Approaching grounded methodology
Professionals undertaking doctoral research have loyalties to their workplace, as well as deepening awareness of the need to develop research integrity and critical distance. This can lead to tension, for reconciling their position as both a researcher and as a responsible practitioner pitches researchers into a place that forces methodological as well as ethical consideration of researcher distance. We address ethical issues in Chapter 5. In this chapter we discuss fluidity in research-practitioner positioning, and what this means in terms of research integrity, validity and objectivity. For insider research is conducted alongside professional relationships, sometimes on the back of these; and what the research uncovers has to be lived with in the professional setting. In our study we found various means of dealing with this tension. For instance, some people may change jobs deliberately between their field work and writing it up so as to leave behind the site of the inquiry and cloak the tension by anonymising it. Others, realising the challenges of having one’s colleagues as research participants, decide to conduct major enquiries outside the immediate workplace. Unfortunately neither of these tactics avoids the central challenges arising out of the researcher being deeply involved in the professional practices that are the site of the inquiry. The positions that insider researchers establish in order to deal with the problems of being inextricably linked with the methods they use in practices that they are engaged in are fluid and not methodologically static. Researcher position is, at any time during the conduct of the project, relative to what is happening in the project. We seek to justify this through recourse to scrutiny of scientific inductive approaches over time, and point to discontinuities regarding shared understanding of scientific method. We suggest that as it is the researcher’s voice that explains the research, based as this is on the expressed views of the participants with whom they may be in complex relations, grounded theory paves the way for a further step into what might be called grounded methodology.