Applying Grounded Theory Methods to Library and User Assessment

Barbara Wildemuth


While grounded theory methods are most often used in the way their name implies (i.e., to develop theory) they can also be used for more applied research and assessment problems related to libraries, their users, and uses of them. This workshop will begin with a brief discussion of the ways in which grounded theory methods might be applied to library assessment problems, including an exercise allowing participants to practice aligning theory development goals and library assessment goals. It will continue by reviewing several of the core grounded theory methods, including the role of sensitizing concepts, simultaneous data collection and analysis, sources of data, identifying and recruiting an initial sample, coding, constant comparative method of analysis, memo writing, theoretical sampling, and integrating and presenting results. Several of these discussions will be accompanied by hands-on exercises, e.g., in observation, coding, and memo writing. The workshop will conclude by revisiting the issues associated with applying grounded theory methods to library and user/use assessment.



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