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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Grounded Theory in Practice: A Discussion of Cases in Information Systems Research

Grounded Theory in Practice: A Discussion of Cases in Information Systems Research
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Author(s): Jorge Tiago Martins (The University of Sheffield, UK), Miguel Baptista Nunes (The University of Sheffield, UK), Maram Alajamy (The University of Sheffield, UK) and Lihong Zhou (Wuhan University, China)
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 19
Source title: Information Systems Research and Exploring Social Artifacts: Approaches and Methodologies
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Pedro Isaias (Portuguese Open University, Portugal) and Miguel Baptista Nunes (University of Sheffield, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2491-7.ch008


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A growing number of Information Systems (IS) research is drawing upon Grounded Theory (GT), as an inductive research methodology particularly suited to the development of theory that is grounded in rich socio-technical contexts that are understood through the analysis of data collected directly from those specific environments. Studies in IS are eminently applied research projects; therefore, GT seems the ideal approach to enable rich understandings and inductive explanatory theories on the socio-technical human activity systems studied by the discipline. Nevertheless, GT is still an underutilised methodology in IS and several scholars critique the scarcity of theories developed specifically to account for IS phenomena. This chapter makes a contribution to IS research through providing a discussion of GT’s application in the field by presenting an outline of the method’s modus operandi and a case-based overview of its use in three different IS research projects in the fields of patient knowledge sharing in healthcare environments, IS strategic planning in academic libraries, and E-Learning adoption. As the potential of GT for IS research remains to be maximized, the objective of this chapter is to counter the lack of explicit and well-informed views of GT use in this discipline, whilst sharing lessons learned from the use of the method in context-dependent interpretive studies.

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