Grounded Theory Method and Symbolic Interactionism: Freedom of Conceptualization and the Importance of Context in Research
Symbolic interactionism (SI), a perspective used to understand human conduct, is commonly said to underpin grounded theory methodology (GTM). However, the purpose of GTM is to produce substantive explanatory social theory from data without reliance on prior assumptions. Therefore, some argue that SI is an unnecessary theoretical constraint on the principal aim of GTM—the free conceptualization of data. In this article we use examples from an ongoing constructionist grounded theory study into the negotiation of nurses' roles in general practice in New Zealand, to demonstrate how SI can inform GTM regarding conceptual development and context. We argue that by asking three questions from a symbolic interactionist perspective, at each stage of the research process, freedom of conceptualization may be enhanced and awareness of contextual matters promoted to better bridge world views.
Copyright (c) 2022 Sarah Louise Hewitt, Jane Mills, Karen Hoare, Nicolette Sheridan
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