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Adoption of grounded theory in LIS research

Yazdan Mansourian (Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 1 September 2006


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the implementations and implications of Grounded Theory as an exploratory and inductive research method in the LIS studies. The paper seeks to illustrate the opportunities and challenges that this methodology has brought to the methodological paradigms of LIS research body. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on two blended constituents including a selective literature review and the author's personal experience in using Grounded Theory. Regarding the paper's scope it possesses a holistic approach to the issue and does not examine the results of individual reviewed studies in detail. Findings – The results suggest that up to now there have been a considerable number of studies in the LIS area that have successfully employed Grounded Theory. Nevertheless, it does not mean that this methodology is applicable in any research context. Accordingly, there is not a unanimous agreement on the usefulness of this methodology in the research community. Nevertheless, these arguments not only did not diminish the value of Grounded Theory but also helped grounded theorists to enhance this methodology's credibility and trustfulness. Research limitations/implications – Regarding the wide use of Grounded Theory it was not possible to carry out an exhaustive review of all studies that have employed Grounded Theory. However, the reviewed studies in this paper can be considered as a representative of the targeted research body. Providing the research community with an overall image of the applicability of Grounded Theory in LIS research is the main implication of the paper. Future researchers will benefit from the paper by finding out about the nature of this methodology and the aspects that they need to consider before using it. Originality/value – Although Grounded Theory is a widely used methodology, there are few publications about its applicability in LIS research. Therefore, this paper can contribute to the area through providing a holistic picture of the role of this methodology in LIS research.



Mansourian, Y. (2006), "Adoption of grounded theory in LIS research", New Library World, Vol. 107 No. 9/10, pp. 386-402.



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