Interpretation-driven guidelines for designing and evaluating grounded theory research: A pragmatic-social justice approach

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This chapter is meant as guidance for not only investigators designing qualitative research projects but for reviewers assessing manuscripts using qualitative methods. An interpretation-driven approach to design and review of qualitative research is proposed as an alternative to the approach of setting in stone rules that consist of procedure-driven prescriptions. It walks the reader through the process of considering the design of an individual study and its coherence with the epistemology of the researcher(s). This approach emphasizes the centrality of the role of interpretation that is best evaluated in relation to an epistemology, within the context of the specific study characteristics, and in service of the scientific, practice, and/or social justice goals at hand. It presents context-sensitive guidelines for researchers and reviewers to use in designing and evaluating qualitative research studies. Within the chapter, there is a specific focus on grounded theory (e.g., Glaser and Strauss, The discovery of grounded theory. Aldine, Chicago, 1967); however, many of the principles put forward to guide study design and research review may be relevant across qualitative methods.


Chapter in Psychotherapy Research – Foundations, Process, and Outcome (Springer), edited by Omar C.G. Gelo, Alfred Pritz, and Bernd Rieken.