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MGMT 8101, Theory Building & Research Design Notes by Prof. Andy Van de Ven
Plan for Class • Case studies for grounded problem & theory building • Discussion of Yin and supplementary readings • Review student problem statements on web page • Solving problems with problem statements Key Point: Problem Formulation is a grounded theory building process
© Andrew H. Van de Ven, Carlson School, U. of Minnesota, MGMT8101 Theory Building & Research Design PhD Seminar, Spring 2006
Grounded Theory (GT) Building
• … Not a specific method, but a style of doing qualitative analysis that includes some distinct features, such as theoretical sampling, use of constant comparisons, and coding schemes undertaken to explain complex phenomena (Strauss, 1987). • Basic question: How capture & explain the complexity of reality (phenomena) we study? – Observe reality to appreciate its complexity – Guide data collection & analysis by successive evolving interpretations. – Develop a conceptually rich theory that avoids simplistic & thin renderings of phenomena in the literature.
Sources: Glaser, B. & Strauss, A. 1967. The Discovery of Grounded Theory. Chicago: Aldine. Strauss, A. L., 1987. Qualitative Analysis for Social Scientists. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.
Deduction. 1955). Clayton M. deduction & verification – “Few make the mistake of believing these stood in a simple sequential relationship… Many mistakenly refer to grounded theory as “inductive theory” … All three aspects of inquiry are absolutely essential (Strauss. then elaborated & then checked out. • Abduction: inferring a theory/hypothesis to explain observed patterns that go beyond the specific case (Peirce. Induction & Abduction • All scientific theories must be conceived. Sundahl (2001) 2 . Christensen and David M. 1987: 11-12). • GT calls this induction.
Case study research Supplementary sources: Barley (1990). (2003). especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident (Yin. how much data Grounded Theory Building Stands on Its Own Merits Rule # 7: GTB should not be confused with exploratory or pre-testing studies Rules # 8: “Validity” and “reliability” depend on coherence. Rules # 2: Look for social action that underlies manifest structures The Researcher Must Interact Deeply With the Data Rules # 3: Data must reflect. R. K. • Includes single & multiple cases. • Ideal for problem formulation and grounded theory building. plausibility and usefulness Deborah Daugherty. Dougerty (2001).Daugherty’s Principles & Rules for GTB Principles GTB Should Capture the Inherent Complexity of Social Life Rules of Thumb for Applying Principle to Research Practice Rule #1: Explore unique characteristics of a phenomenon. • Relies on quantitative & qualitative data using multiple sources. Strauss (1987). Eisenhardt (1989). convey social action. 2003: 13). 3 . in Baum (ed) Companion to Organizations. Grounded theory building research: Some principles and practices. 2001 Case Study for Theory/Problem Formulation • Case study is an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context. • • Principle source: Yin. consistency. Rule # 6: The analysis process determines what data to get. • Relies on analytical generalization to theories – not recommended for statistical generalization to population • Geared to “how” and “why” questions. relies on comparative method. Tsoukas (1989). meaning Rule # 4: Subjectivity Cannot be eliminated Grounded Theory Intertwines Research Tasks: Each Is Done In Terms of Others Rule # 5: Ground problem statement in the phenomenon. Miles & Huberman (1994).
3rd ed. 3rd ed. R. p. 2003: 113) Yin. (2003). 4 . case studies should be used to generalize to plausible alternative theories. Kinds of Plausible Alternative Rival Explanations The more rivals that your analysis (diagnosis) addresses and rejects. R. Case study research: Design and methods. K. Thousand Oaks: Sage. 113. Thousand Oaks: Sage. K. the more confidence you can place in your findings (Yin. Yin. Case study research: Design and methods. (2003).Case Study as a Research Strategy Statistical Generalization – Making inferences to population based on sample data as done in sampling units in survey research (level 1) Analytical Generalization – Making inferences to a theory or rival theory (level 2) Like experiments.
Building Theories from Case Study Research. use multiple data collection methods Overlap data collection and analysis to sharpen concepts -. 14. focus. start with journalist’s questions Use theoretical/analytical. search for “why?” and “how?” Use abductive logic to develop alternative conjectures Theoretical saturation on research question Go beyond the information given (Bruner) Adapted from Kathleen Eisenhardt.Eisenhardt: Building Theory from Case Study Step Getting Started Selecting Cases Instruments Entering field Analyzing data Activity Situate problem/phenomenon: perspective.If foggy at first. Cross-case for patterns Enfolding literature Compare similar and conflicting literature Shaping hypotheses Reaching Closure Iterate above three steps. level. 6 . 533. AMR. 4 (1989). scope Define research question. they will defog with field work Within-case for up-close particulars. p. not statistical population sampling Triangulate.
survey. (2003). R.Yin. K. 3. (2003) p.. R.g. 100 7 . case. 86 Triangulation: Multiple sources aimed at corroborating the same fact or phenomenon Multi-method: Multiple sources each aimed at a different fact or phenomenon. experiment) Yin. 4. 3rd ed. 2. Types of Triangulation 1. Thousand Oaks: Sage. Of data sources (shown above) Of different investigators on same research question Of perspectives on the same data set (theory triangulation) Of methods on same perspective (e. p. Case study research: Design and methods. K.
patterns. sentences. M. propositions • Useful Source: – Miles. K. & transforming “raw” data (words. R. – You know what you display. Criteria for Judging the Quality of Research Design Yin. (1994) Qualitative Data Analysis: An expanded sourcebook.Iterative Activities in Case Data Analysis • Data Reduction – selecting. configurations. field notes. CA: Sage. p.B. – Classifying data into concepts “that carve at the joints” (Plato) • Data Display – an organized assembly of information that permits conclusion drawing and action. 3rd ed. abstracting. causal flows. A. Case study research: Design and methods. Thousand Oaks: Sage. 8 .M. (2003). Thousand Oaks. & Huberman. 34. • Conclusion drawing/inferences – identifying relations among concepts – Regularities. records) into meaningful units of observation.
focus. • permits more than one plausible answer. The problem/phenomenon is clearly situated • In terms of perspective. focus. 9 . where. The problem is clearly diagnosed • data elements are defined and classified into key categories or concepts • patterns or relationships among categories are analyzed and aggregated • A heuristic inference (a claim with reasons) is made for the problem • The problem is refined to fit the particular case 4. level & scope) Grounding Problem (up close & from afar) Diagnosing Problem (Heuristic matching of data & theory) Resolving Problem (research question) Activities and their relations over time Mgmt 8101 Research Problem Formulation Report Evaluation Form Revised Version Criteria for evaluating the problem formulation report: 1. what.Problem Formulation is a GTB Process Situating Problem (perspective. The problem/phenomenon is clearly grounded in reality • It states who. experience or observations • in general (from afar) with data on prevalence and context of problem 3. level. when. The research question: • is stated in analytical and researchable terms. why & how the problem exists • in particular (up close) with example. and scope 2.
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