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The Literature Review in Classic Grounded Theory Studies: A methodological note

Author(s): Ólavur Christiansen, Ph.D.

Journal: Grounded Theory Review : an International Journal
ISSN 1556-1542

Volume: 10;
Issue: 3;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: grounded theory | classic grounded theory | research proposal | grounded theory method | inductive and deductive inquiry | data analysis

The place and purpose of the literature review in a Classic (Glaserian) Grounded Theory (CGT) study is to situate the research outcome within the body of previous knowledge, and thus to assess its position and place within the main body of relevant literature. The literature comparison is conceptual, i.e. the focus is on the comparison of concepts. The literature comparison is not contextual, i.e., it is not based on the origin of the data. This, of course, means that the literature comparison has to be made in a selective manner.It is obvious that relevant literature for conceptual comparison cannot be identified before stable behavioral patterns have emerged. Therefore, it is obvious that these literature comparisons have to be carried out at later stages of the research process, and especially towards the end. This restriction with regard to preliminary literature studies does not prevent the researcher from carrying out literature studies in order to find a loosely defined research topic that fits to his/her interests. However, if the researcher believes either that he/she can derive the participant’s “main concern and its recurrent solution” from this literature, or that he/she can ignore the empirical discovery of this “main concern” as the first stage of research, the choice of CGT would be meaningless.
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