Using Grounded Theory to Discover Threshold Concepts in Transformative Learning Experiences

Theory and Method in Higher Education Research

ISBN: 978-1-78635-895-0, eISBN: 978-1-78635-894-3

ISSN: 2056-3752

Publication date: 22 October 2016

Abstract

This chapter explores the potential of grounded theory research methods for eliciting threshold concepts. It begins with an overview of threshold concept theory, then reviews current methodological approaches, as well as challenges encountered, when researching threshold concepts. The discussion argues for the suitability of grounded theory for this purpose, using a specific case for illustration. Specific elements of the research design that strengthened the use of grounded theory in the exploration of threshold concepts are described. The case example used is of graduate students and practicing professionals’ learning experiences when acquiring expertise in the online environment. The case is used to demonstrate the grounded theory method’s efficacy for eliciting evidence of transformative learning experiences, leading to implications for improving curriculum design.

Citation

M. Tucker, V., Bruce, C. and L. Edwards, S. (2016), "Using Grounded Theory to Discover Threshold Concepts in Transformative Learning Experiences", Theory and Method in Higher Education Research (Theory and Method in Higher Education Research, Vol. 2), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 23-46. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2056-375220160000002001

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016 Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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