Grounded Theory (GT) is an innovative research methodology, consisting of three prevailing traditions: Classic, Straussian, and Constructivist GT. Despite arising from the same root, and sharing a number of the original methodological techniques, Classic, Straussian, and Constructivist GT have nevertheless diverged to such an extent that they are neither homogenous nor interchangeable methodologies. They are differentiated by contrasting philosophical frameworks and conflicting methodological directives. Through a careful analysis of the literature, the authors propose that the incongruity of the three GT traditions hinges on three principal and paramount demarcations: Firstly, their contending coding procedures; secondly, their opposing philosophical positions; and thirdly, their conflicting use of literature. The authors argue that these three areas of contention represent the quintessential distinction between the three GT traditions. Accordingly, this article will illustrate and contrast the contending coding conventions, uncover the underlying philosophical positions, and explore the contrasting uses of literature embedded within Classic, Straussian, and Constructivist GT.


Classic Grounded Theory, Straussian Grounded Theory, Constructivist Grounded Theory, Coding, Framework, Research Philosophy, Paradigms, Methodology, Differences between Grounded Theories, Grounded Theory Diagrams, Literature Reviews, Use of Literature

Author Bio(s)

Méabh Kenny is a PhD student under the supervision of Dr Robert Fourie in University College Cork (UCC), Ireland. Méabh has a background in Social Work and her PhD is entitled: A qualitative analysis of parental coping following early diagnosis of hearing loss in Ireland. Méabh has selected Straussian Grounded Theory as her chosen methodology for this research. In the same way that the classical composer Johann Sebastian Bach inscribed SDG (an acronym for Sola Dei Gloria) at the end of his manuscripts, Meabh works with the aspiration that her work would sing the same praise. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Méabh Kenny at, meabh.kenny@gmail.com.

Robert Fourie is a speech and language therapist and audiologist who is a full-time lecturer at University College Cork (UCC). He has a bachelor’s degree in speech and language therapy, a master’s degree audiology and a PhD in applied psychology. He has worked as a paediatric audiologist and also has speech and language therapist for Deaf and hard of hearing children.

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