Grounded theory is the most widely used way of analysing qualitative data. It is a means of analysis directed towards theory development. Grounded theory is essentially a system of guidelines which guides data analysis and theory generation.
2. Doing grounded theory (Part 1) Week 2
Lecture delivered by Dr Warren Donnellan
Click here for Grounded Theory Lecture PowerPoint slides, Introduction to NNivo Slides and links to NVivo Video Tutorials
Key Reading: Howitt, D. (2010). Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods in Psychology (3rd ed.). Pearson: Harlow.
Chapter 8: Qualitative data analysis: grounded theory development
Walker, D., & Myrick, F. (2006). Grounded theory: an exploration of process and procedure. Qualitative Health Research, 16(4), 547-559.
Edhlund, B. (2019). NVivo 12 essentials: your guide to the world’s most powerful data analysis. Stallarholmen, Sweden: Form & Kunskap AB
A brief recap of grounded theory analysis
Grounded theory is the most widely used way of analysing qualitative data. It is a means of analysis directed towards theory development. Grounded theory is essentially a system of guidelines which guides data analysis and theory generation. The process by which theory is developed is through the careful application of the general principles and methods of grounded theory. The data is coded through structured stages in order to keep the researcher close to the data.
The emerging theory is closely tied to social reality as far as that is represented in the data. The theory may generate hypotheses that can be operationalised to test further in quantitative research.
Stages of the coding process
• Open coding (codes)
• Memo writing
• Axial coding (categories)
• Selective coding (themes)
• Theory formation
• Literature review
N.B. We will be focusing on the first three stages in today’s practical: open coding, memo writing and axial coding. We will focus on selective coding and theory formation in next week’s practical.
A brief recap of NVivo
NVivo 12 is a software application that supports qualitative and mixed methods research. It allows you to organise and analyse content from interviews, focus group discussions, surveys, audio, social media, and web page data.
You will be using it to code interviews in your PSYC230 assessment. It allows you to use a range of qualitative analyses with your data (e.g. grounded theory). With NVIVO you can undertake a deep analysis of your data using powerful search, query, and visualisation tools.
Key terms in NVivo include:
Sources: These are your research materials, including: word documents, PDFs, datasets, audio, video, pictures, memos, and framework matrices (in your case word doc interviews)
Nodes: Containers for your coding. They let you gather related material in one place so that you can look for emerging patterns and ideas
Coding: A code in qualitative research is a word or phrase that summarises or captures the essence of a portion of data. Coding is the analytical process of categorising and reducing data. In NVivo, coding is the process of gathering related material into a container called a Node.
References: All the coded source material is displayed as coding references in the node – i.e. all the quotes (makes selecting quotes really easy!)
What you have done so far in the lifespan seminars:
· Practiced designing a qualitative research question/objective.
· Reviewed a qualitative introduction session.
· Practiced designing an interview schedule and comparing this with the interview schedule used in your assessment.
· Reviewed a qualitative methods section.
· Examined the key characteristics of an interview transcript and how to navigate it effectively.
Learning outcomes for this practical session:
By the end of the practical session students will be able to:
● Conduct open coding and memo writing using NVivo on one of the transcripts (Mrs SJ) you will be using for your PSYC230 coursework.
● Produce a set of clear, substantive axial categories based on the transcript.
● Select appropriate quotes from the transcript to support the axial categories you have produced.
● Submit a list of axial categories online in preparation for the next practical session.
N.B. The PSYC230 coursework requires you to analyse ALL FOUR transcripts. The following exercises are based on only one transcript to get you accustomed to grounded theory analysis.
What are the Research Objectives for the PSYC230 coursework?
To explore the psychosocial effects of cardiac arrest (CA) without chronic heart disease on family members of the CA survivor.
To discover how family members experience the initial CA through the transition of care to hospital and home settings.
OPEN CODING AND MEMO WRITING
At the end of PSYC230 seminar 2, you read Mrs SJ in its entirety to develop first impressions of the transcript. The next step is to conduct open coding and memo writing.
Open coding involves naming most lines of the transcript by highlighting text and creating child nodes in NVivo.
Tips before you start coding:
■ Turn on highlight all coding so you can more easily see what you have assigned to nodes when you start
■ Most lines of the data should be coded – print off your research questions and only code data that is relevant to these questions!
■ Each code should be a few words (max 3). It is good to use words which the respondent uses.
■ There is also no need to code the demographic characteristics at the start of the interview –you will use this info to create a participant demographics table in the method
How to create an open code in Nvivo (child node):
1. Double click on your source (transcript) and it will open it up on the right hand workspace
2. Highlight the desired text (highlight all the text that is relevant as it helps with selecting quotes later), right click and select ‘code’ to create a new open code (child node)
3. You can also code desired text to existing open codes (child nodes) using drag and drop to the relevant node
How to create a memo in Nvivo:
1. In Navigation View, under Sources, click the Memos folder.
2. On the Create tab, in the Sources group, click Memo.
3. The New Memo dialog box opens.
4. Enter a name for the memo.
5. Click OK. The memo is opened in edit mode and you can enter the content.
6. TIP: Start as soon as you have interesting ideas
This activity should take 25 minutes.
Conduct open coding and memo writing on Mrs SJ in Nvivo (dataset on Canvas)
Once you have completed open coding and memo writing you are ready to begin axial coding. This involves creating conceptual categories from your open codes by clustering frequent, similar codes into a single category. Here is an example from a different research project:
Open codes: Staying positive; Humour; Funny; Positive outlook; Happy, etc.
Axial category 1: Staying upbeat.
Open codes: Experience; Expertise; Knowledge; Information resource, etc.
Axial category 2: Acquisition of knowledge
How to axial code in NVivo
1. Right click on the Node tab on the left panel.
2. Click New Node from the create tab and give the axial category a name
3. When you have created your axial category, you can then create a hierarchy of nodes (this is what turns it into a parent node)
4. For example, you may have the following open code (child) nodes relating to mentoring and want to create an axial category with mentoring as a higher-level concept.
5. To do this, select the negative and positive experiences nodes and drag and drop them over the mentoring node. This action makes the moved nodes Child nodes and mentoring the Parent node.
6. You can open the parent node up using the + icon next to the code to see what child nodes are underneath or close it back down with the – to make it neater to look at!
This activity should take 20 minutes to complete.
Conduct axial coding on Mrs SJ in Nvivo. You should aim to generate 5 – 6 categories from the open codes.
Tips: Choose axial categories that reflect the open codes most accurately. Revisit your memos to help with this. Look out for relationships between codes. Only move on to the next transcript when you have completed open coding, memo writing and axial coding.
Always keep your research objectives in mind as you work your way through the transcript.
a. List your axial categories for Mrs SJ in the box below.
Now that you have completed open coding, memo writing, axial coding and quote selection for Mrs SJ, please also do this for Mrs SR. NOTE FOR DEMONSTRATORS: IF THEY FINISH MRS SJ ADVISE THEM TO CONTINUE ON MRS SR WITH YOUR GUIDANCE
Bring your Nvivo analysis with open coding and axial categories complete for Mrs SJ AND Mrs SR to next week’s PSYC235 practical 3.
It is essential that you complete this online task and have your axial categories for both Mrs SJ and Mrs SR in NVivo for next week’s practical class, as you will be selective coding and generating a theory
Remember the PSYC230 coursework requires you to analyse ALL FOUR transcripts. These exercises are based on only one transcript to get you accustomed to grounded theory analysis. Codes, categories and themes may change by the time you have analysed all four transcripts.