On Emergence and Forcing in Information Systems Grounded Theory Studies: The Case of Strauss and Corbin

  • Stefan Seidel
  • Cathy Urquhart


Grounded theory method (GTM) (Glaser and Strauss, 1967; Strauss and Corbin, 1990; Charmaz, 2006) is characterized by the continuous interplay between the collection and analysis of data in order to generate theory that is firmly grounded in empirical phenomena (Glaser and Strauss, 1967; Strauss and Corbin, 1998). The method is now an accepted research approach in the information systems (IS) discipline (Urquhart et al., 2010; Matavire and Brown, 2011). That said, there are many debates around the application of GTM, and the method is contested (Duchscher and Morgan, 2004; Bryant and Charmaz, 2007). Important debates relate to the underlying epistemology (Mills et al., 2006), role of prior theory (Jones and Noble, 2007), and coding procedures (Kelle, 2007). As a result, there are now different strands of GTM, which differ in various aspects, including induction, deduction, and verification (Heath and Cowley, 2004; Matavire and Brown, 2011). Bryant and Charmaz (2007) argue strongly that GTM can be seen as a ‘family of methods’, and we would concur with that view. Mills et al. (2006) write that GTM ‘can be seen as a methodological spiral that begins with Glaser and Strauss’ original text and continues today’ (p. 25). Specifically, they use the terms ‘traditional’ and ‘evolved’ in order to distinguish the work of Glaser from that of Strauss, the two co-founders of the method.


Information System Ground Theory Axial Code Paradigm Model Information System Research 
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© Association for Information Technology Trust 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan Seidel
    • 1
  • Cathy Urquhart
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Information SystemsUniversity of LiechtensteinVaduzLiechtenstein
  2. 2.Manchester Metropolitan University Business SchoolManchester Metropolitan UniversityManchesterUK

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