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Arthur John

Grounded Theory NUDIST 6 or NIVIO

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Hi

 

I need some advice before spending money. Which software is most suited to doing a grounded theory study? Is there a posting somewhere that I can read about this? Thanks

 

Arthur

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Hi

 

I need some advice before spending money.  Which software is most suited to doing  a grounded theory study?  Is there a posting somewhere that I can read about this?  Thanks

 

Arthur

 

Hi John and happy new year to you and all others on the forum.

 

Your question is interesting by inference but is rather devoid of specific clues about the extent to which you are 'au fait' with Grounded Theory. One might make the assumption is that you are very familiar with any one or all of the following:

 

(1) Grounded Theory in its original form a la Glaser and Strauss;

(2) The subsequent contributions of folk like Juliet Corbin who worked with Strauss;

(3) The splits that have gone on insofar as the debate about Grounded Theory is concerned; and

(4) The ways in which Corbin in particular has sought to bring some sense to the debate by writing cogently as recently as last year in a general methods text (which I do not have here at home with me at the moment).

 

Given that you are familiar with any one or more of the above, it follows that you will also realize that software, be it of the N6 variety, or the NVivo 2 genus, or even the soon to be released NVivo 7 version, can only ever serve as a tool for you to use in applying your knowledge of Grounded Theory.

 

So in a sense, the software will only ever be as good as the knowledge base of the user - or put another way - how well you use software as a tool in seeking to derive theory from data that you are torturing - oops - interpreting - is pretty much dependent upon how well you understand the qualitative research process and Grounded Theory to boot...

 

Now all of that sounds a trifle crass and a tad terse too and that is not my intention. In fact, I tend to hold the view that while qualitative researchers can and do draw conclusions from data; and can and do generate theory as a consequence of reviewing data iteratively, more often than not, they go into a situation expecting to test out the fallibility or otherwise of hunches that they have brought into the fray in the first instance. :)

 

In a sense, therefore, they are being 'deductive' rather than inductive and Popper's notions of falsifiability, whilst not necessarily brought to bear here, nevertheless warrant at least a glancing moment of consideration.

 

But I'll go even further out on a limb. I hold the view that while many researchers seldom actually 'do Grounded Theory' they often achieve what I would term to be 'grounded methodology'. :o What I mean here is what Miles and Huberman mainly referred to as changing procedures 'front-end first'. Researchers shift their approaches and foci to suit the stories that they are unraveling and they routinely do this as the story/ies and the inherent meaning/s within their opus become sleuthed (and I use the word sleuthed intentionally). ;)

 

So which to use - NVivo or N6? There are snippets in the archives (FAQs and History) and there are comparisons that have been made within the QSR website and in various other texts and also websites (CAQDAS for instance). It might be a good idea to have a peek-a-boo at these. But beyond that, have a thorough play with the demo version of each package. Over the years I've found that some folk take to N6 like a duck to water whereas others take to NVivo with similar ease. (And of course, some don't really take to either very well.) I suspect that the same will eventually hold true for NVivo 7 but time will tell on that score.

 

And how well researchers actually succeed in applying Grounded Theory approaches to an actual project, will, I believe, remain a function of how well the literature concerning and surrounding the Grounded Theory approach is known and understood. :P In tandem, successful application will also be related to how well researchers are able to harness their choice of a qualitative research tool in order to assist them in their in sense-making of the data from which they hope to extract and promote theory.

 

Finally - I realize that in 'going out on a limb', I might have been putting myself on the wrong side of where my chainsaw has been cutting! :( Perhaps I'm lopping off the branch to which I perilously cling and I might be completely on the outer insofar as your question is concerned (which logically means that I'm not on the inner side of chainsaw technology!). :o

 

But in reality, I often see people saying that they are 'doing a Grounded Theory project' when in reality, the methodology is not really being applied in the manner that I suspect Glaser and Strauss had originally intended. (Checking out the reasonableness or otherwise of my observation, may in fact, promote a rethink of what you want to do...) :rolleyes:

 

So cheers to you and very good luck in your pursuits of playing with the demo versions of the software. B) I suspect that you need to play in order to discover from experience which software package best suits you and the unique exigencies of your particular project – however these may be grounded! ;)

 

Cheers

 

Jens

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Just to top off some of Jens' advice, Arthur, I'd agree that the majority of researchers who say they are "doing grounded theory" aren't doing what the classic texts variously specify, but I also passionately believe that methods should never be ossified; they adapt to new opportunities and inter alia technologies.

Back to your "which software?" question, I think that for your method as for virtually any other, the task is to decide which techniques you most want help with. The ways in which Grounded Theory method can use software are very varied. You might get good ideas from Silvana's report of the workshop at the first Madison Teachers' Conference at http://www.latrobe.edu.au/aqr/index.php?op...id=20&Itemid=38.

And probably by the time you decide, NV7 will be there (it will be downloadable from the QSR website at the end of Feb.) So to address your "not wasting money" goal, my serious advice would be to do some preliminary research design work, specify what you want the software to be able to do and check out NV7 before you choose between the older products it's descended from.

cheers

Lyn

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Thanks for this Lynn - I have accessed Sialvan's article and am finding it really helpful so I appreciate that link. Also downloaded the Nvivo demo - I think I will opt to upgrade to Nvivo 7 but I'll take a day or two to 'play' with what I've got and then make the decision. Thanks again

 

Arthur (or actually mostly John!!) :)

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Dear Arthur (or actually mostly John!!) :),

Glad that helped. You can read details about NV7 on the website now. The Sage website for my Handling Qualitative Data will have tutorials in NV7 later this month (if i stop answering questions on the Forum...) I'm writing them carefully in parallel to the existing tutes on NV2, so folks like you wanting to compare can read the ways the different products support critical processes like coding and modeling. The software will be available for download end of Feb. And of course Tom and I are teaching it in the UK and US/Canada in March-April...

O and happy new year, everyone, and happy new stage!

cheers

Lyn

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