This case study describes a grounded theory approach in the context of studying the relevance of Intergovernmental Organizations in norm contestation processes. The case study offers an overview of the research design, which includes key conceptualizations of state sovereignty as a variable composite institution as well as an outline of related explanatory factors with respect to the role of non-state actors. The author reflects on practical issues including the importance of methods training, ethical considerations, and how to gain access to international institutions. What is more, this cases study emphasizes that a grounded theory approach to international relations research requires rigor and persistence and one that embraces research as exploration, discovery, and reflection. Finally, the case study offers a pragmatic argument to methodological issues such as engaging with existing literature while remaining open to new findings as well as appreciating that the constant comparison between emergent concepts and data analysis is iterative but not necessarily simultaneous.