The Grounded Theory Method: Popular Perceptions of Party Leaders during the 2010 British General Election


The research question at the core of this study examined how people in Britain perceived the leaders of the three main political parties. To answer this question, we collected data from 14 focus groups held during and after the 2010 election campaign in the three nations of Britain. The Qualitative Election Study of Britain ( was the qualitative dataset generated from the transcripts of these focus groups. We used the grounded theory method to evaluate these data and examine how people viewed the leaders of the three main political parties. This method required reading and categorising the data multiple times to uncover different layers of patterns and codes. Each process of categorisation yielded categories and connections that were more substantive and analytical than the previous iteration. The grounded theory method was the appropriate method to examine popular perceptions of party leaders during the 2010 election campaign as it let us systematically uncover patterns and codes through a process of successive coding; we could analyse the data without preconceptions about what we would find. However, the method was not sufficient to provide deeper and nuanced representations of why people held such views. Therefore, we used discourse analysis to complement the grounded theory method and get the most detail from the data.

locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles