The Good Research Guide for Small-Scale Social Research Projects

The Good Research Guide for Small-Scale Social Research Projects

The Good Research Guide for Small-Scale Social Research Projects

The Good Research Guide for Small-Scale Social Research Projects

Synopsis

The Good Research Guide has been a bestselling introduction to the basics of social research since it was first published in 1998. This new second edition of the book offers the same clear guidance on how to conduct successful small-scale research projects and adds even more value by including new sections on internet research, phenomenology, grounded theory and image-based methods. The book provides:a clear summary of the relevant strategies, methods and approachesto data analysisa jargon-free coverage of the key issuesan attractive layout and user-friendly presentationchecklists to guide good practice. Practical and comprehensive, The Good Research Guide is an invaluable tool for students of education, health studies, business studies and other social sciences, who need to conduct small-scale research projects as part of undergraduate, postgraduate or professional studies.

Excerpt

The 'grounded theory' approach has become a popular choice of methodology among social researchers in recent times. in particular, it has been adopted by those engaged in small-scale projects using qualitative data for the study of human interaction, and by those whose research is exploratory and focused on particular settings. 'Grounded theory' is cited frequently in such research – not least because it has come to provide a well recognized, authoritative rationale for the adoption of an approach that does not necessarily involve statistical analysis, quantitative data or the quest for representative samples.

The approach originated with the work of Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss and, in particular, their book The Discovery of Grounded Theory, which was published in 1967. Since that time, the notion of grounded theory has come to mean slightly different things to different people. There has been a tendency for researchers to 'adopt and adapt' grounded theory and to use it selectively for their own purposes. As Glaser (1995) himself acknowledges, there is an almost inevitable process where the original idea gets transformed through the way that people interpret it, the way they apply it, the way they selectively use bits of it alongside other methods and the way they might try to develop the idea further. in some quarters, the extent of the differences that have emerged over time has caused researchers to talk in terms of alternative versions of grounded theory (Locke 2001; Goulding 2002). Sometimes, researchers are even expected to specify which variant of grounded theory they have used. Even the two originators of grounded theory have moved in slightly different directions over the years since their original work.

There are, though, certain basic ideas associated with the grounded theory approach that remain fairly constant, and these are outlined in this chapter. They draw principally on the writings of Glaser and Strauss themselves and the main focus is on those components of the grounded theory approach that mark it out as distinctive and constitute its core components as an approach to social research.

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