A Grounded Theory Analysis

This analysis was influenced by research on ‘sexual desires’, which is currently being examined at St Mary’s hospital in London. The present study examines sexual desires through an open-ended group discussion of what makes men and women want to have sex with some one. The Grounded Theory analysis is used which was originally developed by Glaser and Strauss in 1967. It was originally designed to study social processes and is generally used to study social psychological processes such as sexual desire.

It was a breakthrough in qualitative research when developed, that is research that is gathered which is not in, or reducible to, numerical form. It is a popular method of research analysis, which is still being improved. The data usually used in grounded theory is from open-ended discussions and interviews about a specific subject. The aim is to ” actively engage in a close and detailed analysis of our research materials, in order that they can both stimulate and discipline the theoretical imagination”, (Pidgeon and Henwood, 1996)

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The data foregoes a detailed analysis whereby the researcher generates categories and labels for each topic in the data. This is termed as ‘data representation language’. The similarities and differences of the data are found and where similarities are found in themes, categories are formed in stages, firstly on a very broad basis. Then for each categorisation level, data themes are grouped together according to their relationship with other categories to form, ultimately a basis for the hypothesis. This process is the Grounded Theory Analysis.

This is achieved by first identifying categories using the process of coding which is basically grouping instances that share central features or characteristics with each other. It is incredibly descriptive at such early stages of the analysis and many different categories can be formed. It is good to use the words of phrases that are used in the actual transcript to capture the theme in its fullest. The researcher then needs to investigate each category and the words of phrases within that category to identify any subcategories. Nothing is definite in any stage of the analysis and it is good practice to go back and reinvestigate ideas.

The aim is to analyse the data in such detail until no more categories can be formed. In each further stage, links are found between each category and until a hypothesis or at least a main core of the theory is created. It is often the case that the original research question changes in the process of analysis and new ideas and theories are found, not just those that relate to the primary question. As the research method is usually through an open-ended interview or discussion, it is likely that the subject matter will expand over various subjects and therefore new categories arise.

Another consideration of using the Grounded Theory Analysis is that it very much depends on the researcher and the different ways they label and categorise the data. This leads to the point that the same subject matter could be studied by various researchers and different hypothesis found. It is therefore important to remain neutral throughout the analysis to avoid the intrusion of bias views. Grounded theory analysis is incredibly effective for dealing with large amounts of data in qualitative research where there is no specific hypothesis for the data.

As this is the case for the subject of sexual desire, there are no strong hypotheses and it is a very ill defined and confusing area of Psychology. It is a complicated area of social research and its diversity leads the subject very much under researched. In fact, the unanswered questions become more and more complicated as time goes by. The social and economic factors of life are forever changing and are becoming increasingly different from, say, ten years ago, therefore having a massive effect on society’s views and opinions.