Essential methodological considerations when using grounded theory

Susan Achora*, Gerald Amandu Matua

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


Aim To suggest important methodological considerations when using grounded theory. Background A research method widely used in nursing research is grounded theory, at the centre of which is theory construction. However, researchers still struggle with some of its methodological issues. Discussion Although grounded theory is widely used to study and explain issues in nursing practice, many researchers are still failing to adhere to its rigorous standards. Researchers should articulate the focus of their investigations - the substantive area of interest as well as the focal population. This should be followed by a succinct explanation of the strategies used to collect and analyse data, supported by clear coding processes. Finally, the resolution of the core issues, including the core category and related categories, should be explained to advance readers' understanding. Conclusion Researchers should endeavour to understand the tenets of grounded theory. This enables 'neophytes' in particular to make methodological decisions that will improve their studies' rigour and fit with grounded theory. Implications for practice This paper complements the current dialogue on improving the understanding of grounded theory methodology in nursing research. The paper also suggests important procedural decisions researchers need to make to preserve their studies' scientific merit and fit with grounded theory.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Specialist publicationNurse researcher
Publication statusPublished - Jul 18 2016


  • Grounded theory
  • Nursing research
  • Research methodology
  • Research methods
  • Symbolic interactionism
  • Theory construction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Research and Theory


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