Grounded Theory Design: Definition, Advantages & Disadvantages

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  • 0:05 Qualitative Research
  • 1:31 Grounded Theory
  • 2:58 Strengths & Limitations
  • 4:43 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Everyone knows that a scientist has to develop a hypothesis before gathering data. But what if a scientist does it the other way around? In this lesson, we'll examine what grounded theory is and its strengths and weaknesses.

Qualitative Research

Heather is a psychologist who is interested in how video games and academics intersect. She's noticed that when kids play some types of video games a lot, they do better in school, but when they play other types of video games a lot, they do worse in school. She wonders why some video games seem to make students smarter and others seem to make them less smart.

Heather decides to do research into what elements of video games make kids smarter. The first step in research is to decide what type of research to do. One of the major types of research is qualitative research, which involves studying non-numerical data for answers to research questions.

So, maybe Heather decides that she wants to examine the games that seem to make kids better in school. She'll play with them, make notes, and see if she notices patterns in them. She'll also examine the other video games, the ones that lead to bad grades, to see what's different between them and the 'good grade' video games.

Since Heather's study involves examining video games, she won't end up with numerical data at the end of the study. Instead, she'll have a pile of notes that she took about each video game, which she'll have to interpret. This is the essence of qualitative research - she's looking at non-numerical data and interpreting what it means. Let's look closer at one type of qualitative research, grounded theory, and its strengths and limitations.

Grounded Theory

Okay, so Heather wants to examine the video games to see why some seem to make kids smarter and others don't. She knows that she's going to do qualitative research. But what's the next step?

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