9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN20 Qualitative Methods

2009-09-03 15:30:00 2009-09-03 17:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 15:30 - 17:00 Conversational Analysis and Grounded Theory Building II, C2.01

Discovering pragmatism, discovering method. Between Grounded Theory and methodology of social sciences

The paper address the question about (1) implications of Grounded Theory for social sciences in the area of research methodology and social theory development, (2) and also the question whether new findings in sociology can contribute to any improvements or conclusions in GT. The inquiries results in a proposition of connecting GT with wider pragmatic methodology, basing on the pragmatic philosophy of Charles S. Peirce.
Nowadays GT is one of the most developed research methods. An important fields of discussions regards the logic of GT and the role of abduction in the process of development of theory. Those issues can be combined with more general question concerning the model of methodology for social sciences and attempts of creating more unified methodological paradigm.
The presentation shortly refers to pragmatism of Charles S. Peirce and his methodological approach to result in reflection about pragmatic character of GT, the role of abductive reasoning and the consequences of its conscious use. GT is an excellent exemplification of the abduction process, what is frequently emphasized in the newest literature. Abduction enables to keep the process of theory development clear and conscious, preserving its flexibility at the same time. The awareness of abductive logic of GT deals also with some important problems, for example: the role, place and way of development of theory, ?open minded? vs ?empty headed? dilemma, namely the possibility to minimize pre-conceptualizations, and the role of intuition in research inquiry.
The most important part of presentation is a reflection on the possibility of connecting GT with wider pragmatic methodology, basing on the Peirce philosophy, which is a very promising model for social sciences in the field of empirical studies and theory development. In this perspective it is explained what connects GT with i.e. evaluation methodology, Bayesian statistic, artificial intelligence or even Paul Lazarsfeld?s researches. What are the schemes and element that GT can offer to the general sociology? What can be implemented in GT as a result of assuming pragmatic paradigm? The conclusion of this part contains an attempt of broadening previous GT borders and setting of new, not necessarily qualitative, grounded approach.