All research is grounded in data, but not all research produces grounded theory. Researchers use grounded theory (GT) methodology to develop empirically grounded conceptual frameworks that detail relationships between concepts inductively identified in the data, rather than deductively imposed on the data.

GT is a methodology used by researchers to systematically examine and explain phenomena. Sociologists Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss developed GT to close the gap they perceived between theory building and empirical research in the positivist tradition. They challenged a growing focus on verifying theory through hypothesis testing, as these theories often lacked initial work to determine what variables were important to people experiencing the phenomenon. While studying at the University of California–San Francisco in 1967, Glaser and Strauss published The Discovery of Grounded ...

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