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Advantages & Disadvantages of Grounded Theory


To give a very brief definition of Grounded theory before we delve into the advantages and disadvantages of Grounded Theory, it is a qualitative research methodology that aims to construct hypotheses and theories through the collection and analysis of data. Grounded Theory is mainly used to uncover social relationships and behaviours of groups. 

Now that we have the definition out of the way, let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of Grounded Theory

Advantages of Grounded Theory

Fosters Creativity: One of the main advantages of Grounded Theory is that it does start with testing an existing hypothesis, but encourages using data and analyzing it to come up with concepts and theories. Researchers are also recommended to ensure they do prevent biases from affecting research, thereby encouraging critical thinking as well. 

Systematic Data Analysis Approach: Grounded Theory is a systematic approach to data analysis. It generates a theory from data that is obtained from social research. Comparatively, other qualitative research methods rely on a broad set of principles, not a systematic approach of data analysis. 

Rich Data: Grounded Theory requires researchers to collect detailed and in-depth data. Researchers are encouraged to collect ‘multiple views’ from participants as well as views of a diverse set of participants. This approach ensures that findings do not remain surface level, but delve deeper to put light on previously unobtainable views. 

Disadvantages of Grounded Theory

Time Consuming & Complex: The process of Grounded Theory is exhaustive and difficult to conduct. New Researchers can get inundated with the level of coding required for the process, as open coding is time consuming and tiring. Given that coding required for Grounded Theory is complex, there is also a danger of new researchers losing sight of the task of discovering patterns in the data. To add to it, Grounded Theory also tends to produce huge amounts of data, often making it difficult to manage. 

Multiple Approaches: Generally speaking, there are multiple approaches to grounded theory. To add to that, there are also no standard rules to follow for the identification of categories and the presentations of research findings in grounded theory is also not straightforward. 

Researcher Bias: One of the biggest disadvantages of grounded theory is the possibility of researcher induced bias. To avoid this, researchers must ensure they do not let their preconceived notions influence their findings. If they come to a conclusion that contradicts with a preconceived notion, they should willingly accept it. 

Advantages of Grounded TheoryDisadvantages of Grounded Theory
Fosters Creativity & Critical ThinkingTime Consuming & Complex
Systematic Approach to Data AnalysisMultiple Approaches
Richness in DataResearcher Bias can creep in
Advantages and Disadvantages Of Grounded Theory

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Advantages & Disadvantages of Grounded Theory
The advantages of grounded theory are that it fosters creativity & critical thinking, is a systematic approach to data analysis, and has rich data. The disadvantage of grounded theory is that it is time-consuming and complex, has multiple approaches, and researcher bias can creep in.
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