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Is it really theoretical? A review of sampling in grounded theory studies in nursing journals

McCrae, N. and Purssell, E. ORCID: 0000-0003-3748-0864 (2016). Is it really theoretical? A review of sampling in grounded theory studies in nursing journals. Journal Of Advanced Nursing, 72(10), pp. 2284-2293. doi: 10.1111/jan.12986

Abstract

Background
Grounded theory is a distinct method of qualitative research, where core features are theoretical sampling and constant comparative analysis. However, inconsistent application of these activities has been observed in published studies.

Aim
This review assessed the use of theoretical sampling in grounded theory studies in nursing journals.

Design
An adapted systematic review was conducted.

Method
Three leading nursing journals (2010–2014) were searched for studies stating grounded theory as the method. Sampling was assessed using a concise rating tool.

Results
A high proportion (86%) of the 134 articles described an iterative process of data collection and analysis. However, half of the studies did not demonstrate theoretical sampling, with many studies declaring or indicating a purposive sampling approach throughout.

Conclusion
Specific reporting guidelines for grounded theory studies should be developed to ensure that study reports describe an iterative process of fieldwork and theoretical development.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: McCrae, N. & Purssell, E. ( 2016) Is it really theoretical? A review of sampling in grounded theory studies in nursing journals. Journal of Advanced Nursing 72( 10), 2284– 2293., which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/jan.12986. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
Publisher Keywords: Grounded theory, research methods, qualitative research, theoretical sampling, nursing research
Subjects: R Medicine > RT Nursing
Departments: School of Health Sciences > Nursing
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/22155
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