Institute for the Advancement of Classic Grounded Theory

IACGT provides community, support and resources for researchers and authors working with classic grounded theory.

The primary mission of IACGT is to build and support an online community of researchers across all academic disciplines who are interested in learning about and conducting classic grounded theory research. IACGT is dedicated to providing support and resources to researchers worldwide using classic grounded theory. In doing so, we will be focusing on the work of Barney Glaser and Anslem Strauss (1965), the subsequent work of Barney Glaser, and other researchers and authors who align with classic grounded theory.


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What is classic grounded theory?

Grounded theory was developed as a research method by Glaser and Strauss during their seminal study on death and dying at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in the mid-1960s. Following their study, they wrote The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research (1967) to explain the method. Glaser and Strauss later parted ways over methodological differences, but Glaser continued to publish on the original version, now referred to as classic grounded theory (also sometimes referred to as Glaserian, classic, classical, or orthodox grounded theory).

Glaser (1978) stated that grounded theory is a research method “based on the systemic generating of theory from data, that itself is systematically obtained from social research” (p. 2). Thus, classic grounded theory is a research method used to generate an inductive theory from the analysis of data that has been systematically collected from the area of study. Both qualitative and quantitative data can be used. There are six iterative steps to conducting a classic grounded theory study: preparation, data collection, data analysis, memoing, sorting and theoretical outline, and writing up the theory. The resulting theory explains a pattern behavior that resolves a primary concern of participants within the area being studied. The resulting theory fits the data, making it relevant to and work within the area of study.  It is also generalizable to other situations that are theoretically similar.

Glaser, B. G. (1978). Advances in the methodology of grounded theory: Theoretical sensitivity. Sociology Press.