nature of reality): our understanding of reality is constructed. • Value-ladenness of inquiry: research is influenced by the values of investigators. • Theory-ladenness of facts: Research is influenced by the theory or hypotheses or framework that an investigator uses. (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998; P.8) 6
Interpretivism, Naturalism, Constructionism • Ontology (Nature of reality): Naturalists believe that there are multiple constructed realities. • Epistemology (the relationship of the knower to the known): Naturalism believe that the knower and the known are inseparable. • Axiology (the role of values in inquiry): Naturalists believe that time- and context-free generalisation are not possible. • Causal Linkages: Naturalists believe that it is impossible to distinguish causes from effects. • Inductive Logic: There is an emphasis on arguing from the particular to the general, or an emphasis on “grounded” theory. (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998; P.8) 7
Research paradigms Paradigm Positivism Post-positivism Pragmatism Methods Quantitative Primarily Quantitative Quantitative Qualitative Primarily Deductive Deductive + Inductive Logic Deductive Epistemology Objective view. point Knower of Modified and Findings known are dualism dualism. Both + Qualitative Objective probably subjective objectively “True.” Constructivism points Inductive and Subjective point of of view. Knower and view known are inseparable . Axiology Inquiry is value free Inquiry involves Values play a large Inquiry values, but they may role be controlled Ontology Naïve realism in is interpreting bound. results Critical or Accept external Relativism transcendental reality. realism explanations that best produce 8 outcomes. Choose desired value
Current research paradigms Positivist Quantitative Qualitative Interpretivist Traditional Simulations, Descriptive Statistics (Yin) Traditional (Walsham , Stake)
Grounded Theory • • • • • • What is grounded Theory Grounded Theory Process Data Collection Methods Coding Methods Example from my research European Journal of Information Systems reviewer notes about Grounded Theory • Academy of Management Journal reviewers notes about Grounded Theory
What is Grounded Theory? • Grounded Theory Approach • Grounded Theory Methodology • Grounded Theory Method
Grounded Theory Process (Analysis)
Data Collection Methods • • • • • • • • Literature Review Interviews Document Analysis (Quantitative & Qualitative Data) Website data Videos E-mails/letters Observation Participatory Observation
Coding Methods • Initial Coding • Focused Coding • Axial Coding
Open / Initial coding • Basically, you read through your data several times and then start to create tentative labels for chunks of data that summarize what you see happening (not based on existing theory – just based on the meaning that emerges from the data). • Construct short codes • Remain Open • Compare data with data • Move quickly through data
Focused Coding • The second phase of coding • Codes are more selective, directed, and conceptual • It requires decisions about which initial codes make the most analytic sense to categorize your data incisively and completely
Axial Coding • Axial coding consists of identifying relationships among the open codes. • What are the connections among the codes? This will be easier to understand when you see the last chart of this blog post.
Grounded Theory in my research • First Iteration • Second Iteration • Third Iteration
First Iteration Activity Opening Question Content Research Why do some organisations outperform others in achieving different levels of ERP benefits? Initial data collection open ended interviews and documents analysis Initial coding and memos ERP Benefits (e.g. inventory benefits, HR benefits, purchasing are used to develop benefits, accounting benefits, marketing benefits), environmental tentative categories problems (e.g. implementation problems, organizational problems, political problems) and ERP asset problems (integration problems, data migration problems, on-promise specific ERP problems, and Cloud ERP specific problems) Research Question is “How can ERP assets are orchestrated with organizational ERP enhanced and refined capabilities to realize maximum benefits of ERP systems?”
Second Iteration Activity Content Data collection to enhance coding to solve the research question Advanced memos are used to refine conceptual categories Semi-structure interviews to investigate research question and constantly compare with the initial interviews ERP Benefits (IT infrastructure, Automating, Planning, and Business Innovation benefits), ERP capabilities (IT infrastructure capabilities, automating capabilities, planning capabilities, and Business Innovation capabilities), and ERP Assets concepts (Assets underpin IT infrastructure, Assets underpin Automating benefits, Assets underpin Planning benefits, and Assets underpin Business Innovation benefits)
Third Iteration Activity Content Theoretical Sampling nine semi-structured interviews to find out new data Sorting all memos together ERP Asset Orchestration framework is developed More Interviews searching for saturation point After nine interviews, four consecutive interviews do not add to the conceptual framework. Validating all the results in focus group Conceptual Model , ERP asset , Capability and benefit matrix are presented to focus group of 4 experts to validate the results
Research Findings ERP Assets: ERP Features, Technologies attached, IT Department Competence Benefits ERP Capabilities depend on Practices, Organization characteristics, Psychological Factors ERP Automating & Integrating Assets Automating Benefits ERP Automating Capability ERP Planning & Controlling Assets + ERP Business Innovation Assets Planning Benefits Business Innovation Benefits ERP Planning & Controlling Capability + ERP Business Innovation Capability Organisational Maturity in ERP utilization = Business Value
Editors Opinion about GTA • European Journal of Information Systems (EJIS) – When do we call it Grounded Theory? • Academy of Management Journal – Six Common Misconceptions in Grounded Theory.
EJIS – When do we can call it GTM? • • • • • • Theory Development Constant Comparison Iterative Coding Theoretical Sampling Management of Perceptions Inextricable link between data collection and analysis Birks et al (2013)
1. Theoretical Development • The objective of the study was • To develop theory rather than to test theory or • To provide a rich description of a phenomenon based on a systematic exploration of the accounts of the phenomenon (through interviews, observations, archival materials or quantitative data sources)
2. Constant Comparison • Constant comparison should be used to analyse data from different standpoints. • It should be noted that analytical and theoretical memos act as the pivotal point for comparison, emergence, sampling and theoretical densification
Memos • Memos are critical, internal sense-making techniques through which constant comparison is achieved. • They help researchers understand their data, the relations in their data and the gaps in their data. • Memos are therefore transitional analysis steps that do not require disclosure, but without which grounded theory is not possible (Glaser, 1978). • Memos can take the form of diagrams, text arratives, propositions, mind maps and other techniques that are suitable to both the idea being documented and to the cognitive preferences of the researcher as sense maker
3. Iterative Coding • Constant comparison led to theory developed through several iterations of data coding. • In this process, concepts are defined, their dimensions developed and abstracted out. • The concepts are then interrelated to each other and, potentially, to the extant literature. • This coding is not required at the word or even at the paragraph level. Instead, the granularity of the code is defined by research interest, the nature of the data and the researcher’s philosophical stance.
4. Theoretical Sampling • The data were collected based on theoretical sampling, with collection ceasing when the data reach theoretical saturation. • Theoretical sampling does not aim to identify representative populations, but rather to enrich the emerging concept. • In other words, the driver for sampling is the need to understand the nature and dimensions of emerging conceptualisations further, usually by sampling data in a way that varies a particular set of dimensions that emerge from prior data analysis. • Theoretical sampling also helps reduce sampling bias and insufficient variation in data, while maintaining focus on the researcher’s goals • Similarly, the notion of theoretical saturation guides the researcher to stay in the field and continue collecting data until new theoretical constructs cease arising and it becomes possible for the researcher to predict what the analysis of the next data point is likely to say.
5. Management of Preconceptions • The study was not driven by existing theories. • This is not to say that the researcher’s own convictions, based on their research paradigm, cannot guide their judgements – this is impossible to avoid. • Instead, GTM requires that we avoid using specific theories pertaining to the phenomenon under study as the starting point for data collection and analysis.
Management of Preconception • However, a priori theories and other preconceptions regarding the research domain should be dealt with in accordance with the method. • Specifically, a priori theory of the phenomenon should be treated as a kind of data to be compared against evidence from the substantive field of enquiry, and not as a way of interpreting the data. • In validating emergent theory, extant theoretical lenses may (and perhaps should) be used to explain how the emergent theory is related to the greater body of literature
6. Inextricable link between data collection and analysis • The data collection and analysis activities were intrinsically related; done almost at the same time, in a recursive process, in which data analysis alternated with data collection until saturation was reached. • (New data yields no new insights for the researcher/s involved).
6 Common Misconceptions in Grounded Theory • Grounded Theory is not • an Excuse to Ignore the Literature • Presentation of Raw Data • Theory Testing, Content Analysis, or Word Counts • Simply Routine Application of Formulaic Technique to Data • Is Not Perfect • Not an Excuse for the Absence of a Methodology Suddan et al (2006)