Grounded theory in software engineering research: a critical review and guidelines

Show simple item record Stol, Klaas-Jan Ralph, Paul Fitzgerald, Brian 2018-10-24T11:21:55Z 2018-10-24T11:21:55Z 2016-05
dc.identifier.citation Stol, K.-J., Ralph, P. and Fitzgerald, B. (2016) 'Grounded theory in software engineering research: a critical review and guidelines', ICSE '16: Proceedings of the 38th International Conference on Software Engineering, 14-22 May, Austin, Texas, 2884833: ACM, pp. 120-131. doi: 10.1145/2884781.2884833 en
dc.identifier.startpage 120 en
dc.identifier.endpage 131 en
dc.identifier.isbn 978-1-4503-3900-1
dc.identifier.doi 10.1145/2884781.2884833
dc.description.abstract Grounded Theory (GT) has proved an extremely useful research approach in several fields including medical sociology, nursing, education and management theory. However, GT is a complex method based on an inductive paradigm that is fundamentally different from the traditional hypothetico-deductive research model. As there are at least three variants of GT, some ostensibly GT research suffers from method slurring, where researchers adopt an arbitrary subset of GT practices that are not recognizable as GT. In this paper, we describe the variants of GT and identify the core set of GT practices. We then analyze the use of grounded theory in software engineering. We carefully and systematically selected 98 articles that mention GT, of which 52 explicitly claim to use GT, with the other 46 using GT techniques only. Only 16 articles provide detailed accounts of their research procedures. We offer guidelines to improve the quality of both conducting and reporting GT studies. The latter is an important extension since current GT guidelines in software engineering do not cover the reporting process, despite good reporting being necessary for evaluating a study and informing subsequent research. en
dc.description.sponsorship Irish Research Council (New Foundations Scheme 2014); Enterprise Ireland (grant IR/2013/0021 to ITEA2-SCALARE (; Royal Irish Academy (Charlemont Award Programme) en
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) en
dc.relation.ispartof 38th International Conference on Software Engineering
dc.rights © ACM, 2016. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in ICSE '16 Proceedings of the 38th International Conference on Software Engineering, pp. 120-131, en
dc.subject Grounded Theory en
dc.subject Software engineering research en
dc.subject Software engineering en
dc.subject Grounded theory en
dc.title Grounded theory in software engineering research: a critical review and guidelines en
dc.type Conference item en
dc.internal.authorcontactother Klaas-Jan Stol, Computer Science, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland. +353-21-490-3000 Email: en
dc.internal.availability Full text available en 2018-10-03T20:49:09Z
dc.description.version Accepted Version en
dc.internal.rssid 410265651
dc.contributor.funder Science Foundation Ireland en
dc.contributor.funder Enterprise Ireland en
dc.contributor.funder Royal Irish Academy en
dc.description.status Peer reviewed en
dc.internal.copyrightchecked No !!CORA!! en
dc.internal.licenseacceptance Yes en
dc.internal.conferencelocation Austin, Texas en
dc.internal.IRISemailaddress en
dc.relation.project info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/SFI/SFI Research Centres/13/RC/2094/IE/Lero - the Irish Software Research Centre/ en

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