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The constant comparative method is an inductive data coding process used for categorizing and comparing qualitative data for analysis purposes. Developed by sociologists Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss in 1965, it is usually associated with the methodology of grounded theory, although it is widely used with other research and evaluation frameworks as well. Theory developed using the constant comparison method is considered “grounded” because it is derived from everyday experience as constituted by the data. True to its roots in symbolic interactionism, inductive analysis enables the investigator to build an understanding of the phenomena under investigation through the lives, relations, actions, and words of the participants themselves.

The constant comparative method is an ideal analytic tool for evaluators using qualitative or mixed methods. Because different stakeholders ...

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