Autobiographies written by those living with illness are readily available sources of data that can also aid in the development of a grounded theory. However, existing methodological guidelines do not provide support for the transparent and rigorous use of these texts. This paper describes a number of issues around the use of these texts, and provides an example of how autobiographies were used in a study conducted by the author. A set of steps that can be used by other grounded theorists considering the use of autobiographies as sources of data is provided, in an attempt to advance this aspect of the methodology.


Autobiography, Grounded Theory, Extant Data, Guidelines, Reflection

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Ravenek is an Assistant Professor in the School of Occupational Therapy at Western University. He uses grounded theory methodology to study the experiences of those living with chronic illness, especially in relation to health information and technology. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: mravene@uwo.ca.

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