Methodological conundrums: Confessions of a latent grounded theorist

Year: 2005

Author: Flint, Nerilee

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper has been developed from a study that is investigating undergraduate tertiary students' perceptions of the fairness of educational assessment. Whilst most academics have an idea of what they think constitutes fairness in assessment they possibly do not know or appreciate what the students think. Indeed, what are the students' perceptions? More than this, how do you take such varied opinions and make sense of them? Grounded theory, Glaserian style (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Glaser 1978, 1996, 1998, 2003) has helped me to make sense of what students are saying about fairness in assessment.

This paper focuses on the methodological approach I have used in addressing the topic. It makes explicit what grounded theory is and is not. The paper describes the convoluted process I went through as a researcher attempting grounded theory for the first time and what I would do if beginning again. The presentation provides some suggestions for people wishing to avoid the pitfalls and work in the exciting world of grounded theory.

Those interested in grounded theory, fairness in educational assessment, and the confessions of an at times very bemused PhD candidate might find this paper interesting.