This case study describes the research carried out in partial fulfilment of the degree of doctor of education. The study was qualitative in nature with a phenomenological interpretive paradigm. My primary objective is to share my experience of combining life story and grounded theory research. My main objectives for undertaking the research were to investigate what influences attitude to learning, to establish what makes these influences meaningful and to explore whether these influences impact on attitude to lifelong learning. Therefore, the main aim of my research was to explore the interaction between school, family and work and the influence they may have on attitude to learning – particularly in later life. What follows is a case study of how I made decisions regarding the substantive area for the research. I discuss the sampling technique and method for collecting the data and provide a worked example of how the data were analysed. The empirical data led me to interesting findings which may be helpful to strengthen the school, college and workplace interface. This case study also provides insight into the challenges of combining these two methodologies.