on April 8, 2004
Karen Locke manages, in a little over 100 pages, to simultaneously explain grounded theory, document its roots, show the conditions under which it can be used, and still maintain a critical stance toward it! She includes an extensive discussion of Barry Turner's work on disaster; an account of Glaser & Straus's procedure called 'coding,' unpacks the various varieties of grounded theory (there's not just one!), and shows great familiarity with the French influences on American social science in the past several decades.
Although she doesn't say it, her discussion implies that grounded theory is best learned from a mentor, when a novice is in an apprentice's role. My impression from some purported 'grounded theory' papers I've read in the past few years is that some junior scholars invoke it as a way of avoiding the hard work of doing what Glaser & Straus (& their followers) showed is really required to achieve a scholarly product. Some young scholars I've spoken with see it as a short cut, rather than as a serious & rigorous method in its own right. Locke does a great job of indicating how time consuming serious grounded theory work can be.
This is a great book for people just starting to think about doing grounded theory building.