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Grounded Theory

Grounded Theory
A Practical Guide

Second Edition
Additional resources:

February 2015 | 208 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

This highly practical book introduces the whole range of grounded theory approaches, providing a comprehensive description of the strategies and techniques employed in this methodology. Unlike most existing books in this area, it is not written from a particular philosophical standpoint, and is the ideal first introduction for any student or researcher looking to use grounded theory in their analysis for the first time.


Birks and Mills’ accessible and highly-readable text is driven by practical case examples throughout to help the reader get to grips with the process of doing grounded theory analysis for themselves. The book deploys a variety of educational activities to guide readers through both the principles and the application of grounded theory, making this an ideal starter text for those new to the approach.


This updated Second Edition:

  • guides the reader through each step of the grounded theory process
  • clearly explains how to memo effectively, using examples
  • includes a chapter which explains the difference between data generation and collection
  • features information on how to use digital resources to manage data
  • discusses the philosophy and ethics of grounded theory within the qualitative paradigm.
Chapter 1: Essentials of Grounded Theory
Chapter 2: Planning a Grounded Theory study
Chapter 3: Quality Processes in Grounded Theory Research
Chapter 4: Positioning the Researcher in a Grounded Theory Study
Chapter 5: Data Generation and Collection
Chapter 6: Data Analysis in Grounded Theory
Chapter 7: Theoretical Integration
Chapter 8: Presenting a Grounded Theory
Chapter 9: Evaluation and Application of Grounded Theory
Chapter 10: Situating Grounded Theory in the Context of Current Debate


Click for online resources

Free resources on the companion website:

  • A practice coding activity
  • Quizzes to accompany each chapter
  • Windows into grounded theory
  • Word games and glossary activities
  • A planning and thesis checklist
  • Links to free SAGE journal articles 
  • Links to suggested videos and websites 
  • PowerPoint slides 

excellent outline and extremely useful section on 'how to choose questions'. A must for those using GT

Dr Lyndsey Therese Moon
Department of Psychology, University of Roehampton
March 15, 2016

very good introductory overview volume

Professor Xenia Zeiler
Department of World Cultures, University of Helsinki
February 25, 2016

Clearly written, accessible, and as the title suggests, practical.

Dr Georgia Philip
School of Social Work, University of East Anglia
February 10, 2016

valuable resource for for undergraduate students

Professor Xenia Zeiler
Department of World Cultures, University of Helsinki
January 29, 2016

Again this is an excellent all round book that is very useful for the fundamentals of grounded theory. I will recommend this book to my dissertation students, however it is not a book that i can adopt as it will only used by specific students who are looking at Ground Theory

Mr Nick White
Education, Sheffield Hallam University
November 13, 2015

really very useful for debunking the mystique of grounded theory for new doctoral students

Department of Peace Studies, Bradford University
October 20, 2015

A well written textbook which clearly provides a practical gudie to applying grounded theory.

Mr Michael Parsons
Faculty of Business and Society, University of South Wales
September 19, 2015

My students do quite a lot of small research projects, with different methods. Grounded Theory is for most of them a black box. And let's face it: most publications on Grounded Theory are not really practical or give you a view in the kitchen. This book does. In less than 200 pages it provides practical guidelines for doing GT. And not in the second place, it lets students think about their position as a researcher in a grounded theory study.

Dr Willem Koetsenruijter
Journalism and New Media, Leiden University
September 14, 2015

This book provides a useful overview of the developments in grounded theory, particularly around the rather complex processes. Students using grounded theory, either in itself or within mixed methods can underpin their discussions with the help of this text. I recommend this text for them

Dr Brid Connolly
Department of adult and community education , National University
September 4, 2015

Was not relevant enough

Miss Kathryn Bould
Dental Institute, King's College London
July 2, 2015
  • An explanation of how to memo effectively
  • A new chapter which explains the difference between data generation and collection
  • Information on how to use digital resources to manage data
  • Discussion of the philosophy and ethics of grounded theory within the qualitative paradigm.

Preview this book

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 2: Planning a Grounded Theory Study