Challenges of the grounded theory approach to a novice researcher


Correspondence address: KaisaBackman Department of Nursing and Health Administration, University of Oulu, Box 5000, 90401 Oulu, Finland. Email:


The grounded theory approach has been used in nursing research since 1970. The latest methodological books describe the research process in detail. However, there are many problems involved in the grounded theory approach, which especially need to be considered by a novice researcher. One of these problems is the question of how deeply and widely the researcher should familiarize her- or himself with the research topic before the empirical study. The problems also include the need to focus the research problem and to choose the sampling method. Data analysis is a multistage process, which demands from the researcher both sensitivity and time to work out the findings which emerge from the data. In this paper, the grounded theory approach is described as a process undertaken by the novice researcher. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the challenges of the grounded theory approach and the problems encountered by a researcher using the method for the first time.