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Grounded theory in software engineering research: a critical review and guidelines

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dc.contributor.author Stol, Klaas-Jan
dc.contributor.author Ralph, Paul
dc.contributor.author Fitzgerald, Brian
dc.date.accessioned 2016-12-15T12:46:46Z
dc.date.available 2016-12-15T12:46:46Z
dc.date.issued 2016
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10344/5396
dc.description peer-reviewed en_US
dc.description.abstract Grounded Theory (GT) has proved an extremely useful research approach in several fields including medical sociology, nursing, education and management theory. However, GT is a complex method based on an inductive paradigm that is fundamentally different from the traditional hypothetico-deductive research model. As there are at least three variants of GT, some ostensibly GT research suffers from method slurring, where researchers adopt an arbitrary subset of GT practices that are not recognizable as GT. In this paper, we describe the variants of GT and identify the core set of GT practices. We then analyze the use of grounded theory in software engineering. We carefully and systematically selected 98 articles that mention GT, of which 52 explicitly claim to use GT, with the other 46 using GT techniques only. Only 16 articles provide detailed accounts of their research procedures. We offer guidelines to improve the quality of both conducting and reporting GT studies. The latter is an important extension since current GT guidelines in software engineering do not cover the reporting process, despite good reporting being necessary for evaluating a study and informing subsequent research. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Association for Computing Machinery en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries ICSE '16 Proceedings of the 38th International Conference on Software Engineering;pp. 120-131
dc.relation.uri http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2884781.2884833
dc.rights © ACM, 2016. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published inICSE '16 Proceedings of the 38th International Conference on Software Engineering, pp. 120-131, http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2884781.2884833 en_US
dc.subject grounded theory en_US
dc.subject software engineering en_US
dc.subject review en_US
dc.subject guidelines en_US
dc.title Grounded theory in software engineering research: a critical review and guidelines en_US
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/conferenceObject en_US
dc.type.supercollection all_ul_research en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_published_reviewed en_US
dc.identifier.doi 10.1145/2884781.2884833
dc.contributor.sponsor SFI en_US
dc.contributor.sponsor IRC en_US
dc.relation.projectid 13/RC/2094 en_US
dc.relation.projectid IR/2013/0021 en_US
dc.rights.accessrights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess en_US


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