Qualitative Research in Information Systems: References on Grounded Theory
Michael D. Myers
This is a list of references on grounded theory. After a brief introduction which suggests those works which are essential reading for newcomers to the field, the list is organized into two parts: the first part lists citations related to the approach in Information Systems, the second lists citations related to the approach in other disciplines. Please note that this list contains a few suggestions only and is not intended to be comprehensive. I encourage you to search Google Scholar, the AIS e-library and/or some other bibliographic database for a more complete and up-to-date list.
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One of the early classics in grounded theory is the
Glaser and Strauss (1967). More recently, Glaser and
Strauss have disagreed about what grounded theory "really"
is. One view is represented in the book by
Corbin (1990); the other is represented in the book by
Glaser (1992). A web site
devoted to the latter's view of grounded theory (including
more references) is
For a good example of grounded theory in IS, see
paper. This paper received MIS Quarterly's Best
Paper Award for 1993. The Sage Handbook on Grounded Theory is a useful resource -
Bryant and Charmaz (2007).
Citations in Information Systems
Baskerville, R. and Pries-Heje, J. "Grounded action
research: a method for understanding IT in practice,"
Accounting, Management and Information Technologies
(9:1), 1999, pp. 1-23.
Bowker, G., Timmermans, S. and Star, S.L.
"Infrastructure and Organizational Transformation:
Classifying Nurses' Work," in Information Technology
and Changes in Organizational Work, Orlikowski, W.,
Walsham, G., Jones, M. and DeGross, J.D. (eds.), London:
Chapman and Hall, 1995, pp. 344-370.
De Vreede, G.J., Jones, N. and Mgaya, R. "Exploring the
Application and Acceptance of Group Support Systems in
Africa," Journal of Management Information Systems
(15:3), 1999, pp. 197-212.
Cross-cultural GSS field studies are scarce. Although
the state of knowledge and theory development in this
area warrants a focus on descriptive field explorations,
most cross-cultural GSS research has taken place in
laboratory environments. The study reported here
represents the first detailed descriptive field study of
GSS application in Africa. A grounded theory approach
was used to collect and analyze data on eleven projects
in which GSS meetings were organized in Malawi,
Zimbabwe, and Tanzania. From the data emerged a model of
GSS acceptance in the cultures investigated that extends
the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) in terms of a
specification of a number of relevant external factors.
These factors include the endorsement of top management,
computer literacy, oral communication preference,
referent power, and satisfaction with use. Furthermore,
the findings suggest that there is potential for
applying GSS in Africa to support capacity-building
efforts, which tops the agenda of international
Galal, G.H. and McDonnel, J.T. "Knowledge-Based Systems
in Context: A Methodological Approach to the Qualitative
Issues," AI & Society (11), 1997, pp. 104-121.
Hughes, J. and D, H. "Grounded Theory: Never Knowingly
Understood," Information Systems Review (1), 2000,
Pace, S. "A grounded theory of the flow experiences of
Web users," International Journal of Human-Computer
Studies (60:3) 2004, pp 327-363.
This paper presents a grounded theory of the flow
experiences of Web users engaged in information-seeking
activities. The term 'flow' refers to a state of
consciousness that people experience when their
attention is intently focused on an enjoyable activity
that is challenging, but achievable. The data that was
gathered for this study primarily consisted of
semi-structured in-depth interviews with informants of
varying gender, age, educational attainments,
occupations and Web experience who could recall
experiencing flow while using the Web.
Pandit, Maresh R. "The Creation of Theory: A Recent
Application of the Grounded Theory Method," The
Qualitative Report, 2(4), 1996, http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR2-4/pandit.html
This paper outlines a particular approach to building
theory that was employed in a recent doctoral research
project . Three aspects used in conjunction indicate the
project's novelty: firstly, the systematic and rigorous
application of the grounded theory method; secondly, the
use of on-line computerised databases as a primary
source of data; and, thirdly, the use of a qualitative
data analysis software package to aid the process of
grounded theory building.
Pettigrew, A.M. "Contextualist Research and the Study
of Organizational Change Processes", in Mumford, E.,
Hirschheim, R., Fitzgerald, G. and Wood-Harper, A.T.
(eds.), Research Methods in Information Systems.
Amsterdam, North Holland, 1985, pp. 53-78.
PriesHeje, J. "Three barriers for continuing use of
computerbased tools: a grounded theory approach,"
Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems (4), 1992,
"CASE tools are organizational change: Investigating
Incremental and Radical Changes in Systems Development,"
MIS Quarterly, (17:3), 1993, pp. 309-340.
Smit, J. "Grounded Theory Methodology in IS Research:
Glaser versus Strauss," South African Computer Journal
(24:November), 1999, pp. 219-222.
Urquhart, C. "Exploring Analyst-Client Communication:
Using Grounded Theory Techniques to Investigate
Interaction in Informal Requirements Gathering," in
Information Systems and Qualitative Research, A.S.
Lee, J. Liebenau and J.I. DeGross (eds.), Chapman and
Hall, London, 1997, pp. 149-181.
Urquhart, C. "Strategies for Conversation and Systems
Analysis in Requirements Gathering: A Qualitative View of
Analyst-Client Communication," The Qualitative Report,
This paper describes how strategies for conversation
and systems analysis may operate in requirements
gathering. The emergence of these concepts, whilst using
grounded theory techniques to analyse a case study of
analyst-client interaction is discussed. The topics of
conversation in the case study are analysed and grouped
into themes and examined with reference to strategies
for conversation and systems analysis. Methodological
issues that occur when undertaking qualitative analysis
of discourse are also discussed. Finally, some
implications for systems analysis practice are outlined.
Urquhart, C. "An Encounter with Grounded Theory:
Tackling the Practical and Philosophical Issues," In
Qualitative Research in IS: Issues and Trends, E.
Trauth (Ed.), Idea Group Publishing, Hershey, 2001, pp.
Urquhart, C., Lehmann, H., Myers, M. D., 2010. Putting the Theory back into
Grounded Theory: Guidelines for Grounded Theory Studies in Information Systems.
Information Systems Journal, 20 (4), pp. 357-381.
Urquhart, C., and Fernández, W. 2013. "Using Grounded Theory Method in Information Systems: The Researcher as Blank Slate and Other Myths," Journal of Information Technology (28), pp. 224-236.
Yoong, P. A Grounded Theory of Reflective
Facilitation: Making The Transition From Traditional To
GSS Facilitation, Unpublished PhD thesis, Victoria
University of Wellington, New Zealand, 1996.
Citations in Other Disciplines
Annells, M..P. "Grounded Theory Method: Philosophical
Perspectives, Paradigm of Inquiry, and Postmodenism,"
Qualitative Health Research, 6(3), 1996, pp. 379-393.
The understanding of grounded theory method is partly
dependent on an awareness of the method's ontological,
epistemological, and methodological perspectives; the
traditional symbolic interactionist theoretical
underpinnings; and the identification of the relevant
paradigm of inquiry within which the method resides.
An analysis of these factors suggests that the grounded
theory method has traditionally been sited in a
postpositivist inquiry paradigm but is evolving and
moving toward the constructivist inquiry paradigm.
The suggestion is made that the postmodern status of the
method is also evolving.
Annells, M. P. " Grounded theory method, part 1: within
the five moments of qualitative research," Nursing
Inquiry, 4, 1997, pp. 120-129.
While discussing how the grounded theory method has
been situated during the five moments of qualitative
research history, a detailed analysis is offered of the
differences between the classic mode of the method and
Strauss and Corbin's reformulation of the method.
Such differences include: philosophical perspectives,
paradigm of inquiry, intended product, theoretical
underpinnings, procedural steps and claims of rigour.
Reasons for Strauss and Corbin's elaboration of the
method are suggested within an historical context.
Annells, M. P. "Grounded theory method, part II;
options for users of the method," Nursing Inquiry,
4, 1997, pp. 176-180.
Era-specific issues are presented for the
consideration of the potential grounded theorist.
Two of the issues are general to grounded theory method,
while the other four assist in clarifying aspects
relevant to the selection of a specific mode of the
method. Five broad options regarding possible
modes of grounded theory method are suggested and
detailed. The inquirer is not limited to the two
major modes usually presented and discussed in the
literature. Users of the method are
challenged to continue contributing to the development
of the method, while justifying and debating
Bryant, A., and Charmaz, K. (eds.) The SAGE Handbook of Grounded Theory. Sage
Publications, London, 2007.
Charmaz, K. Constructing Grounded Theory: A Practical Guide Through
Qualitative Analysis. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA, 2006.
Corbin, Juliet and Anselm Strauss. "Grounded Theory
Research: Procedures, Canons, and Evaluative Criteria," i>
Qualitative Sociology, (13:1), 1990, pp. 3-21.
Dey, I. Grounding grounded theory: guidelines for
qualitative inquiry, Academic Press, San Diego, 1999.
Eisenhardt, K.M. "Building Theories from Case Study
Research," Academy of Management Review, (14: 4),
1989, pp. 532-550.
Fendt, J., and Sachs, W. "Grounded Theory Method in Management Research: Users’
Perspectives," Organizational Research Methods (11:3) 2008, pp 430-455.
Gasser, Les. "The Integration of Computing and Routine
Work," ACM Transactions on Office Information Systems,
(4:3), 1986, pp. 205-225.
Glaser, Barney G. Theoretical Sensitivity: Advances
in the Methodology of Grounded Theory. Mill Valley,
CA: The Sociology Press, 1978.
Glaser, Barney G. and Anselm Strauss. The Discovery of
Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research.
Chicago, IL: Aldine Publishing Co, 1967.
Glaser, Barney G.
Emergence vs. Forcing: Basics of Grounded Theory Analysis.
Mill Valley, CA: Sociology Press, 1992.
Kendall, J. "Axial Coding and the Grounded Theory
Controversy," Western Journal of Nursing Research
(21:6), 1999, pp. 743-757.
and B.A. Turner. "Grounded Theory and Organizational
Research," The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science,
(22:2), 1986, pp. 141-157.
Melia, K.M. "Rediscovering Glaser," Qualitative
Health Research (6:3), 1996, pp. 368-373.
Strauss, Anselm. Qualitative Analysis for Social
Scientists. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
Strauss, Anselm and Juliet Corbin. Basics of
Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory Procedures and
Techniques. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1990.
Strauss A and Corbin J. "Grounded Theory Methodology -
An Overview," In Handbook of Qualitative Research,
N. K. Denzin and Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Sage Publications,
Thousand Oaks, 1994, pp. 273-285.
Strauss, Anselm and Juliet Corbin (eds.). Grounded
Theory in Practice. London: Sage Publications, 1997.
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