Sifting, sorting and saturating data in a grounded theory study of information use by practice nurses: A worked example

Authors

  • Karen J Hoare PhD,

    Senior Lecturer, Corresponding author
    • School of Nursing and Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
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  • Jane Mills PhD,

    Senior Lecturer
    1. Deputy Head of School Cairns Campus, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Nutrition, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
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  • Karen Francis PhD

    Head of School of Nursing
    1. Midwifery and Indigenous Health, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia
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Correspondence: Karen J. Hoare, Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care and School of Nursing, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92,019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand. Email: k.hoare@auckland.ac.nz

Abstract

The terminology used to analyse data in a grounded theory study can be confusing. Different grounded theorists use a variety of terms which all have similar meanings. In the following study, we use terms adopted by Charmaz including: initial, focused and axial coding. Initial codes are used to analyse data with an emphasis on identifying gerunds, a verb acting as a noun. If initial codes are relevant to the developing theory, they are grouped with similar codes into categories. Categories become saturated when there are no new codes identified in the data. Axial codes are used to link categories together into a grounded theory process. Memo writing accompanies this data sifting and sorting. The following article explains how one initial code became a category providing a worked example of the grounded theory method of constant comparative analysis. The interplay between coding and categorization is facilitated by the constant comparative method.

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