Although grounded theory and qualitative content analysis are similar in some respects, they differ as well; yet the differences between the two have rarely been made clear in the literature. The purpose of this article was to clarify ambiguities and reduce confusion about grounded theory and qualitative content analysis by identifying similarities and differences in the two based on a literature review and critical reflection on the authors’ own research. Six areas of difference emerged: (a) background and philosophical base, (b) unique characteristics of each method, (c) goals and rationale of each method, (d) data analysis process, (e) outcomes of the research, and (f) evaluation of trustworthiness. This article provides knowledge that can assist researchers and students in the selection of appropriate research methods for their inquiries.


Data Analysis, Grounded Theory, Qualitative Content Analysis, Qualitative Research, Research Method

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