Constructivist Grounded Theory Explained


The systematic methodology that is used in the field of social sciences to construct a theory by using data analysis is referred to as the Grounded theory, which is often abbreviated at “GT.” Instead of operating through a deductive approach, the methodology uses an inductive approach.

Grounded theory relies on a question being asked so that data can be collected. It can also begin if qualitative data exists. Then, as data is created, collected, and repeated, certain elements and concepts become apparent. These elements and concepts are then coded and then grouped into specific categories.

When enough information is categorized, then a new theory can be developed.

There are several splits in methodology and methods that can be found. One of them is referred to as the constructivist grounded theory.

What Is the Constructivist Grounded Theory and How Does It Differ?

The constructivist grounded theory is one that is rooted in pragmatism and realism. It assumes that the data being collected is constructed by the researcher. The interactions of the researcher within their field and any participants involved form the foundation of the data that is collected.

It differs from other forms of grounded theory because it assumes that the unconscious bias of the researcher and the participants are found within the data. That means any perspectives, positions, privileges, and ethical values are found within the data, emphasizing the realism component of the grounded theory.

A reality is still formed from the data and it can be categorized to form new theories. The theories are treated in a way that expects multiple perspectives to come from the same data, allowing for multiple theories to form.

It does not expect there to be a “one true path” within the data.

Why Perspective Is an Important Part of the Constructivist Grounded Theory

Let’s apply grounded theory to the religion of Christianity. Many people have studied the Bible. Those who believe in what it says have collected data through their personal questioning of the manuscript to discover a pathway to faith.

Each person then seeks out to worship God based on their interpretation of the data they could glean out of the Bible.

In this religion, you will find 6 major ecclesiastical and cultural blocks that are present. These blocks are then separated into 300 ecclesiastical traditions. The traditions are then separate into over 33,000 distinct denominations in the 200+ countries of the world, according to data provided by the World Christian Encyclopedia.

Some estimates place the number of denominations in Christianity above 50,000.

Each denomination represents a specific interpretation of the Bible. Each person within that denomination, or even a person who associates with Christianity, but not a specific denomination, feels like they have created a theory which represents the “one true way” to find God.

The grounded theory would suggest that each theory should be treated independently and that only one of them is actually correct. The data from the tens of thousands of denominations would need to be analyzed and then categorized to form the foundation of one single theory that is born from Biblical observation. This would create one “true” denomination for everyone to follow.

The constructivist grounded theory, because it allows for personal interpretation and bias to be present from the researcher and participants, would look at the results differently. It would say that any of the tens of thousands of interpretations are correct. Each is treated as an individualized theory that falls within the scope of Christianity. Instead of one “true” way for everyone, there is one “true” way for anyone.

That is why perspective is such an important part of the constructivist grounded theory. It allows for a focus to be placed on the procedure instead of on the discipline. It removes the limitations that can be in place from a specific form of data collection.

Is the Constructivist Grounded Theory Beneficial?

What makes the constructivist grounded theory useful is that it is not tied to a pre-existing theory. It allows for ideas that are new, fresh, and innovative so discoveries can be made.

It also provides guidelines for conducting research, offers strategies to handle the data that is collected, and streamlines the processes required to categorize the data so that new theories can be developed.

As a final benefit, there is a certain ecological validity that occurs with constructivist grounded theory. It makes it possible for research data to be reflective of reality settings so that observations, even if they are abstract, can be detailed and contextually specific to the data that was obtained.

The constructivist grounded theory opens the door to new ideas. That’s why fully understanding this process is so beneficial to the world of social sciences.