Examining Philosophy of Technology Using Grounded Theory Methods

Mark David Webster


A qualitative study was conducted to examine the philosophy of technology of K-12 technology leaders, and explore the influence of their thinking on technology decision making. The research design aligned with CORBIN and STRAUSS grounded theory methods, and I proceeded from a research paradigm of critical realism. The subjects were school technology directors and instructional technology specialists, and data collection consisted of interviews and a written questionnaire. Data analysis involved the use of grounded theory methods including memo writing, open and axial coding, constant comparison, the use of purposive and theoretical sampling, and theoretical saturation of categories. Three broad philosophy of technology views were widely held by participants: an instrumental view of technology, technological optimism, and a technological determinist perspective that saw technological change as inevitable. Technology leaders were guided by two main approaches to technology decision making, represented by the categories Educational goals and curriculum should drive technology, and Keep up with technology (or be left behind). The core category and central phenomenon that emerged was that technology leaders approached technology leadership by placing greater emphasis on keeping up with technology, being influenced by an ideological orientation to technological change, and being concerned about preparing students for a technological future.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs160252


grounded theory methods; semi-structured interview; questionnaire; critical realism; philosophy of technology; technological determinism; instrumental view of technology; technological optimism; technological imperative

Full Text:


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-17.2.2481

Copyright (c) 2016 Mark David Webster

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.