Grounded Theory (GT) researchers have been using adaptations of this methodology to serve theory building purposes, following different theoretical frameworks. However, there is a lack of enough information on the variation of GT used, or their epistemological assumptions in some studies. The purpose of this paper is to provide our experience in a GT study using a modified convergent interviewing technique to help guide other researchers on using this method and build their own research design. We have combined a decision-making technique, called Delphi, with convergent interviewing and provided a clear explanation of the steps required to apply this method in a GT research study. To help other researchers, justifications made to choose convergent interviewing in this GT study, and the proposed adaptation are explained in detail. The method used resulted in a more efficient data collection and analysis stage in the main author’s PhD study, that aimed to find main issues in a Health Information Technology innovation development by interviewing key informants. The case for this study was about using Information Technology in health care (e.g., computerised medical records for sharing patient care among clinicians in different services). The GT methodology and the proposed interviewing method can be used in the development processes of other innovations where the main issues or events need to be determined and generate relevant theory. There is potential in the proposed method to improve theory building studies by providing explicit theoretical and methodological decisions of this study.


Grounded Theory, Convergent Interviewing, Health Information Technology

Author Bio(s)

Elica Safari Mehr is a PhD in Health Sciences from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Her PhD research was in health-IT, focusing on innovation development, and leadership of change, brought about by innovations. Elica got her BA in Biomedical Engineering and then became interested in Health-IT when she was doing her Maters in Information Technology. Her Master’s thesis was about adoption of health-IT applications among healthcare professionals. Her research interest now includes leadership of innovations, and Grounded Theory methodology. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: e.mehr@auckland.ac.nz.

Peter Carswell is a Senior Lecturer in Health Management and a practicing organisational psychologist. His research and practice focus on the implementation of health care interventions that cross organisational settings. He regularly works in partnership with health care professionals to design and implement models of care that address long term chronic conditions. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: p.carswell@auckland.ac.nz.

Karen Day is a Senior Lecturer at The University of Auckland and is the Director of Postgraduate Studies in Health Informatics at the School of Population Health. Dr Day is a nurse and midwife, with a BA in public health and health services management. Her Masters was in managed care for people with long term health issues, and her PhD in Information Systems was about change management linked to health IT projects using a combination of Grounded Theory and Action Research. Her research interests now lie in the “patient’s voice” and how people use information technologies for self-care of long term health issues, using a Grounded Theory approach. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: k.day@auckland.ac.nz.

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