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Grounded theory is a well-established and highly influential approach to qualitative research. Developed in the 1960s by two sociologists, Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss, in the United States, it is characterized by a theory-building approach, based on an iterative, inductive process of data analysis. This entry reviews the history and development of the theory, its key characteristics, the process of analyzing data while using grounded theory, and other considerations regarding the theory.

History and Development

Grounded theory was an approach first presented in detail in Glaser and Strauss’s 1967 work, The Discovery of Grounded Theory. Fundamental to this approach was a concern to develop theory—both formal and substantive—from data in a systematic, inductive process. This was in reaction to a more traditional and dominant approach whereby theory ...

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