Linking the Intercultural and Grounded Theory: Methodological Issues in Migration Research

Vera Sheridan, Katharina Storch


Connecting intercultural research with Grounded Theory was advocated in the early history of intercultural theorising and includes the development of researchers' intercultural competencies. Such competency comes to the fore where intercultural theory places an equal emphasis on home and host cultures in migration research. In this context we have found a Grounded Theory approach particularly suitable for disentangling complex interlinkings within migration experiences and their individual outcomes. Grounded Theory allows for the exploration of various theories in different fields and the emergence of new or deeper interpretations of intercultural experiences, including where research has not engaged deeply with or avoided intercultural contexts. The use of software, based on Grounded Theory, provides the resource for systematically exploring the inter-related nature of data. In addition, engaging in intercultural research, in particular, raises questions around our practice as social science researchers: adherence to ethics guidelines, for instance, can be in some conflict with the relations we build with members of communities whose cultural values, for instance around friendship or trust, impact on the norms of both our own and institutional expectations. This leads to reflection on the relationship with research participants in terms of our own intercultural experiences and position.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0901363


cross-cultural adaptation; ethics; grounded theory; intercultural communication; migration; self-reflexivity

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Copyright (c) 2009 Vera Sheridan, Katharina Storch

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