A strategy for delayed research method selection : deciding between grounded theory and phenomenology

Reiter, Sebastian, Stewart, Glenn, & Bruce, Christine S. (2011) A strategy for delayed research method selection : deciding between grounded theory and phenomenology. Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 9(1), pp. 35-46.

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This paper presents a strategy for delayed research method selection in a qualitative interpretivist research. An exemplary case details how explorative interviews were designed and conducted in accordance with a paradigm prior to deciding whether to adopt grounded theory or phenomenology for data analysis. The focus here is to determine the most appropriate research strategy in this case the methodological framing to conduct research and represent findings, both of which are detailed. Research addressing current management issues requires both a flexible framework and the capability to consider the research problem from various angles, to derive tangible results for academia with immediate application to business demands. Researchers, and in particular novices, often struggle to decide on an appropriate research method suitable to address their research problem. This often applies to interpretative qualitative research where it is not always immediately clear which is the most appropriate method to use, as the research objectives shift and crystallize over time. This paper uses an exemplary case to reveal how the strategy for delayed research method selection contributes to deciding whether to adopt grounded theory or phenomenology in the initial phase of a PhD research project. In this case, semi-structured interviews were used for data generation framed in an interpretivist approach, situated in a business context. Research questions for this study were thoroughly defined and carefully framed in accordance with the research paradigm‟s principles, while at the same time ensuring that the requirements of both potential research methods were met. The grounded theory and phenomenology methods were compared and contrasted to determine their suitability and whether they meet the research objectives based on a pilot study. The strategy proposed in this paper is an alternative to the more „traditional‟ approach, which initially selects the methodological formulation, followed by data generation. In conclusion, the suggested strategy for delayed research method selection intends to help researchers identify and apply the most appropriate method to their research. This strategy is based on explorations of data generation and analysis in order to derive faithful results from the data generated.

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ID Code: 48527
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: research method selection, qualitative research, grounded theory, phenomenology, HERN
ISSN: 1477-7029
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Information Systems
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Academic Conferences Ltd
Deposited On: 09 Feb 2012 22:24
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2012 23:13

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