A Special Issue in Honor of Anselm Strauss

Qualitative Family Research

A Newsletter of the Qualitative Family Research Network Research and Theory Section, National Council on Family Relations

Volume 11, Numbers 1 & 2

November 1997

Network Announces the Anselm Strauss Award for Qualitative Family Research

The Qualitative Family Research Network announces the Anselm Strauss Award for Qualitative Family Research, established to recognize an outstanding piece of qualitative family research. Named in honor of Strauss whose work

has influenced many contemporary researchers, the award will given for the firsr time in November 1998.

Strauss's Work a Beacon for Qualitative Family Researchers

The work of Anselm Strauss and his colleagues has been a beacon for qualitative family researchers. Strauss provided vital information on method when little was available. In addition, he was a contemporary scholar who maintained and developed the traditions of the Chicago School of Sociology that emphasized induction, understanding social processes, and the meanings social processes have to participants.

This special issue of Qualitative Family Research, In Honor of Anselm Strauss, gives a sense of the meanings Strauss has for qualitative family researchers and others who do qualitative research.

Anselm Strauss Award continued on Page 4

In This Issue


Being There: Leonard Schatzman on Anselm Strauss

Interviewed by Kit Chesla ......,......,............... 3

Remembering Anselm by Juliet Corbin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 5 My Dinner With Anselm by Kerry Daly ................•.....••. 9 Coffee with Anselm by Norman K. Dentin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16


Network Announces the Anselm Strauss Award . .. 1

About This Special Issue . . . . . . . . . . • . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 2 Being There: Leonard Schatzman on Anselm Strauss

Interviewed by Kit Chesla 3

Remembering Anselm by Juliet Corbin 7

My Dinner With Anselm by Kerry Daly ........................9

Call for Papers 10

Back to the Future: The Legacy of a Scholar and a Gentleman

by Denise Burnette . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . • . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Diagramming Anselm Strauss by David Langford 13

An Anecdote About Anselm Strauss by Gerald Handel 15

Coffee With Anselm by Norman K. Denzin ....................•. 16 Remembering Anselm Strauss by Janice Winchester Nadeau .....•..... 19 Grounded Theory and the Construct of Boundary Ambiguity

by Deborah Lewis Fravel ......•.........•........... 21 A Grounded Theory Inquiry Into the Social Construction

of Fatherhood by Carl Auerbach & Louise B. Silverstein 24

"Do not foreclose on the data!": Memories of Anselm Strauss

by Ellen Olshansky . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . • . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Saying Goodbye to Anselm by Jane F. Gilgun ........•........... 29

About This Special Issue

This tribute to Anselm Strauss is the first in a series of special issues of Qualitative Family Research, a newsletter of the Research and Theory Section, National Council on Family Relations. Jane Gilgun edited this issue. Comments can be directed to her at School of Social Work, University of Minnesota, 224 Church Street, SE, Minneapolis MN 55455. Phone: 612/624-0082; Fax: 612/626- 0395; email: gilguOOl@maroon.tc.umn.edu.

The next special issue will be on the relationship between qualitative research and theory and will be edited by Kerry Daly, Department of Family Studies, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2Wl. Articles 3-5 pages in length are welcome. Manuscripts are due on March 15, 1998. Further information is on page 10. For queries, contact Kerry at email: kdaly@uoguelph.ca; Phone: 519/824-4120, ext. 3345; Fax: 519/837-1521.

Strauss Memorials

To honor Anselm, the University of California-San Francisco has established the Anselm Strauss Fund. To support the fund, send checks to UCSF Foundation, 44 Montgomery Street, Suite 2200, San Francisco CA 94104.

Qualitative Family Research 11(1/2), page 2

Being There: Lenny Schatzman on Anselm Strauss Interviewed by Kit Chesla

University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Lenny Schatzman was a colleague of Anselm Strauss in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences (Sociology) in the School of Nursing, University of Califomia--San Francisco from 1960 until Anselm's death in September 1996. I interviewed Lenny in January 1997.

The interview lasted four hours and touched upon his recollections of the development of the department, the development of method, points of divergence in his and 'Strauss' work, and his relationship with Anselm. Here are two stories from that interview. I believe they capture the spirit of the relationship and the collegial discussions in which the two men engaged over the years.

A 50-Year Relationship

The relationship began when Schatzman went to Indiana University after WW II where he studied with Strauss and earned his doctorate in sociology. Later, Strauss invited him to come to the University of Chicago and become part of a team to study psychiatry, a study that yielded the book Psychiatric Ideologies and Institutions. When the study was completed, Helen Nahm, then Dean of the School of Nursing at UCSF, invited Strauss to join the faculty and help establish a research training program. He agreed and negotiated positions for a critical mass of sociologists to begin the effort.

The group included Lenny Schatzman, Fred Davis, Virginia Olesen, and subsequently Egon Bittner and Barney Glaser. The effort was formalized as a doctoral program in medical sociology in the late 1960's. Concurrently a doctorate in Nursing Science was established using the joint credentials of the doctorally prepared nurses and sociologists who were faculty within the School of Nursing. As further context, I have known Lenny Schatzman since 1982, as faculty in my doctoral program and as a colleague teaching in the same school.

Story 1: Writing the Field Research Text

LS: I started the methods course and wrote the field research text, 1973. I was teaching the Research Training Program and don't ask me what I was teaching. It was intuitive. It was like Robert Park teaching the course.

We'd basically have students go out and do field research and then they bring it in and talk to us, and we would talk about it and collectively work out angles and perspectives. We didn't know what we were doing .... When our Psychiatric Ideologies and Institutions book came out"" You ever seen it?

KC: Yes.

LS: Anselm would read it over every few years, look at it and say, "Lenny. We

did fantastic grounded theory." I'd say, "Anselm, there was no grounded theory when we were there. We didn't know what we were doing. Now stop that!" He kept saying to me, two years later, "God! That was good grounded theory! And I said, "No, we didn't do grounded theory." All right. Now, let's get to where we go. I'm teaching field research. Intuitively •• do it this way. We're looking at a student's

Schatzman on Strauss Continued on Page 5

Qualitative Family Research 11(1/2), page 3

Anselm Strauss Award Continued from page 1

. Journal articles and book chapters published in the previous calendar year are eligible. The 1998 award will go to the first author of a work published in 1997. The focus must be on qualitative family research, and the work can be data-based, and/or methodological or theoretical in purpose. The full range of types of qualitative research are welcome. No one type will have an advantage over others.

Nominations are welcome from now until April 1, 1998. Nominations by others and self-nominations are encouraged. Submissions must be accompanied by a letter outlining the reasons for nomination. Six copies of the piece and of the letter are to be sent to Elizabeth Church, Coordinator of the Award Committee, whose address is below. The award will be presented at the 1998 Conference of the National Council on Family Relations.

Assessment Guidelines

4t Each submission will be appraised in terms of what it purports to be; that is, if a piece states that is a phenomological study, it will be evaluated as such and will not be faulted for not having developed a theory. A piece purported to be based on grounded theory must have a theory as its product.

4- "Grab" is an important consideration. Is the material interesting?

Compelling? Does it engage its audience? If the piece is intended to influence public policy, does the presentation of the material move audiences to believe that indeed this is an important policy issue?

4t Informants' points of view are to be wen represented, with author(s) taking ownership of their own views and opinions. Thus, reflexive comments could well be appropriate.

4t Descriptions of data collection and analysis procedures are to be represented in sufficient detail so that readers can understand how researchers carried out these tasks and how they selected excerpts for presentation.

4- Clarity of writing, organization of the entire piece, general statements supported by data, and originality are also important.

The Award Committee recognizes that the inclusion of book chapters in awards for research is unusual. The committee wants to create opportunities for recognition for qualitative family researchers within the venues in which they publish, and much exemplary qualitative family research appears in book chapters.

Send your nominations to

Elizabeth Church, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Counselling Centre Memorial University, St. John's

NF, Canada Al C 5S7

Tel: 709·737-8874

Fax: 709-737-3011

Email: echurch@morgan.ucs.mun.ca

Qualitative Family Research 11(112), page 4

Schatzman on Strauss Continued from Page 3

observations or interviews,and I'm saying. ~OK. Now, it seems to me that if you think from this angle, then something like this emerges," and the students would say, "Hey! That's terrific. I didn't know what I would do!" Then we'd talk some more and a student would say, "No. I think if you take it from this angle than this. ~ Then we would have discussions and arguments. And what we were doing is a kind of development of theory on an intuitive level. We were taking perspectives.

Teaching Field Research

Well, I learned how to teach field research-a little of Robert Park-and then a lot of Lenny Schatzman and some Strauss were part of me now. And that chapter on methodology, in the book on psychiatric ideologies, is crap, was just made up out of whole cloth, just imagination. We didn't know what we were talking about. There was no method. We were using a method but we couldn't--

KC: Articulate.

LS: Articulate. We didn't know what the hell we were doing. We're bright

people. We did some great stuff there. At any rate, a publisher from one of the-Prentice-Hall-came in doing his little circuit scene .... He comes into me and he says, "What are you doing?" I said, "Well. I teach this research training program for psychiatric nurses. II

"Did you ever think of writing a book?"

He says. "Did you ever think of writing a book on it? I said, "All! Nahl" You know? Mumbling! I had to mumble because I didn't know what I was doing, but I was worrying about it all the time.

KC: You were worrying about it?

LS: Worrying about what do I do. How is it that when 1 stand in front of a

class and I am talking, and ideas and models are coming into my mind. Where do they come from? Anyway, Anselm walks into the room at that time, fortuitously, and he says to the publisher, "Tell him to write a book." The publisher says, "Yeah! Write a book!" So I said, "I don't want to write a book because I'm not sure what I do!" Anselm says, "Lenny, you're the only one to write the book. "

Because there was no book on field research! There were books on gathering data and books on how to organize data and then whatever! There were other books like-uh- You know what there was? There was Margaret Mead and various people like that. Who wrote The Patterns of Culture? Karen Homey! That's all we had! These people were brilliant weaving wonderful theories, but, if you asked them, "How did you get this theory," they couldn't tell youl. ..

That's what it was. Nobody knew what they were doing, and you were weaving wonderful ideas. Who knows whether they were valid or not. There was no way of testing them! There were chapters on methodology, sociological works, like Street Corner Society. There's a little section on methodology. You go out on the street. You meet the boys. They tell ya' stories and-you remember? Schatzman on Strauss Contmued on Page 6

Qualitative Family Research 11(112), page 5

Schatzman on Strauss Continued from Page 5

KC: Umhm.

LS: And that's the method! You understand?

KC: Umhm.

LS: So this guy says to me, "Write a book on method!" I sald-J'm mumbling,

because I don't know what I'm doing. Come study with me for two years-

(Earlier in the interview Lenny had said that in the early days he couldn't describe how he taught research methods. He could only say to a student, "Come study with me for two years and then you will know how to do it. It Students would study with him for a few years, and then they would say "Ah, 1 see ... ")

LS: So that's what happened. Anselm says, "I'll write it with you." Now I said, "Well, okay, if you'll write it with me. It He said, "OK. That's a deal." .

It was a lie. He had no intention-he hooked me. Well, then we sort of had a verbal agreement when the publisher left. And then Anselm said, "I'm going to Europe for a sabbatical for a year. You write the first draft. It We met one evening, sat down, and wrote out chapter headings and maybe a few sentences about what's going to go into each chapter, you know, my field work text: watching, listening, recording. No one had ever written that stuff. Anselm says, "That's good! That's good! There's no book like this."

I'll Write the First Draft

I said, "All right. I'll write it, and I'll have the draft when you come back. It He said, "OK." This is the critical part of story as far as me and Anselm and the methodology is concerned. He left. He goes to Europe. We had an agreement about what it would look like. I can't write this thing. I'm going crazy. I'd rather go and see a shrink. So, finally I hit on the idea that oh, what the hell, I teach. I'm not going to talk to the whole world. I'm going to talk to students I know .... I'm going to talk to them, and I'm going to answer their questions. So I wrote this book.

When it got to the chapter on analysis, it fell apart! But I cobbled something together that sounded all right. It was a little bit like the chapter on psychiatric ideologies. It was a fake. These were suggestions on how you might think! And then I (claps handsj -book's finished. I was disgusted with the analysis chapter. Anselm comes back and he says, "How'd you do?" I said, "Well, I don't like the analysis chapter." In the meantime Glaser and Strauss had written their Discovery of Grounded Theory, and some other work, already.

"Publish it the way it is"

So-he takes my draft, and he takes it home. About two weeks later, he

• emerges. I say, "What did you think?" He says, "It's very good, Lenny. Publish it the way it is." I said, "Nab! Ans! That wasn't our agreement." I said, "You know, you're just making me feel good. The book is not bad. I don't think I did a bad job, but the chapter on analysis is awful, and you've got to help me. You've got to help us. 1 meanyou're the co-author!"

Schatzman on Strauss Continued on Page 28

Qualitative Family Research 11(112), page 6

Remembering Anselm By Juliet Corbin

San Jose State University

What made Anselm so productive and creative at time in life when most persons are thinking about retiring? This is a question that I've always pondered and have had a lot of time to think about since his death. I worked closely with Anselm for 15 years and even after that length of time I was astonished at how fresh some his ideas were and how he was always thinking about new projects.

Though I was considerably younger. I found it hard to keep up with him.

He could write faster than anyone I knew and when he was hot with ideas there was no stopping him. It's not that he was a machine. There were times when he was overcome with fatigue or when his illness slowed him down. Then he would take it easy and read, talk, or listen to music. In exploring his creativity. I must talk about myself because my thoughts about him are so wrapped up in our work together. I hope that readers will forgive me for intruding into what is really a story about Anselm.

Anselm at Work

Our work times consisted of sitting in cafes drinking latte or cappuchino and eating cookies. Anselm would be stimulated by ideas. The ideas may have come from something he read, a conversation that he had with a colleague, an insight that I had, or an observation that I made in one of my clinical settings. We would bounce the ideas back and forth, one of us jotting down the "priceless pearls" later to be put into memos.

Since his mind was always working, once stimulated by an idea he could expand upon it, drawing upon his vast stores of knowledge and experience. Anselm needed that stimulation from others, but once he got going, he could literally spin gold out of straw.

Working Conditions: Golden Gate Park and Music

When we had enough coffee, we would leave the cafe and head for Golden Gate Park or the Marina, where we would walk, if the weather was nice. If not, we sat in the car, with a background of Beethoven, Schubert, Mozart and occasionally Chopin. And we worked, because Anselm never wasted a minute. Time was too precious, at least during the years that I knew him.

The sun, the view, provided an aesthetic backdrop for his continued immersion and fascination with ideas. Eventually he would tire, and no matter what

I would say the conversation went nowhere. When his thinking slowed down, we would drop by one of the museums to enjoy the serenity but also to renew. The creativity of others brought out the creativity in Anselm. I think this was because of his ability to think comparatively, something that was part of his daily life not only his research. Analyzing a piece of art in terms of its properties and dimensions would inspire new ways of thinking about his own work. Let me give an example.

Remembering Anselm Continued on Page 8

Qualitative Family Research 11(112), page 7

Remembering Ansehn Continued from Page 7

While working on our book on body, we would visit the museums, especially the Asian Art museum with its lovely wooden Buddha, to examine how the body had been portrayed across time and across cultures. Thinking comparatively in that way.helped us to bring out the salient properties of body today and in our culture enriching our book (yet to be published).

Visiting a Sculptor

Along this same line, one of my favorite activities with Anselm, and one we didn't do often enough from my perspective, was to visit his friend, the sculptor, at his studio to watch him work. This too would refresh Anselm and give him new creative insights. But what I liked best were the times when the two men talked about the creative process. Though their medium was different, what came out was that inspiration can be found anywhere anytime, one just has to be alert and sensitive to it. And Anselm embraced life, which made him ready to receive and then to give back.

Love of the Arts

Anselm loved literature, music, and art. They were integral to his life.

But he was also open to all kinds of experiences, which he then stored in his mind like a bank, then drew upon when thinking comparatively about data. A very special memory for me pertains to Anselm taking the train from San Francisco down the Peninsula to visit me. Even today, as I go about my chores in town, I can't help but become nostalgic when I hear the train whistle blowing. Anselm came south to get away from the fog in the summer, to give me a break from driving in the City, but mostly because he wanted to experience suburbia, notably Silicon Valley and family life.

I used to meet him at the train station, where he would be waiting patiently (for I was usually late) with his little black beret, tan jacket, and his black book bag. He always had that little piece of paper in his hand and was working. His home life was quiet compared to mine, with its teenage children and animals running in and out.

Immersion in the Lives of Others

He wanted to talk with my daughter and her friends about school life, drugs, their boyfriends, unsafe and safe sex, and all the other issues that were of concern to them. He wanted to hear their perspectives on life and how they perceived the pressing issues of the time. He also relished in sitting in the outdoor cafes soaking up the sun, comparing the people, ambiance, culture with that of the City. His intense curiosity fed into his storehouse of ideas, which he then drew upon in his writing.


I believe that what I learned about creativity from Anselm is that a person has to take in before s/he can give back, that is, one must be open to all facets of life for it provides the storehouse of ideas and experience to draw from. Everything in life is data. But even more important, it is the ability to think comparatively that

Remembering Anselm Continued on Page 10

Qualitative Family Research 11(1/2), page!

My Dinner with Anselm By Kerry Daly

University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario

Anselm was much smaller than I had expected. It matters not how tall he actually was-what was significant was how small he was in relation to my fantasized perception of him. That perception was one of enormous proportions that could never be realized in a physical way. Anselm was my primary intellectual gum. Not only did his methodological ideas about grounded theory serve as the bedrock for most of my empirical work, his theoretical ideas about identity, status passage, awareness contexts and transformation of identity were central to my understandings of social action.

The setting was the NCFR conference in Orlando, Florida in 1992. Before I went, my wife commented that she had rarely seen me this excited before. For me this was more than a conference, it was a pilgrimage. I was not disappointed.

Attentive, Interested, Fully Available

After I met Anselm, what stood out the most was his quiet, unassuming nature.

In my fantasy, I expected to feel distance and reverence. In reality, I experienced a person who was attentive, interested, and fully available. He made it easy to feel comfortable in his presence. Although I enjoyed listening to his ideas in the formal presentations that he gave at the conference, what stands out in my mind was the dinner at the Italian restaurant on one of the evenings.

Although this was one of those large group conference meals, I had the privilege of sitting next to him. I remember little of what we actually said to each other. However, I remember very sharply the images of him asking questions about my work and leaning towards me to listen. What is striking, is how he listened so carefully-- especially at a time when I expected to be listening to him. In retrospect, this was not surprising. This was a man who knew how to listen. He had built his entire career on being attentive to the subtle dynamics of our everyday lives.

Flattered that He Cared

After the conference, he sent me several letters. One was to send me a note complimenting me on a paper that came out in Qualitative Sociology on adoptive parenthood that he liked-with a small bone to pick on an interpretation of one of his ideas concerning transformation of identity. I was flattered that he cared. Another was to send me a copy of Mirrors and Masks. I had mentioned to him at the conference how influential the book was to me and how difficult it was to find a copy. He remembered and sent me one that he had sitting in his office. It was an extraordinary gift

Although I did not know Anselm for long, I shall miss him for a long time to come.

Kerry Daly is Associate Professor, Department of Family Studies, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario CANADA.

Qualitative Family Research 11(112), page 9

--- Call for Papers --Special Issue on the Relationship Between Qualitative Research and Theory

Theory is like a missing person in many reports of qualitative research: It has a vague psychological presence in the literature, but a physical absence. In the same way that people experience a sense of ambiguous loss when a person close to them goes missing, I would suggest that qualitative researchers are increasingly experiencing ambiguous loss in relation to theory. Where has theory gone? What is theory in relation to paradigm shifts from positivism to critical, constructionist and post -modern ways of knowing?

A special issue of the Qualitative Family Research will be devoted to a discussion of the role of theory in current qualitative work. Articles that are 3-5 pages in length are welcome on any aspect of this issue. For example. what is theory? How do you use theory? Is theory relevant? Do you generate theory? Are substantive and formal theory still useful ways to think about theory? How do we determine what is a good theory? Authors are encouraged to give examples from their own work.

Deadline for submissions is March 15, 1998. Address queries and submission of articles to

Kerry J. Daly Ph.D. Department of Family Studies University of Guelph

Guelph, Ontario NIG 2Wl CANADA

Phone: (519) 824-4120, ext. 3345; Fax (519) 766-0691 e-mail kdaly@uoguelph.ca

Remembering Anselm Continued from Page 8

enables a person to view experience and ideas from a fresh perspective and to use them to mold new forms of thinking.

Anselm was an artist as much as those he so admired. It's just that he constructed beautiful books and papers instead of sculpture Or music. I miss my adventures with Anselm, because working with him was an adventure. However. I console myself with the lessons that he taught all of us. Whenever I am lonely. I pick up one of his books. I see his active mind working on every page and I feel renewed.

Works in Progress Co-Authored with Anselm Strauss

Corbin, Juliet, & Anselm Strauss (in progress). The articulation of work in hospitals.

Strauss, Anselm & Juliet M. Corbin, J. (in progress). Achille's arm, Achille's heel (e.g.; The body book.)

Strauss. Anselm & Juliet M. Corbin (forthcoming). Basics of qualitative research (2nd Ed.). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Juliet M. Corbin, R.N., D.N.Sc., F.N.P., is Lecturer, School of Nursing,

San Jose State University, San Jose, CA. I

Qualitative Family Research 11(1/2), page 10 :

Back to the Future:

The Legacy of a Scholar and a Gentleman By Denise Burnette

Columbia University

"So tell me, what are you working on now?" The setting for the question varied-It could have been a classroom at the University of California at San Francisco School of Nursing, a sunny (or foggy) bench in Golden Gate Park, or the warm, comfortable evening circle of student colleagues in Anselm's home. But the message was consistent: think ... talk ... watch ... read ... think ... a cycle of formulation and reformulation of thoughts and ideas. As a doctoral student in Social Welfare at U . C. Berkeley, I was initially disarmed by Professor Strauss's gentle, engaging question in the qualitative research seminar. It suggested a discourse of possibility that seemed at odds with that of statistical probability across the Bay.

The interactional, processual character of the seminar, which flowed on from quarter to quarter, also seemed unconventional. Preparing for class required a careful, critical consideration of my own ongoing work and that of fellow students. It also meant learning how to situate the issue at hand simultaneously in the context of broader social structural conditions and in the intimate, circumscribed world of personal experience.

Seeking to Structure and Understand My Experience

I had corne to doctoral studies in 1986 after working for seven years as a social worker on multidisciplinary gerontology and oncology teams. Like many professionals who pursue more advanced education, I was seeking an intellectual edifice for my experience--a framework with which to structure and understand it. I had closely observed the patterned nature of actions and interactions of people diagnosed with cancer, and I wanted to know more about the factors that

shape and color these patterns.

Why do people use different coping strategies across the life span, and to what end? How does the illness affect other family members, especially primary caregivers? I was also very curious about the temporal features of cancer,

particularly how the inherently stage-related nature of the disease relates to the experiential phases of the illness. Awareness oj Dying (with Barney Glaser) was enormously influential on my thinking and my work with patients during these years.

A Socratic Style

As a novice in the academy, I lacked the conceptual framework and vocabulary to articulate these and other questions. However, I quickly realized that I wanted to learn about methods that could facilitate understanding as well as explanation and prediction. Anselm's seminar at UCSF proved to be an exquisite opportunity to with nursing, sociology, and anthropology students in an open, ongoing exchange about these methods and the theories that underpin them. In his pure

... Socratic sty le, Anselm deftly guided these interdisciplinary sessions

subtle suggestion and reflection, modeling the generative value of a carefully well-timed question for us, asteachers-to-be.

Continued on Page 12

Qualitative Family Research 11 (1/2). page 11

Legacy Continued from Page II

I appreciated the enormous breadth of his knowledge and his admission (and hence legitimation) of a full range of types and sources of evidence for building knowledge. For example, I recall a session in which we worked on a student's fieldnotes on the changing concept of "home" in American life. A discussion of Alfred Schutz's essay "The Homecomer" digressed into a minute examination of inner city housing projects, mobile homes in rural America, Bedouin culture, and Maya Angelou's autobiographical account of her experience of Africa in All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes. After this lengthy process of sleuthing for dimensions and their properties--the scaffolding of a grounded theory-our reconstituted concept of "home" had acquired a far more complex, multidimensional meaning.

Personal Biography and Social Science

Although I was well-educated in the "use of self" as a social worker, the notion of intentionally accessing and utilizing personal biography in social science research also came as a revolutionary idea. Using his own professional expertise and personal experience with illness, Anselm was an exemplary role model. Toward the end of my second year in the program, I was still wrestling with a dissertation topic and a data source. In a large public lecture that Spring, Anselm discussed his book Unending Work and Care (co-authored with Juliet Corbin) on the illness trajectories of people with chronic illness and their caregivers. In closing, he mentioned that little was known about how ill people manage when they have no caregiver.

This became the topic of my dissertation--how older people who live alone manage chronic illness in day-to-day life. A year later when I was at a sticking point in the analysis, Anselm responded to my needling questions with, "Well, I could speak for myself." He then so, eloquently. Observing him at work and talking with him periodically about his own health problems in late life led me to further insights in my own data and to a fuller understanding of the interactional nature of meaning construction.

Emulating Anselm's Life-Long Commitment

As a fledgling gerontologist, I wanted to emulate Anselm's (again, so personified) commitment to lifelong engagement in scholarship and learning. At 70, he was working on The Basics of Qualitative Research with Corbin, and seminar members were invited to review chapters and provide feedback and illustrative examples. I was astonished that a scholar of his stature was so genuinely open to and interested in students' ideas. In retrospect, it reminds me of Margaret Mead's assertion in Culture and Commitment that the evolution of culture depends as much on the transmission of innovations from young to old as it does on the passage of traditions from old to young.

In my current roles as a social work educator and gerontologist, I have thought a good deal about the intergenerational transmission of knowledge. The main emphasis in professional education is naturally on content rather than mode, or style, of teaching and learning. Yet it so often seems that influential lineages of ideas and orientations stem as much from mentorship and connection.

Legacy Continued on Page 17

Qualitative Family Research 11(112), page 12;

Diagramming Anselm Strauss By David Langford

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Anselm had the rare ability to combine the roles of master teacher,

scientist, and scholar, but for me Anselm was foremost a teacher. Susan Star (1995) wrote, "to work with Strauss was to enter a vastly more enchanted world, filled with complexity, metaphor, structures-in-motion, and social theory to be discovered" (pp. 15-16). Indeed it was my experience that every conversation with Anselm was an opportunity for discovery in his "enchanted world."

Sitting Forward, Listening Intently

My own image of Anselm at work (a central concept of his scholarship) is vivid. Anselm created a powerful image sitting forward in his chair, resting both arms on the table, intently listening to a student's analysis. His questions and comments were accompanied by hand motions emphasizing his points. On a pad of paper in front of him he would quickly sketch a diagram as a student described his or her analysis. The center of these diagrams often consisted of different arrangements of circles--spirals and overlapping or concentric circles.

There was always movement or direction represented in his organization of the diagram. Not until much later would I realize the significance diagramming had in teaching budding scholars to develop their abilities to think in theoretical terms.

Dig Deeper, Focus on the Hard-to-Explain

Anselm's admonishment to students was to avoid the simplistic, dig deeper, focus on the hard-to-explain. It is through these processes that researchers discover basic social processes. He changed the typical seminar format to an analysis group where each week students presented transcripts and memos from their analysis.

Days of thoughtful analysis were met with questions about the underlying phenomena. He thought as we weeded through our own data. One of the moments that stand out is when Anselm suggested that we could even read the newspaper using the analytic paradigm (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). He produced a newspaper and started reading one of the articles out loud. As he read, he began asking analytic questions and diagramming a process.

Anselm made the analytic paradigm practical (as reading the newspaper) and profound. Diagramming forced us as students to start thinking in terms of relationships and process (theory) and move beyond simply labeling or naming concepts.

"Think about your data"

"Think about your data," was Anselm's mantra in class. He taught using the simplicity of diagramming as a way of visually making connections and integrating the any concepts emerging from our analysis. I use the term "simplicity" to describe this process because to watch Anselm, diagramming appeared easy. In practice, however, diagramming is terribly complex. Think of the challenges of] encompassing types of relationships, temporality t centrality t duration, consequences, direction, and conditions of the various concepts in a diagram of a newly discovered Diagramming Continued on Page 14

Qualitative Family Research 11(112), page 13

Diagramming Continued from Page 13

process. Researchers must then describe the relevant structural and cultural conditions that influence processes at the macro level.

Diagrams Change

The diagram is a work in progress. Diagrams change as new concepts are discovered and related to the theory. A difficulty in diagramming a newly discovered social process is keeping it simple enough that relationships are clear and easily understood but also account for the complexity and diversity that underlie social behavior.

Anselm's death led me to reflect on how extensive his influence has been on my scholarship. The analytic strategy of diagramming is part of my research. I

also use diagramming to evaluate other grounded theory or theory-generating research. You can see Anselm's influence in my own theoretical diagram which consists of patterns of overlapping and concentric circles (Langford, 1994). My diagrams have not quite reached the levels of simple complexity that Anselm a achieved in his quick sketches.

Diagramming is part of my teaching as well. I challenge students to diagram the theoretical bases of their theses or master's projects. I ask students to link their theoretical concepts in a diagram that relates the major variables, concepts, and social processes of their projects.

A Gentle Guide

In Anselm's intellectual biography, Julie Corbin (1991) discussed his belief that learning comes from doing. She wrote, "He teaches method in seminar, in which students bring their data to class and analyze them with the help of the group. Anselm gently guides the process. by demonstrating how to label, dimensionalize, and relate concepts" (pp. 26-27). This is Anselm's legacy. Those of us fortunate enough to have learned from the master are charged with continuing his legacy.


Corbin, Juliet (1991). Anselm Strauss: An intellectual biography. In David R. Maines (Ed.), Social organization and social process: Essays in honor of Anselm Strauss. New York: Aldine.

Langford, David R. (1994). Walking on eggshells: Women's processes oj monitoring and responding to danger in their relationships with battering men. Doctoral dissertation. University of California, San Francisco.

Star, Susan L. (1995). Listening for connections. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 2(1), 12-17.

Strauss, Anselm L., & Juliet Corbin (1990). Basics of qualitative research.

Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

David R. Langford, R.N., DNSc., is assistant professor, Family and Community Nursing, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC.

Qualitative Family Research 11(112), page

An Anecdote About Anselm Strauss

By Gerald Handel .

City University of New York

I was acquainted and on friendly terms with Anselm Strauss for about 45 years. We met in the early 1950s at The University of Chicago when he was an assistant professor of sociology and I was a research associate in the Committee on Human Development. He was collaborating with R. Richard Wohl, assistant professor of Human Development, on symbolism and imagery pertaining to cities.

I was trying to figure out how to study actual famities in the light of Charles Horton Cooley's concept of families as primary groups, Ernest W. Burgess's concept of the family as a unity of interacting personalities, George Herbert Mead's concept of the self, and various other ideas about child development.

Social Acquaintances

I knew that Anselm had written an article on Japanese war brides, based on his dissertation under Burgess t s directions and that he had also written an article on children's perception of money. It is possible that I had some conversations with Anselm about what I was working on, but I do not remember for sure that I did. Our contacts were not frequent, then or later. Whenever I saw Anselm and his wife Fran at meetings we greeted each other warmly and spent a little time together, but I was not a close friend nor was I ever his student or collaborator.

Nice Guy But Not Doing "Our" Kind of Sociology

What justification is there, then, for my accepting Jane GiIgun's invitation to contribute to this memorial issue? The only one is that I experienced one anecdote about him that may be of wider interest. Anselm did not get tenure at the University of Chicago. My recollection is that I was told--I am 98% certain it was Fran Strauss who told me--that the chairman of the sociology department, a well-known demographer named Philip M. Hauser, said to Anselm: "You're a very nice guy. Everybody likes you. You're just not doing our kind of sociology." That's the anecdote.

As Anselm's accomplishments increased, one after another, I sometimes wondered whether he would have had as distinguished a career if he had stayed at Chicago. One cannot know, but as a result of the programs he built at the University of California-San Francisco, the students he trained, and the important research and writing he produced, a very great number of people today are doing Anselm Strauss's kind of sociology.


Hess, Robert D., & Handel, G. (1959). Family worlds. Chicago:

University of Chicago Press.

Strauss, Ariselm. (1954). Strain and harmony in American-Japanese war bride marriages. Marriage and Family Living, 16, 99-106.

Strauss, Ariselm (1952). The development and transformation of monetary meanings in the child. American Sociological Review, 17, 275~286.

Gerald Handel, Ph.D., is Professor, the City College and Graduate School, City University of New York. He received his Ph.D. in Human Development from the University oj Chicago.

Qualitative Family Research 11(112), page 15

Coffee With Anselm

By Norman K. Denzin University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

On October 10, 1969, Anselm Strauss called me. It was mid-morning, At the time, I was living in El Cerrito, California, a little town across the bay from 19 Moore Place, San Francisco, where Anselm lived. He introduced himself and wanted to know if I would like to come over for coffee the next day. He said he would like to meet me, as Howie (Becker) had told him all about me. He said he'd heard a lot about my new book, The Research Act. He wanted me to talk about . what I was doing. I said sure. I'd be over the next day.

. When he called, I had been typing up some fieldnotes. I was doing a study of preschools and day care centers in Berkeley and had spent the previous morning in the University's lab school. The kids had been introduced to people who were starting a new show to be called "Sesame Street." Big Bird had gone out into the courtyard and talked to the girls and boys. The kids were scared of Big Bird.

Good Timing

In fact, Anselm's call had come at a good time. I had finished The Research Act, and it would be published in December. I even had a section on grounded theory in the book. Alex Morin, the publisher of Aldine, had given me the page proofs of the new Glaser and Strauss book, The Discovery of Grounded Theory (Aldine, 1967).

So I was in between projects, although I was doing the children's day care study and had been pretty systematically recording the language, speech, and interaction of my two daughters who were one and two at the time.

Coffee with Anselm

The next day I drove across the bay and had coffee with Anselm. I was anxious. This was pretty big stuff. He was one of my heroes. Fran was just leaving as I arrived, and she graciously welcomed me into their home. Ans was gentle and soft-spoken, He put me at ease, thanking me for coming over, and asking how the drive was.

We talked about everything under the sun including Harold Garfinkel and ethnomethodology. Anselm didn't understand what it was all about. "Do you?" I said, "No, I don't." He asked me about The Research Act and wondered what I was working on now.

"So how are you doing it?"

I said I was doing this study of little kids and their speech and language patterns. I said no interactionist had really done this since Charles Horton Cooley.

He agreed. "So how are you doing it?" he asked.

"Pretty straightforward." I said. "Fieldnotes. I look at the use of pronouns, verbs, emotion stuff, first names, nicknames, patterns of interaction with

'I: Dentin on Strauss Continued on Page 17



Qualitative Family Research 11(112), page 16 '

.oLL--------------- ....i;;,I ..

Denzin on Strauss Continued from Page 16

other kids, adults, and parents. I follow them around and write down what they say and do. Nothing too fancy. In the schools, I look at the boy-girl stuff.

In one school the boys have a club and the girls can't come in. Things like that. But what's important is this stuff seems pretty sophisticated and theorists like Kohlberg and Piaget would argue these things should not be going on at this age. ~

Did You See a Theory Emerging?

After all of this, I sat back and waited for Anselm to say something. I was still pretty nervous. So he started in. "You know, in the grounded theory book we talk about the constant comparative method, comparing research sites, looking at emerging concepts, indicators of concepts, links back to theory. Do you see a theory emerging from what you are doing? Are you working in more than one site? How are you doing your fieldnotes?"

I fumbled around, lighted a cigarette, crossed and uncrossed my legs, looked out at their deck. "Uh, hum, not really any of that. Just taking notes and seeing what emerges. "

"Why don't you try what Barney and I talk about?"

"Why don't you try what Barney and I talk about?" he asked. "We feel like it works well for us and our students. "

What could I say? "Sure. I'll give it a try."

We chatted a little more, and then I said, "I've got to get back before the traffic gets too bad." I thanked him again and left.

The next day, I took out my fieldnote books and started making categories: first, second, third person pronouns, time of day, adults' presence or absence, gender, situation, and so on. I called around and got into a coop daycare center. I started comparing speech patterns in the two sites. Then I got hooked on the separation crisis phenomenon-kids not wanting to be left alone for the first time, and I lost track of pronouns.

More Grounded Theory Notes Than Fieldnotes

I would go out in the field in the morning and then type up notes in the afternoon. Pretty soon I had more grounded theory notes than I had fieldnotes. I started to worry. I called Anselm. "What going on?" I asked. "Be patient," he replied.

So I was, and it kept going on like this. Pretty soon it stopped feeling right, thins grounded theory work. I felt as if my theory was no longer connected to the kids. I was a failure at grounded theory.

Shortly after that I became a critic of grounded theory. Later I developed my own version of what Anselm does. I called it interpretive interactionism.

Denzin on Strauss Continued on Page 18

Qualitative Family Research 11(112). page 17

Denzin on Strauss Continued from Page 17

But there is an irony. Anslem's grounded theory approach is the most influential paradigm for qualitative research in the social sciences today. Its appeals are many. It provides a set of steps and procedures any research can follow in the construction of a theory fitted to a particular problem.

The Postpositivist Goals of Grounded Theory

Its goals clearly resonate with the postpositivist program in the human I

disciplines, especially the emphasis on the importance of induction and deduction, .

generalizability, comparison between cases, and the systematic relating of concepts grounded in data. At the same time, Anslem's theory of action celebrates pragmatism's unique contribution to American social psychology, a linguistically based theory of mind, self, and action.

Different Directions: Friends Till the End

We went in different directions, but remained friends until the end. I turned away from theory, and he never stopped. He could see things I could not see: matrices of structure and action, trajectories, interconnection social worlds, but he never criticized me for what I could not see. Instead, he created the spaces for my work. I always return to him, often through Leigh Star, or Ginnie Olesen, or Adele Clarke, or Kathy Charmaz, asking always how would Anselm look at my situated, local readings of ordinary people and their lives.


Denzin, Norman K. (1995). On the shoulders of Anselm. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 2, 39-47.

Denzin, Norman K. (1970). The research act. New York: McGraw-Hill. Glaser, Barney & Anselm Strauss (1967). The discovery of grounded theory. Chicago: Aldine.

Lindesmith, Alfred, Anselm Strauss, & Norman K. Denzin (1991). Social psychology.( 7th ed.; also 4th-6th ed.), New York: D!yden.

Denzin, Norman K. (1977). Childhood socialization: Studies in language, interaction, and identity. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Series Editor: Anselm Strauss.

Strauss, Anselm L. (Ed.) (1990). Creating sociological awareness. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

Norman K. Denzin, Ph.D., is professor, department of sociology, University of Illinpos-Urbana.

More on Anselm's Biography

Although Anselm was larger than life for many qualitative family researchers, his biography is not well-known. For scholars who want to know more about Anselm, David R. Maines' 1991 book, Social organization and social process:

Essays in honor of Anselm Strauss (New York: Aldine) is a good source.

Qualitative Family Research 11(112), page 18

Remembering Anselm Strauss By Janice Winchester Nadeau Minneapolis, Minnesota

The first time I heard the name Anselm Strauss was in connection with Barney Glaser and a study they did of death awareness in families with a terminally ill member. Reading about the methods and findings of their grounded theory approach, I could, for the first time in my nursing career, imagine myself doing research. As it turns out, I was but one of many students whom Anselm Strauss inspired in this way over the years.

In the early eighties, with no previous exposure to the ideas of the Chicago School of Sociology, I read descriptions of how grounded theory is done. I remember particularly the Glaser and Strauss studies of step-fathering. They demonstrated how

a researcher could go onto a previously unknown area of interest and discover something new. The notion that theory could emerge from the data was intriguing. The idea that what emerged from the data might have direct application to my practice fit well with my orientation at the time. No one made these ideas come alive for me better than Anselm.

Anselm's Research on Health Care

Anselm's interest in studying health care settings was important to many of us. He helped build a bridge for nurses and other health care professionals between theory and practice. He helped many overcome their fear of research and their dread of statistics. For me, Anselm's interests in health care, terminal illness and research methods that fit practice settings were a good match. So, when I returned to graduate school to study family social science, Anselm's ideas helped guide me.

When I went looking for a research method that would fit the questions that I wanted to ask about how grieving families make sense of their experience, I turned to the methods of Anselm Strauss. Earlier in my career when I was studying dying people in a hospice in St. Paul, the methods that Anselm had developed had been very useful in exploring what was important to people who were close to death.

Once again, it was encouraging and exciting to read what Anselm had to say about how something new and different, something not described before, was free to emerge from data collected with an open mind. As I consider how Anselm's approach drew me to qualitative research, I wonder how many other students Anselm influenced. How many dissertations have been done because of Anselm's contributions to our thinking?

Anselm at NCFR

One of the most important events in my development as a family researcher occurred at the 1992 National Council of Family Relations meeting in Orlando, Florida. Anselm presided over a roundtable for qualitative researchers. I had used Strauss and Corbin's Basics of Qualitative Research as the primary reference for my doctoral study of meaning-making in families. I had brought my code book with me and samples of data, hoping that I might have the opportunity to get some feedback from Anselm and also from Juliet Corbin.

Nadeau Continued on page 20

Qualitative Family Research 11(1/2), page 19

Nadeau Continued from Page 19

Anselm was immediately interested. He asked me to mail him samples from my data. I did. He responded with a short critique and words of encouragement, which I treasured then and treasure even more today.

We will miss you

When I met Anselm, I was aware his health was failing. I knew this intellectual hero would pass away too soon. His death was a personal loss. His legacy lives on, however. Many students in many disciplines, thanks to Anselm's thinking, have been enabled to successfully research the less quantifiable areas of everyday life about which people have great curiosity.

Thanks, Anselm, for attaching grounded theory firmly to the map of human understanding. We will miss you.

Janice Winchester Nadeau, Ph.D., L.P., is in the private practice of psychotherapy in Minneapolis, MN, and lectures widely on death and dying. Janice's

book Families Making Sense of Death was published in 1997 by Sage. Based on Janice's dissertation research, the book is part of the series Understanding Families edited by Bert N Adams & David M Klein. Scholars looking for a up-to-date reference on the doing of qualitative family research. especially research with more than one family member, will find this book an authoritative guide to method and to the presentation of findings.

Legacy Continued from Page 12

When r heard colleagues hail Anselm's passing as the end of an era, I could only think of the scores of students who would carry on his legacy. In teaching qualitative methods to my own doctoral students now, I have come to especially appreciate the wisdom of his constant admonition to "stay close to the data" while also attending to the interstitial spaces of human experience that lie between the words. And I hope that when I ask them, "So, tell me, what are you working on now?" they will sense the freedom and the attendant responsibility that this question came to evoke in me ... to think. . .talk ... watch ... read ... think ...

Denise Burnette is an associate professor, School of Social Work, Columbia University, New York, N. Y.

Qualitative Family Research Volume 11, Numbers 1 & 2 November 1997

Qualitative Family Research is a publication of the Qualitative Family Research Network (QFRN), a focus group of the Research and Theory Section, National Council on Family Relations. The Network wlll publish special issues of the newsletter, and the editors welcome unsolicited manuscripts and ideas for stories and themes for special issues. Members of the Steering Committee of the QFRN are Catherine Chesla, University of California. San Francisco; Elizabeth Church. Memorial University, Newfoundland, Canada; Kerry Daly. University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada; William Northey, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH; Jane Gilgun, University of Minnesota. Twin Cities; Lee Smithbattle, St. Louis University, St. Louis. The requirement for steering committee membership is to be heading a significant project for the Network. If you would like to contribute to the Network in any way, please contact members of the steering committee. For $4, you may join the Network and receive periodic newsletters. Please use the order form on the back page.

Qualitative Family Research 11(1/2), page 20 :

Grounded Theory and the Construct of Boundary Ambiguity

By Deborah Lewis Fravel

Indiana University

Upon first thought, writing on my experience with grounded theory appeared to me to be nothing special. Upon reflection, however, it occurred to me that perhaps my account, or one like mine, might in fact be a fitting tribute to a person's life work--for it is surely because of Anselm Strauss' work, and subsequent work built on his, that my own experience felt in so many ways unremarkable. I am but one of innumerable people whose work has been facilitated by the wisdom and expertise that came before.

Introduction to Grounded Theory

My introduction to grounded theory began early in my doctoral studies. I had become aware of boundary ambiguity, a condition that exists when someone's physical and psychological presence are not congruent, and the remaining family members are therefore uncertain whether that person is inside or outside their family (Boss, 1988). The more I studied, the more fascinated I became with the construct, and the more convinced I became that there remained a great deal of uncharted territory in the study of boundary ambiguity.

In the pendulum swings that have characterized our profession's ideas about quantitative "versus" qualitative research, I had come from an environment influenced by swings toward the quantitative end. Eager to explore uncharted (for me) territory during my Ph.D. program, I enrolled in a qualitative research course during my first year at the University of Minnesota.

The First Project

The term project for that course was to conduct some kind of qualitative study, then write and report orally the results of the study. I chose to conduct a case study (with Pauline Boss) with a couple whose three sons has disappeared, and to use a grounded theory approach to explore the way boundary ambiguity existed in their situation.

What I remember about the case study was that, while talking to the couple was fascinating, using a grounded theory approach was much more laborious and time-intensive than I had ever imagined it would be. Ultimately, that study (Fravel & Boss, 1992) provided some insight into the experiences of having a child or children disappear. It did not add any particularly new and exciting discoveries to the body of literature about boundary ambiguity, but it did confirm already-existing ones, when applied to a new population.

Scrutinizing Process and Product

The greatest value of that study for me at a personal level, was what Gilgun (1992) described as "invitling] others to scrutinize the process as well as the product" (p. 29). During the process from interview to class project to manuscript submission to book chapter, my work was read and critiqued by several people. All

Boundary Ambiguity Continued on Page 22

Qualitative Family Research 11(1/2), page 21

Boundary Ambiguity Continued from Page 21

of those people asked questions and made comments that sent me back to the source, to recheck my conclusions against the data. Those trips back to the data were useful at several levels, first because they enriched the product that emerged from the data, second because they enriched the experience and disciplined me as a researcher.

With hindsight, however, I can say that having others scrutinize the process and the product was especially important because, while I was still analyzing the data from the case study, other events were unfolding in my academic life that prompted me to continue using a grounded theory approach, in a different area and on a larger scale.

Although I had no personal history experience related to adoption, and at the time had no particular interest or disinterest in adoptive families, serendipity led me to coordinate a research project investigating openness in adoption.' Openness refers to the degree of communication between birth families and adoptive families after legal adoption occurs; in "open" adoptions, birth parents and the adoptive family maintain contact after adoptive placement.

In traditional adoptions, there is no contact between the birth and adoptive families after placement (Grotevant, McRoy, BIde, & Fravel, 1994). Openness is controversial in large part because there are no definitive answers to questions about how it works, or whether or not it works well (see Fravel, 1995, for elaboration).

Concept Enhancement

Almost immediately, I saw that the research project had potential to enhance understanding about boundary ambiguity: It seemed to me that the controversies surrounding adoption openness included issues of boundary ambiguity-the way, for example, that birthmothers seemed to be psychologically present in, although physically absent from, adoptive families. A small research team comprising six graduate students, one of whom was an adoptive parent and one of whom was an adult who had been raised in an adoptive home, worked over the next year and a half, using a grounded theory approach to examine boundary ambiguity in six adoptive families.

Because the study of adoption openness was so new, and because the application of boundary ambiguity to adoptive family systems was so new, it could have been quite easy to drift away from our original purpose. We did occasionally do some of that, but it was the work of Strauss and others that helped us stay on task, by providing some structure, guidelines, and reminders. Most of the time, I kept notes taped to the inside of working folder, marked with single words and cryptic phrases meaningful only to me, to keep me on track: "pattern validation/refinement," "confirm/emergent?" and so on.

Discovery of New Aspects

In the end, the study confirmed some previously-known facets of boundary ambiguity, while helping to discover new aspects of the phenomenon. In previous studies of boundary ambiguity, for example, physical presence had been a dichotomous "present/absent," but for adoptive families, the physical presence of the !

Boundary Ambiguity Continued on Page 23

Boundary Ambiguity Continued from Page 22

birthmother varied according to level of openness, but also with respect to arrangements of openness (how often she would visit, for how long, etc.).

In the end, we identified 10 indicators of psychological presence of birthmothers, from the perspective of adoptive parents. There were other facets of boundary ambiguity that emerged from our study. For example, we found that, like that described in previous research, psychological presence seemed to be

. experienced negatively by some family members; for other adoptive parents, however, psychological presence of the birthmother could be extremely positive. In addition, we found that psychological presence was not an either/or phenomenon; rather, it seemed to range in degree from very low to very high.

Academic Genealogies

It has occurred to me from time to time that it would be interesting if all of us had records of our academic genealogies, or some way to trace our professional "blood lines." However, from my work with adoptive families and birth parents, I am especially aware that family trees can never adequately represent the many people and forces that shape our lives.

I did not personally study with Strauss, so there would be no branch labeled with his name in my own academic family tree. Nevertheless, I include myself in the unnumbered researchers and scholars whose development has been greatly influenced and enriched by the life and work of Anselm Strauss.


Boss, P. (1988). Family stress management. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Fravel, D. L. (1995). Boundary Ambiguity Perceptions of Adoptive Parents Experiencing Various Levels of Openness in Adoption. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Fravel, Deborah L., & Pauline G. Boss (1992). An in-depth interview with the parents of missing children. In Jane F. Gilgun, Kerry Daly, & Gerald Handel (Eds.), Qualitative methods in family research (pp. 126-145), Newbury Park, CA:

sageOilgun, Jane F. (1992). Definitions, methodologies, and methods in qualitative family research. In Jane F. Gilgun, Kerry Daly, & Gerald Handel (Eds.), Qualitative methods infamily research (RP. 22-39). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Grotevant, Hal, Ruth McRoy, Carol Elde, & Deborah Fravel (1994). Adoptive family system dynamics: Variations by level of openness in adoption. Family Process, 33, 125-146


I FOOTNOTE 1: This was the Minnesota/Texas Adoption Research Project, with principal investigators Harold Grotevant (University of Minnesota) and Ruth Mcroy (University of Texas). Manuscripts providing greater detail about the boundary ambiguity/adoption studies are in progress. Further details are available from the author at Indiana University, 400 E. 7th St., Poplars 621, Bloomington, IN 47405 or e-mail dfravel@indiana.edu.

Deborah Lewis Fravel, Ph.D. is assistant professor, Human Development and Family Studies, Dept. of Applied Health Science, Indiana University.

Qualitative F ami! y Research 11 (112), page 23

A Grounded Theory Inquiry

Into the Social Construction of Fatherhood By Carl Auerbach & Louise B. Silverstein Yeshiva University

Although we never met Anselm Strauss, he became an important intellectual presence in our research. His writings gave us a map of how to conduct our own inquiry, without which our work would have been impossible. In this article, we show how Strauss' work was an invaluable source of guidance and perspective in our research.

Our r.esearch is a qualitative study of how men in many different American subcultures experience fatherhood. We investigated this for several reasons. First, we had personal reasons for finding the subject of fatherhood important. Second, we wanted to promote responsible fathering, and "to develop theory that has some practical applications ... [and} ... can be relevant to the ... understanding of policy makers" (Strauss & Corbin, 1994, p. 281 ). Finally, we hoped to construct a theoretical alternative to the maternal attachment paradigm and its essentialist perspective on mothering. According to this paradigm, women are natural primary caretakers and nurturers. Men, in contrast, are naturally providers and only secondarily caretakers. From our egalitarian social constructivist perspective, both men and women are equally capable of nurturing and providing for their children.

Chicken and Egg Problem

We encountered a chicken and egg problem in thinking about constructing a theory. We needed new data to construct a new theory and needed a new theory to guide in the collection of new data. Grounded theory, "generated and developed through the interplay with data collected during research projects" (Strauss & Corbin, 1994, p. 275) met our needs for a method. We also felt a need for a method of theorizing that respected diversity. We included as many diverse groups of fathers in our study as we could get access to, ranging from Haitian Christian fathers to gay men adopting children with a partner. These diverse groups lent themselves to the constant comparative method, in which theories developed for one group were articulated, refined and modified as other groups were studied.

Learning to Theorize

We planned our data collection with the orientation that we were not studying a static reality, but instead a reality that was being created by the people that we were studying, As Strauss (1978) said, theories are "embedded in history, and reflect the processes by which men and women participate in the construction of structures which shape their lives" (p. 123). Hoping to capture this constructive process, we interviewed the men in groups. We asked them open-ended questions and transcribed their responses. As we proceeded, we became aware of the interpretive aspect of human action, including our own actions as theorists and of having to balance conflicting interpretations. We wanted to consider the perspective of our research participants because "as researchers we are required to learn what we can of their interpretations and perspectives" (Strauss & Corbin, 1994, p. 280).

Social Construction oj Fatherhood Continued on Page 25


Qualitative Family Research 11(112), page J~

Social Construction of Fatherhood Continued from Page 24

In addition, we wanted to incorporate our own perspective on what we heard and to "link this multiplicity of perspectives with patterns and processes of action/interaction that in tum are linked with carefully specified conditions and consequences" (Strauss & Corbin, 1994, p. 280). Finally, we wanted to ground our theorizing in the text itself.

We learned to understand theorizing as coding and developed a three-level coding procedure modeled roughly on the distinction between open, axial and theoretical coding. Our lowest level, text based categories, records repetitively used words and phrases in the text itself. For example, many of our Haitian Christian fathers described their own fathers as "never saying I love you." The next level, sensitizing concepts, organized sets of text based categories into culturally meaningful themes, in this case "dissatisfaction with aspects of traditional Haitian fatherhood." The highest level, theoretical constructs, organized sensitizing concepts into conceptually dense concepts that are meaningfully interrelated. In the example just cited, the theoretical construct was cultural role strain, a tension between old and new ways of fathering.

A Conditional Matrix

We organized our theoretical constructs into a conditional matrix, a set of nested contexts each of which corresponds to a different aspect of the world. Our contexts were self, family, community and society, each including the one before. We created a theoretical construct for each level: personal satisfaction (self level); role strain associated with the old pattern of fathering (family level); social support (community level); and ideology that facilitates creating a new role (societal level).

The Stories We Heard

We used these construct to tell the stories of how men are redefining their fathering role. The men are motivated to redefine fathering by rote strain, a conflict between the limitations imposed by the traditional fathering role and their desire to be emotionally connected with their children. In their efforts to construct a new role, they seek an ideology and a supportive community. They are rewarded for this change by the personal satisfaction of a warm and loving connection with their children. As Strauss and Glaser advised, we are using the constant comparative method to elaborate and refine these constructs.


Strauss, Anselm (1978). Negotiations: Varieties. contexts. processes and social order. San Francisco: Josey Bass.

Strauss, Anselm & Juliet Corbin. (1994). Grounded theory methodology: An overview. In Norman K. Denzin & Yvonna S. Lincoln (Eds.) Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 273-285). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Carl Auerbach and Louise 1. Silverstein are with the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. Yeshiva University, New York. N. Y.

Qualitative Family Research 11(112), page 25

"Do not foreclose on the data!": Memories of Anselm Strauss By Ellen Olshansky

Duquesne University

I have had the privilege and opportunity to teach grounded theory methodology to graduate students for the past 12 years, both at the University of Washington School of Nursing in Seattle, Washington, and now at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My approach to teaching this kind of research process is founded on the work of Drs. Anselm Strauss and Leonard Schatzman.

As a doctoral student at the University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing, I was extemely fortunate to have studied with these two exceptional teachers and mentors. In fact, I cannot write about my memories of Anselm without remembering Lenny, who continues to be my friend, colleague and mentor and with whom I communicate regularly as I face the continued challenges of teaching, learning and doing grounded theory research.

Prerequisite: Sense 0/ Humor

I began my doctoral studies in 1981. During my first quarter of my first year I enrolled in a field research course taught by Dr. Schatzman. The first day in the course knew that I was in the right place, as Lenny said, "The most important prerequisite to talking this course is having a sense of humor! 11 I stayed in the course, having, I hope, met that prerequisite, and the course, co-taught by Dr. Juanita Wood, continued over two quarters. I knew that I was in the right place and that this kind of research was for me!

At that time, Dr. Strauss was not on campus much, as he was in frail health. Those of us just beginning our doctoral program did not know if we would even have the opportunity to take a course from Anselm, let alone even meet him, and it was clear that his colleagues were concerned about his health. Miraculously, however, Anselm returned to teaching the following year and I, with several students in my cohort, enrolled in a Grounded Theory seminar taught by Anselm.

There were seven doctoral students in the seminar, including one who was pursuing her doctorate in medical sociology and, in addition. Dr. Juliet Corbin, a recent graduate of UCSF's doctoral program in nursing, attended the seminar, as she and Anselm were collaborating on writing a book (Basics of Grounded Theory, which was published in 1990). After the first quarter of this seminar, Anselm told us that he was really enjoying this seminar and that he would like to continue teaching us. We, of course, were overjoyed and ended up taking two more quarters of seminar with him.

Doing Grounded Theory

During these three seminars, we learned grounded theory methodology in several ways. One way was that each of us had the opportunity to bring in our own data from our own research, sharing the data with the seminar group so that we could analyze it together, learning the process of analysis as well as getting important feedback for our own research. Another way was that each of us had the

"Do not foreclose" Continued on Page 27

Qualitative Family Research 11(112), page

"Do not foreclose" Continued from Page 26

opportunity to engage in analysis of data brought in by our colleagues. A third way, and the most memorable, was that we, as a group, decided to study hearing loss because Anselm had hearing loss and he was willing to be our research informant. I will describe this third method, as it provided an excellent strategy for learning.

Anselm strongly believed that the best way for us to learn how to actually do grounded theory research was, in fact, to do it! Therefore, we thought that it would be a wonderful experience for us, as a group, to conduct a grounded theory research study with Anselm's supervision. We carne upon the idea of studying hearing loss because Anselm, who had hearing loss. agreed to be interviewed by us and then to assist us with analysis of the data collected from the interviews.

Process More Important than Topic

The specific topic of study really was not as important as the process of doing the study, so the topic of hearing loss was chosen based on availability of Anselm as both research participant/informant and as mentor! It was a unique opportunity for us. As a group, we interviewed Anselm several times and tape recorded the interviews One person was chosen as the transcriber and then the transcripts served as our data, which we analyzed in seminar with Anselm's supervision.

Obviously, many limitations can be observed in doing a study this way, but it was truly a heuristic exercise, which more than served that purpose! I, for one, feel that I gained greater confidence in doing grounded theory research and I will always be grateful for this unique experience.

My Strongest Memory

My strongest memory, from one of these heuristic sessions is when I said that I had an analytic interpretation of the data, and Anselm put his hand gently on my arm and said softly but determinedly and with a supportive smile, "Don't foreclose on the data!" I realized then that we had not yet "fractured" the data enough to be able to put it back together. I also truly learnedd something at that moment that I will never forget. In fact, I often tell my students not to "foreclose on the data," and as I do, I always remember Anselm in that seminar session.

"Ans" and "Len II

I remember a dinner that Lenny had at his house for us students who were pursuing study of grounded theory. Anselm carne to that dinner and it was a great chance to be with Anselm and Lenny in an informal setting. Lenny's wife, Sylvia, made a delicious dinner (1 think it was lasagna) and we all sat around eating, talking, laughing and generally having a wonderful time. Lenny always referred to Anselm as "Ans," and Anselm referred to Lenny as "Len."

I have a memory of coming up with an "aha" experience in analyzing my own data for my doctoral dissertation while sitting at Lenny's kitchen table one Sunday afternoon, while Lenny was on the phone talking with one of his relatives

"Do not foreclose II Continued on Page 28

Qualitative Family Research 11(1/2), page 27

"Do not foreclose" Continued from Page 27

and his wife, Sylvia, was in the living room. I strongly believe that it was the informality in the environment, even within the walls of the university, created by both Anselm and Lenny, that encouraged our learning. My own approach to teaching and learning has been profoundly influenced by their approach.

Carrying on

Those of us who knew Anselm and who studied with him will continue to have wonderful memories of him as a gentle person and mentor who provided unforgettable experiences of learning grounded theory. My own hope is that I can assist others as they learn this method and that I can continue to learn from these memories as well as from Lenny's wealth of knowledge and inspiration as he pursues his own ideas that have so influenced so many of us. The experience of learning from and studying with Anselm and Lenny is something that I will always cherish.

Ellen Olshansky, D.N.Sc., RN.C., C.R.N.P. is associate professor, Duquesne University School of Nursing, Pittsburgh, PA.

Schatzman on Strauss Continued from Page 6

LS: He says, "Lenny, there's nothing I can do with your chapter on analysis

because you don't do grounded theory." I said, "Yeah. That's true. I'm not a grounded theorist.' So I said, 'But you can help me rewrite this chapter." He said, "No. Because if I rewrote it, then it would be like grounded theory, and it wouldn't be consistent with you writing the other chapters. "

"Grounded theory the only way to go"

Now that was correct. So, I said, "Well, there's more than one way to skin a cat. You don't have to write a grounded theory chapter. We'U, together, write a chapter on analysis that corresponds with my data gathering and organizing method." He said, "No. Lenny. I've already made a commitment to grounded theory. It is the only way to go." So, this is in the kitchen of his house. You ever been in his kitchen?

KC: No.

LS: This is our impasse. I say, "Ans, you said you would help with this book." He says, "Lenny, it's all there. It's all good. It's all you. If! touched anything, it would be wrong."

See, he had a logic too. I say, "Yeah! But the book is-that chapter on analysis is dreadful. It doesn't do anything!" He says, "Well, then publish it the way it is!" I said, II Ans, there's got to be another way besides grounded theory," and he says, "No." You know how two kids argue-yes it is, no it ain't. We did that, toe to toe in his kitchen. I said, "Ans, when you got me as a graduate student in Indiana, you were so "loaded with variation. The whole Darwinian hypothesis that George Herbert Mead grabbed onto, that the essence of everything is evolution, development and when you develop, the various subspecies arise. Don't tell me there's only one way to do anything!" He stood there saying, "This is the only way to go. "

Schatzman on Strauss Continued on Page 29

Qualitative Family Research 11(1/2), page 2

Saying Goodbye to Anselm By Jane F. Gilgun University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Anselm Strauss died of a heart attack on September 5, 1996 in San Francisco. He was 79 years old and a University of California-San Francisco emeritus professor of sociology in the Department of Social And Behavioral Sciences.

I imagine it was a beautiful day and that he had looked forward to that day with the joy with which he had anticipated each day. His long-term colleague Shiz Fagerhaugh told me Anselm had finally mastered a very difficult piano piece within the day or two before he died and that he had been fully engaged in a range of projects that had captivated him.

An Imperfect Heart

I believe he lived so long with a chronic heart condition because he anticipated each of his days so heartily. He was not blessed with a perfect heart, but no one had more heart than Anselm Strauss. He pushed his heart to keep pumping far longer than anyone could have predicted.

When I think of the short time I had with Anselm-perhaps a total of 12 hours during his two-day series of presentations at the conference sponsored by the National Council on Family Relations in Orlando, Florida, in 1992--I think of heart. My heart, my spirit, whatever the words may be, was deeply moved, peacefully touched, forever caressed, with the spirit and heart of Anselm.

Presence and Connection

I remember him standing in front of me, bending forward slightly, looking at me in the sweetest, kindest, most knowing way. Presence and connection are words that come to mind when I think of the gaze of Anselm Strauss. I shall miss you, Anselm. 1 am sorry you are gone.

I have resisted to the last minute editing this special issue because finishing symbolized an end to my anticipation of encountering Anselm over and over as I worked with the stories that comprise this issue. r hope that my sense of connection with him continues.

Jane F. Gilgun, Ph.D., LICSW, is associate professor. School of Social Work. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Schatzman on Strauss Continued from Page 28

I didn't talk to him for about three months.

Finally, the publisher is getting on my rear end, and I said, "All right!

Publish the goddamn thing!" The irony is that I got a lot of letters from people saying, "Your chapter on analysis is wonderful!"

Schatzman on Strauss Continued on Page 30

Qualitative Family Research 11(1/2), page 29

Schatzman on Strauss Continued from Page 29

Story 2: Dimensional Analysis as Another Way

of Grounding Theory in Data

LS: Last story, then I'll let you go. Anselm says to me, around 1977-88,

"What the hell are doing? You haven't written anything?" So I'm mumbling, you know, that thing called dimensional analysis. He says, "What the hell are you talking about?" So I said, "OK." I write up, oh, there were about 15 or 20 little paragraphs. He, again in his kitchen, he says, "What are you doing?" So I said, "Look! Anselm! I'm not being very articulate. You'll forgive me. Let me write up a memo, and I'll give it to you, and I'll tell you what I'm doing." So he says, "OK."

So I come to his house a week or so later, and I had these ten slips of paper, and there's about two sentences on each slip, and r say, "Anselm. This is what I've been doing for the last eight, ten years. '" So he says, "OK."

Now, if you knew Anselm Strauss, he always had a funny smile on his face, and if you ever interacted with him he smiled because he had a sense of being way ahead of you, no matter what you were saying he was comprehending it--

KC: Yeah? Was he way ahead?

LS: In many--No. He wasn't always ahead. He was in another world, and he

could take in what you were saying and analyze it as you were saying it. It was not strange to him. (Italics mean Lenny was speaking slowly.) So he had been there. You see? It'd make you furious sometimes when you thought you had a new idea,

LS: So, I say, "Here Anselm, this is what I've been doing," So he's sitting

there and he's leafing through these pages, and he's not smiling, He's leafing and he's not even looking up at me, just there, Then he finishes the whole thing and he says, "You know, Lenny, you got some theory here, you know," and he almost knocked me over. He said, "You have picked up where John Dewey left off. You've got to read John Dewey's Logic, and you'll see what I mean." So, I said, "Oh! OK." But, anyway, he then said, yes, that I have a kind of a theory of analysis,

that he just had that pragmatic approach. You just do this. do comparing and so on and you too will come up with great concepts, but, he doesn't know why or where they come from.


Gilgun, Jane F. (1993). Dimensional analysis and grounded theory: Interviews with Leonard Schatzman. Qualitative Family Research, 7 (112), 1-2,4-7.

Glaser, Barney, & Anselm Strauss (1967). The discovery of grounded theory, Chicago: Aldine,

Schatzman, Leonard (1991). Dimensional analysis: Notes to an alternative approach to the grounding of theory in qualitative research. In David R. Maines (Ed.), Social organizations and social process: Essays in honor 0/ Anselm Strauss (pp. 303-314), New York: Aldine.

Schatzman Leonard & Anselm Strauss. (1973). Field research: Strategies/or a natural sociology. Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Strauss, Anselm, Leonard Schatzman, Rue Bucher, Danuta Ehrlich, & Melvin Sabshin (1964). Psychiatric ideologies and institutions. New York: Free Press.

Catherine Chesla, D.N,Sc" is associate professor. School of Nursing.

University of California-San Francisco.

Qualitative Family Research 11 (112), page 30 .


Yes, I want to join or continue my membership in the

Qualitative Family Research Network. I've enclosed $4 __ or

more for membership and my subscription to QUALITATIVE


NAJdE __



Please make checks payable to Lee Smithbattle, treasurer. QFRN; School of Nursing, St. Louis University, 3525 Caroline Street, St. Louis, MO 63104-1099.


I have changed my address. Please send QUALITATIVE FAMILY RESEARCH to my new address:



r·· --~-------------------



Send address changes to Jane Gilgun, Qualitative Family Research, School of Social Work, University of Minnesota, 224 .. Church Street, S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455.

The Qualitative Family Research Network (QFRN) is a focus group of the '~"~"4U\,U and Theory Section, National Council on Family Relations. The QFRN is terdisciplinarv organization of about 375 persons who either do qualitative L:.·····.:~p<,,,,, .. ,,h or want to learn more about qualitative research. The activities of the

... are to publish Qualitative Family Research, meet annually as a group, and

•. promote the development of qualitative family research. Please feel free to members of the steering committee with suggestions for projects the Network undertake. Ideas for articles and special issues of Qualitative Family Research welcome at any time.

Qualitative Family Research 11 (112), page 31


School of Social Work University of Minnesota 224 Church Street, S.E. Minneapolis, MN 55455

First Class


Qualitative Family Research 11(112), page 32:

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful