Translating and Doing Grounded Theory Methodology. Intercultural Mediation as an Analytic Resource

  • Massimiliano Tarozzi Università di Trento
Keywords: grounded theory methodology, theory of translation, translation, qualitative data analysis


Language is a non-neutral, but powerful research tool. This article focuses on two issues: 1. methodological suggestions ensuing from the translation of the founding text of grounded theory methodology (GTM) in the light of the recent literature regarding the translation studies and 2. philosophical reflections and methodological implications about the use of a different language in doing GTM. Both these issues can be useful for GTM practitioners, in particular for native English speakers, since they can uncover some implications of the use of the language in doing research that are commonly taken for granted and underestimated.

The translation process has to do with the understanding and use of a social research method. In this sense, to translate, under certain regards, is doing research, a rigorous inquiry aimed at understanding a text. The similarities of these two parallel processes are closely reviewed. Moreover doing research in another language is a powerful analytic resource. Coding in another language requires continuous acts of interlinguistic translation so that it grows our own faculty to understanding. Differences are highlighted, by providing examples from research, among coding in English (an isolating language suitable for advanced coding and memoing) and in Italian (an inflectional language, more suitable for early coding and memoing).



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Author Biography

Massimiliano Tarozzi, Università di Trento

Massimiliano TAROZZI is professor of qualitative research methods at the University of Trento, Italy, and founding director of the Master degree in "Research Methodology in Education" as well as Director of the International Summer School in Qualitative Research Methods in Education with two editions dedicated to GTM (2010-2012). He teaches courses and seminars on GTM at PhD schools in many universities including Verona, Bologna, Milano, Roma, Firenze, Padova, Urbino, Seattle, UCLA. He is currently editor of Encyclopaideia. Journal of Phenomenology and Education, and member of the editorial board of many international scholarly journals.

In addition to several scientific articles, he has written or edited about ten books, including "Phenomenology and Human Science Today" (edited with L. MORTARI, 2010, Bucharest: Zeta Books); "Che cos'è la grounded theory" [What is Grounded Theory?], 2008, Roma: Carocci), translated in Portuguese. He wrote the preface of the book by STERN and PORR "Essentials of Accessible Grounded Theory" (2010, Left Coast Press), and he contributed to the Festschrift in honor of Barney GLASER by MARTIN and GYNNILD, "Grounded Theory: Philosophy, Method, and the Work of Barney Glaser" (2011, Brown Walker Press).

He was the Italian translator of GLASER and STRAUSS, "The Discovery of Grounded Theory" (2009, Roma: Armando) and published a conversation with Barney GLASER "Forty Years after Discovery. Grounded Theory Worldwide" in The Grounded Theory Review, 11, 2007, also translated into German: "Vierzig Jahre nach 'The Discovery'. Barney Glaser im Gespräch mit Massimiliano Tarozzi im "Grounded Theory Reader" (ed. by Günter MEY & Katja MRUCK, 2011, Springer).

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