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Keywords:

  • qualitative studies;
  • phenomenology;
  • grounded theory;
  • research methodology;
  • interviews;
  • health care research

Interviewing in phenomenology and grounded theory: is there a difference?

This paper explores the differences and similarities that may exist in respect of using the interview method in phenomenological and grounded theory methodologies. Baker et al. set out to differentiate between method in grounded theory and phenomenology and concluded that it was essential to ensure that the method matches the research question being asked. However, the paper, whilst clear in intent to differentiate between the methodologies of phenomenology and grounded theory, does little to help the researcher in the differences that may exist in carrying out such research using the same method, that is, interviewing. Interviewing has become synonymous with qualitative research and may become the accepted method of data collection irrespective of methodology. We postulate that the interview as a method of data collection may be inconsistent with the underlying principles of the methodology (phenomenology or grounded theory). Should this be the case then the interview as a means of collecting data may be viewed as generic and lack a clear connection to the methodological framework. Such a position could be consistent with a critique of qualitative nursing research on the grounds of rigour.