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Rocking reflexivity in Grounded Theory research

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Methodology Matters - FHEMS PGR Summer Workshop, Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, 23 June 2020.

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Rocking reflexivity in Grounded Theory research

  1. 1. Rocking Reflexivity in Grounded Theory Research A methodological development Nieky van Veggel MSc
  2. 2. Background • Research focuses on how course leaders in a small- specialist HEI experience using evidence in their role. • Limited to no evidence currently exists (van Veggel & Howlett (2018)) • Building evidence-base from scratch  grounded theory
  3. 3. Selected methodology • Classic grounded theory
  4. 4. Researcher position • Employed at Writtle University College • Course manager • Evidence-based vet practice methodologist • Insider researcher • Interviewing colleagues in similar roles • Colleagues with more and less experience • Deliver EBP staff development for colleagues
  5. 5. Insider bias • As an insider-researcher you are a source of bias • Biased research justification • Biased research design • Biased data collection • Biased data analysis • Biased outcome reporting … as long as it is addressed appropriately.  Reflexivity is key this is not a bad thing…
  6. 6. Reflexivity in insider research • Reflexivity is the examination of one’s own beliefs, judgements and practices during the research process and their influence on the research • Reflexive research practice develops transparency (Engward & Davis 2015) • As an insider, how do you as a source of bias affect the process and the project? • Once recognised, how do you acknowledge this explicitly? • Normally, this is done in a narrative, somewhat disconnected way
  7. 7. Tension between reflexivity and GT • Criticisms of grounded theory • Is the theory really grounded? • Can GT really be objective? • What about researcher preconception? • Does being an insider researcher make this different?
  8. 8. Tension between reflexivity and GT • Not all GT is the same (Levers, 2013) • Role of the researcher in GT • Researcher must remain open to patterns identified and of the impact of their own preconceptions • Process managed differently (O’Connor et al., 2018) • Charmaz and Corbyn & Strauss advocate reflexivity • Glaser says reflexivity is not necessary as GT process deals with this
  9. 9. Purpose & practice of self-interview • Asking yourself the same questions you ask your participants will allow you to analyse your answers through a reflexive lens • This process will allow a critical analysis of researcher bias, directly linked to the research process, and make it explicitly clear how this bias has affected the research • Self-interview is currently not used in qualitative research • I am testing it as a contribution to grounded theory methodology
  10. 10. Purpose & practice of self-interview • Ask an experienced interviewer to use your interview schedule to interview you. • Experienced: better data, make interview their own • External interviewer: prevents prediction  variations in style • Analyse your answers to questions through a reflexive lens • Use the analysis to explain your researcher bias
  11. 11. Contribution to knowledge • Pragmatically, process to address the role of the researcher should be somewhere inbetween • How to be reflexive in GT is not clear (Engward & Davis, 2015) • Critical analysis of self interview allows reflexivity and acknowledgement of bias (Charmaz 2014) • Self-interview is “just another source of data” (Glaser, 2007) • It is an explicit method to increase research transparency, which leads to better research practice, which leads to increased credibility.
  12. 12. Acknowledgements This work is part-funded through a Writtle University College Learning and Development Fund Grant I’d like to thank Dr Sally Goldspink for supporting the self- interview and the constructive methodological discussions.
  13. 13. Questions? Thank you! nieky.van-veggel@pgr.anglia.ac.uk @Nieky_WUC www.niekyvanveggel.eu
  14. 14. References • Charmaz, K. (2014). Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis (2nd edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. • Glaser, B.G. (2007) All Is Data. Grounded Theory Review. 6(2). • Levers M-J.D. (2013) Philosophical paradigms, grounded theory, and perspectives on emergence. Sage Open 3,4. DOI: 10.1177/2158244013517243. • van Veggel, N. and Howlett, P. (2018) Course leadership in small-specialist UK higher education - a review. International Journal of Educational Management, 32, 7, 1174–1183.

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