"The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly": A Doctoral Student's Reflections on Doing Grounded Theory Research in Henry's Light

  • Kelly F. Jackson University at Buffalo
  • Mark Cameron Southern Connecticut StateUniversity
  • Karen M. Staller University of Michigan


Kelly: "It just isn't talked about," I thought to myself as I diligently searched through the available literature located in a popular database of research in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, and social work. I only uncovered one or two articles discussing the difficulties that MAY arise (not do!) in group qualitative data analysis settings. Is it taboo to even mention the conflicts that can and DO emerge in data analysis and interpretation where two or more researchers are involved? Working as a doctoral student research assistant on a grounded theory project, I DID encounter this kind of conflict. By reflecting on my discontent, I was able to learn more about myself as a person, student, and social work researcher.

Mark: Research teams, especially in qualitative inquiry, can bring a richness of perspective and other individual strengths that can help to produce rigorous studies of high quality and worthwhile findings. The interpersonal processes of these teams working together can make or break these efforts. This paper is about the latter. It is also about the clashing of paradigms; the painful misperceptions, indignities, and hostilities of race; and ultimately, about the unconsciously and compellingly attractive, insidious, and unblameable out (of these and all kinds of problematic human encounters) that is disengagement and abandonment.

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