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The Grounded Type of Sociological Theory

Some Methodological Reflections

Igor Hanzel

The book analyzes the methods used in the construction of the grounded type of sociological theory. It provides an overview of examples of qualitative research which are used for delineating the principal characteristics of methods employed in the construction of the grounded type of theory. Subject to explication are the characteristics of concepts, categories, and properties of categories employed in this type of theory, as well as the main steps involved in the construction of a grounded type of theory. These steps are explicated by applying the modern logical and methodological treatment of induction, deduction, and abduction.

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5. Induction, Deduction and Abduction


5. Induction, Deduction and Abduction

In this part I clarify the nature of deduction, induction and abduction by drawing on the more recent logical and methodological literature.

5.1 Grounded theory’s ambitions, argument, reasoning, entailment, etc.

The overall ambition of the tradition of the grounded type of sociological theory is “the discovery of theory from data systematically obtained from social research” (Glaser – Strauss 1967, 2), and where under “discovery of theory” one understands in this tradition that “one generates conceptual categories or their properties from evidence” (Glaser – Strauss 1967, 23).

This discovery should, once viewed as a gradual introduction of categories and of properties of categories, stand for a process of a sequential construction of theory so that the latter would gradually become more and more conceptually dense.

This means, on the one hand, that one lacks, before interacting with an area under investigation, a theory pertaining to this area and, on the other hand, the collection of data in the course of this interaction serves the purpose of constructing a theory for this area. The construction of such a theory can then be viewed as an accomplishment of a kind of logic of discovery in the sense of “logical reasoning whose premises are a set of empirical phenomena and whose conclusion is an explanatory hypothesis” (Kelle 1990, 39).

In addition to the term “reasoning” appearing in the last quote, another term relevant for the relation of conclusion to...

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