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The Importance of Ethnographic Observation in Grounded Theory Research

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posted on 2022-12-19, 04:46 authored by Jarrah FitzgeraldJarrah Fitzgerald, Jane MillsJane Mills
Even though observational data have contributed to grounded theory research since the method's inception, it is interview data that is most often analyzed. In this article we argue for the greater inclusion of ethnographic observational data in grounded theory research, as this practice offers several benefits. By witnessing and experiencing for oneself the various social processes experienced by and impacting on participants, ethnographic observational data represent both a unique source of data and a way to enhance one's theoretical sensitivity. Additional benefits relate to sampling and recruitment, the development of interview guides, coding, and analysis. As such, conducting ethnographic observations supports grounded theory methods and can enhance the use of interview data to improve the quality of final theory. The writing of observational field notes overlays with traditional grounded theory memoing, compounding the analytical benefits to researchers, while providing an audit trail of the research process, and supporting reflexive practice.

History

Publication Date

2022-05-30

Journal

Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung

Volume

23

Issue

2

Article Number

13

Pagination

15p.

Publisher

Institut für Qualitative Forschung, Internationale Akademie Berlin gGmbH

ISSN

1438-5627

Rights Statement

© 2022 Jarrah FitzGerald, Jane Mills This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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