Qualitative research is an approach used extensively in social science, in which, methodologies such as Grounded Theory (GT) are developed and chosen by PhD students at the School widely.
Grounded theory is a methodology for developing theory that is grounded in systematically gathered and analysed data with the aim to explain a social process (Glaser and Strauss, 1967; Strauss and Corbin, 1994; Bryant and Charmaz, 2007; Charmaz, 2014). The challenges related to abstraction and theorising grounded in data, motivated a group of PhD students back in 2017 (i.e. Nikolaos Koukopoulos, Szu-Szu Ho, Catherine Clarissa, and Khairatul Azwa Binti Mohd Shamsuddin), to create the Grounded Theory Group. The group aimed to develop a platform of support, by sharing experiences and thoughts about GT methods among students, in order to develop a better understanding of the methodology.
Our first activity at the School was the GT Coffee and Concepts in April 2017, where the group officially was launched with the support of Dr Susanne Kean and Dr Ethel Quayle. The activity provided an exciting environment and opportunity for the audience to make questions, share experiences and concerns regarding the methodology and boost these activities as spaces of cooperation and discussion.
Our next big event was the GT Workshop with Dr Tony Bryant, a well-known academic and author of numerous books, among others Grounded Theory and Grounded Theorizing (2016) and Handbook of Grounded Theory (2007, 2014, 2019) which is co-authored with Dr Kathy Charmaz. The event received the support of the “Inspiring Students Award Grant” from our School, which allowed us to develop this exciting activity. The workshop covered an overview of Grounded Theory Methods through a combination of talks, discussions, and hands-on exercises.
Almost thirty participants attended the event from different disciplines of the University of Edinburgh, including attendees from the School of Health in Social Science, School of Social Political Science, Business School, School of Education, Medicine School, Geoscience School. In addition, some scholars came from the University of Stirling, Napier University, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, and Westminster University.
Through the last years, the group incorporated new members. The group works through monthly meetings and yearly events in which we discuss aspects such as data collection methods, fieldwork, use of software, ethics, and abduction when conducting GT methods. In 2019, we also included remote meetings using Skype, where fellows doing their data collection abroad joined us in the discussion.
The group was created as a safe, collaborative, and friendly environment to discuss and share our experiences. We invite you to join us and continue this platform of companionship, support, and collaboration. Although the group is focused on GT methods, the meetings also discuss good practice of qualitative research broadly, and therefore, we welcome everybody.
I would encourage all members of our School and UoE to join our monthly sessions and keep this group going.
As one of the co-founders, I’m almost finishing my thesis and I was delighted to be part of this amazing group. My deep appreciation to Clarissa, Nikos, Iris and Azwa for trusting in this idea and going forward. Also, my gratitude to Dr Susanne Kean and Dr Ethel Quayle for your support and encouragement through the years. For me, the group was a valuable resource of support, learning and development throughout my studies. I was able to work with and learn from amazing folks. Thank you.
Finally, as perhaps, some of you may know, a couple of weeks ago, Dr Kathy Charmaz, author of the seminal book Constructivist Grounded Theory (2014), passed away. My small tribute to her, who so kindly supported this initiative and my work personally.
If you have any questions and want to join the group, please drop us an email.
Keep safe and take care.