GROUNDED THEORY - DATA ANALYSIS
In grounded theory, because the theory develops from the data as it is collected and analysed, the process of analysis takes place from the first time that data begins to be collected and continues until the research study is completed. Once sufficient data have been collected and transcribed, it is possible for you to progress to the next stage - the building of an indexing system for the data.
The initial stage of coding consists of indexing from the text (of interviews, etc.) following an exploration of all topics that are considered to be important or interesting. These are then labelled according to their possible relevance to the subject of the study. The aim of this step is to build up a list of relevant topics that have arisen from the interviews and that are considered essential to the subject under investigation. These indexes are constructed following an exhaustive analysis of the text.
Eventually a series of categories, concepts or codes are built up which start to explain the phenomena that are emerging from the study. This process continues as data is collected - the analysis of data within the grounded theory context is very much a dynamic process. Codes and concepts are added, amalgamated, or removed as new data emerges that causes you to rethink what you have discovered - and possibly to change it.
Following the constant comparison analysis method, the codes and concepts identified in the preliminary coding analysis are now refined, extended, and cross-referenced. This takes place over three processes, namely:
Refining of the index system.
Memo writing – the writing of theoretical memos to record your thoughts on the nature of the phenomena, relationships between categories, codes, and existing theoretical models.
The integration of emerging categories – here you are searching for any relationships between the categories.
The end product of all this analysis is normally the production of fundamental core categories that are completely saturated. In addition you hopefully will have produced:
a list of definitions;
large quantities of theoretical memos;
possibly linkage suggestions;
one or more models that will help you to describe and explain the data.
Thus, to summarise, data collection and analysis is ongoing throughout the research study, and involves:
1. Open coding - to find categories
2. Axial coding - to find links between the themes/categories
3. Selective coding - to find the core category
data analysis analysing data