A discussion of differences in preparation, performance and postreflections in participant observations within two grounded theory approaches

Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, Wiley, ISSN 0283-9318

Volume 31, 2, 2017

DOI:10.1111/scs.12353, Dimensions: pub.1020008479, PMID: 27163329,



  1. (1) Regional Hospital of Zealand Orthopaedic Department Køge Denmark
  2. (2) Aarhus University, grid.7048.b, AU
  3. (3) Copenhagen University Hospital Research Unit Copenhagen Denmark






This paper presents a discussion of the differences in using participant observation as a data collection method by comparing the classic grounded theory methodology of Barney Glaser with the constructivist grounded theory methodology by Kathy Charmaz. Participant observations allow nursing researchers to experience activities and interactions directly in situ. However, using participant observations as a data collection method can be done in many ways, depending on the chosen grounded theory methodology, and may produce different results. This discussion shows that how the differences between using participant observations in classic and constructivist grounded theory can be considerable and that grounded theory researchers should adhere to the method descriptions of performing participant observations according to the selected grounded theory methodology to enhance the quality of research.

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