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Using the Grounded Theory Method to Delineate the Central Concept in a Qualitative Study: Crafting the Story

Case
By: Published: 2020 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases: Medicine and Health
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Abstract

This case focuses on the practicalities of using grounded theory as a research methodology when collecting and analyzing qualitative health care data. I undertook an exploratory grounded theory study on heart failure self-management decision-making processes as part of my doctoral dissertation. I was investigating the problem that patients with heart failure continue to have high emergency department use despite self-management education. I chose to conduct a qualitative study using grounded theory as my research method because this method seeks to develop new theories based on the qualitative data that are collected. Through in-depth, face-to-face interviews looking at patients’ self-detection of symptom changes and their corresponding actions, I attempted to develop a better understanding of their decision-making processes. In this case, I describe how I created a data analysis plan using Juliet Corbin and Anselm Strauss’s iterative method. I paid particular attention to describing theory construction, central concept development, and translating context into relational statements. I included helpful examples that demonstrate the importance of spacing interviews to allow for theoretical analysis progression. I used a culminating theoretical model of normalizing symptoms to illustrate visualizing results. In this case, I present real-life examples, tips, suggestions, and lessons learned for researchers who wish to use the grounded theory method to collect and analyze qualitative data.

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