Grounded Theory Method (GTM) is a qualitative research methodology developed by sociologists Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss in the 1960s. It’s aimed at generating theory from data, particularly in fields where existing theories might be lacking or insufficient. Here’s a breakdown of its key components:

  1. Data Collection: Researchers gather data through various means such as interviews, observations, or documents. The data collection is often iterative, with new data informing subsequent collection efforts.
  2. Constant Comparison: This is the core process of GTM. Researchers continuously compare data to data and data to emerging concepts or categories. Through this process, they seek patterns, relationships, and variations in the data.
  3. Theoretical Sampling: Unlike traditional sampling methods where participants are chosen based on predetermined criteria, GTM employs theoretical sampling. This means selecting participants or data sources based on their potential to provide insights into emerging theories or concepts.
  4. Coding: Researchers systematically analyze the data by assigning labels or codes to segments of text or other data. These codes are used to identify similarities, differences, and relationships within the data.
  5. Memoing: Researchers keep detailed records of their thoughts, ideas, and interpretations throughout the research process. These memos help in documenting the evolution of ideas and theories and aid in the analysis process.
  6. Theoretical Saturation: The data collection continues until theoretical saturation is reached, meaning that no new information or insights are emerging from the data.
  7. Theory Development: Through constant comparison, coding, and memoing, researchers develop theories or conceptual frameworks that are grounded in the data. These theories are not imposed from existing literature but emerge from the data itself.

GTM is flexible and adaptable, allowing researchers to delve deeply into a topic and generate rich, contextually relevant theories. It’s widely used in sociology, anthropology, psychology, and other social sciences, but its principles can also be applied in other fields where qualitative research is appropriate.