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Grounded Theory

A Practical Guide

Melanie Birks James Cook University, Australia
Jane Mills James Cook University, Australia
© 2011   224 pages   SAGE Publications Ltd   
Lecturers
Inspection Copy
Individual Purchasers
Paperback ISBN: 9781848609938 £25.99
Hardcover ISBN: 9781848609921 £76.00
Ebook ISBN: 9781446209981

'Overall, Grounded Theory: A Practical Guide by Melanie Birks and Jane Mills (2011) is a well-written, easy to read and understand text that is highly organized and practical' -
The Qualitative Report


'As a guide for learning grounded theory the book is outstanding' -
International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches


Melanie Birks and Jane Mills are to be congratulated on compiling a book on grounded theory that reviews the field and provides excellent advice to the researcher... Birks and Mills provide a framework for researchers who wish to undertake research that follows a principled approach to making choices about important issues for researchers from diverse backgrounds and with varying levels of experience and or expertise... The book is well written, easy to understand and well set out. Each chapter begins with learning objectives and concludes with a summary, critical questions and leads to appendices that suggest that the reader pursue additional examples of grounded theory.


Professor Ruth Rentschler
Australasian Journal of Market & Social Research


Activity boxes prompt the reader to captalise on the activity conducted in the previous chapter. This activity becomes prospective in its focus and enables knowledge and learning to be taken forward in order to embrace the present chapter... The content of this paperback provides a fundamental approach to comprehend the processes involved in developing a grounded theory.


Jane Ryan
Qualitative Research


Grounded Thoery: A Practical Guide is comprehensive and covers topics in depth. This book could be used as a text for an introductory class for graduate students. The format is very appealing and useful for teaching; it is well structured and clearly written. Each chapter includes learning objectives, introduction to the chapter, activities, a "window into GT" (grounded theory; well-chosen examples), a "working grounded theory" (exercises), critical thinking questions, boxes, bullets, models, and conclusions.


Martha Ann Carey
Qualitative Health Research


I fell in love with the fact that Grounded Theory allows ideas and information to flow in as it comes, without the biases. Research automatically takes shape while processing thoughts and information in your mind, helping you to discover a lot more then what you started with.
Ekta Kudale
MA student, Wilfrid Laurier University


Overall, Grounded Theory is a very enlightening experience and will likely serve as an effective guide for any grounded theory research that I perform over the next few years. Thank you very much.
Michael Aiello
MA student, Wilfrid Laurier University


The book, and the theory itself, offered some attractive tenets for aspiring researchers, specifically in terms of identifying personal biases or assumptions that may not be self-evident. While this is not unique to the theory, I found the attitude towards personal bias and the utility hidden within very welcoming, as it offers a potential tool as opposed to an inherent weakness.
Jason Molloy


MA student, Wilfrid Laurier University


I'd like here to praise the extensive focus on practical advice given in Grounded Theory: A Practical Guide. Rather than present grounded theory as a magic bullet that bypasses all the shortcomings of other qualitative research methods, Birks and Mills present the depth and frequency of the pitfalls, that research inherently contains… grounded theory will be given serious consideration when I begin looking at doing field work.
Russell Ramey
MA student, Wilfrid Laurier University


I found reading Grounded Theory illuminating in a variety of ways. The activities provided throughout the book were highly informative in that they offered a practical method in allowing the reader to "play" with the some of the techniques presented in each chapter… I really had the chance to understand just how much qualitative information is able to surface, in regards to not only research data, but the way my own thoughts, assumptions and connections play in to the discoveries being made. For me, it was refreshing to know that it is encouraged to just let my mind "run wild," without having a specific question that needs to be answered… Overall, I absorbed that grounded theory, for me, has become the "orthodoxy" of qualitative research methods, and I very much appreciate Birks and Mills presentation of the text.
Keri Raif
MA student, Wilfrid Laurier University


Your book helped me find a love of Grounded Theory
Marisha McAuliffe
PhD Student, School of Design, Queensland University of Technology

This is an excellent book which helps to introduce grounded theory to noice researchers and helps researchers to use it their every day practice.

Dr Munikumar R Venkatasalu

Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Bedfordshire University

Aug 12 2014

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This is a good introduction to how to deal with qualitative data for novice researchers.

Dr Jung Woo Lee

Institute for Sport, Physical Education & Health Sciences, The University of Edinburgh

May 28 2014

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The practical aspects of this text are particularly appropriate for teacher researchers.

Mrs Chris Neanon

School of Educ & Continuing Studies, Portsmouth University

May 09 2014

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This text is much too simplified. Glaser and Strauss provides a much better analysis of the framework.

Ms Mary Thomas

General Education, Saint Mary'S Univ Of Minnesota

Apr 11 2014

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A very comprehensive book that provides a clear understanding of the different approaches to grounded theory. The practical exercises and thought provoking ideas can be adapted for use in classroom settings as well as for individual study. The use of straightforward language underpinned by examples of research using a grounded theory approach to illustrate key issues , make this a useful book for researchers, students and lecturers.

Ms deirdre kelleher

school of nursing midwifery and health systems, University College Dublin

Mar 26 2014

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a great book covers everything you need to know about grounded theory.

Dr Christine Skinner

Social Policy & Social Work Department, Univ. of York

Jan 12 2014

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grounded theory is amazing but a little difficult for student to understand and use it. this book is easy to read and easy to learn how to use this method step by step.

Mrs qing bian

college of communication and art, Tongji University

Oct 26 2013

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Good resource. Recommended for my MSc class.

Mrs Tania de Villiers

Division of Nursing, University of Cape Town

Oct 15 2013

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Insightful, an indepth but readable book. Will be valuable for students undertaking further study

Mrs kat culshaw

Education, Blackburn College

Sep 09 2013

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Excellent supplementary text to Creswell's book. Will use in graduate level research methods class.

Dr Dwight Vick

Mgmt Marketing Public Adm Div, Governors State University

Aug 07 2013

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Excellent book for getting started with GT

Ms Wendy Smith

School of Health and Life Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University

Jun 22 2013

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Excellent clear and well worth reading. A must for masters students

Mr Brian Boag

Nurisng and Midwifery, University of the West of Scotland

Feb 18 2013

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The book gives good practical examples of grounded theory. A good background read

Mrs nadia dossa

other, University of West London

Jan 15 2013

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A wonderful source book for undergraduate and postgraduate researchers wishing to develop their use of grounded theory.

Dr Colin Howard

Institute of Education, Worcester University

Jan 10 2013

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A very well thought-out and easy to follow summary of the various approaches to Grounded Theory. By far the best introduction to this research method that I have seen.

Mr James Deane

School of Education and Social Science, University of Central Lancashire

Dec 24 2012

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Preferred Charmaz.

Dr Diana Cohen

Political Science Dept, Central Connecticut State University

Dec 13 2012

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essential reading for those wanting to use grounded theory. It provides a clear description and explanation of grounded theory.

Dr Nikki Petty

Health , Brighton University

Nov 27 2012

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Very good book for new researchers, students found it clear and a very good resource.

Tracy Ross

Department of Health, Social Care, Glyndwr University

Oct 21 2012

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If i teach a specific grounded theory course in 2013, this will be the text i use. I have considered using this a a secondary text in my graduate level qualitative seminar.

Dr Michael Birzer

Criminal Justice Dept, Wichita State University

Sep 20 2012

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This book is excellent as a reference for students who wish to undertake Grounded Theory as a methodology for their research projects.

Mr Douglas Newman-Valentine

Sch of Health & Rehabilitation Science, University of Cape Town

Aug 22 2012

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An absolutely brilliant compilation of GT information. I especially liked the tables presenting the differences between the various key theorists. Well suited for post-grad researchers also.

Ms Elizabeth San Miguel

Business Administration , HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Scie

Aug 06 2012

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Clearly written text that introduces the neophyte to Grounded Theory methodology.

Mr Mark Davies

Faculty of Health, Sport and Science, Glamorgan University

Aug 02 2012

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Very good book that will support students in developing an awareness of GT. Brings the early work of GT practitioners right up to date

Mr Sam Miller

Division of Social Work, Huddersfield University

Jun 21 2012

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A good overview of GT methods and methodology.

Mr Andrew Gadsdon

Political Science , Runshaw Adult College

Jun 18 2012

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A good book for those interested in Grounded Theory Research (or simply knowing about Grounded Theory) at any level.

Dr Paul Miller

Arts & Education, Middlesex University

Jun 06 2012

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A well-organised text. Though the competition in this increasingly fashionable area is increasingly intense, I would recommend this book to Level 2 undergraduate who wish to understand the nuts and bolts of grounded theory.

Peter Collins

Department of Anthropology, Durham University

Apr 26 2012

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This is an excellent introduction to Grounded theory. The students in the doctorate programme are already accessing this and finding it a great help as a bridging text to guide them to the grounded theory approach they wish to apply to their research.

Dr Charlotte Ramage

Health , Brighton University

Mar 08 2012

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excellent text book for novice researchers undertaking grounded theory studies

Mrs Anita Duffy

School of Nursing & Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin

Feb 29 2012

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A good practical and readable book

Miss Erika Cunningham

Education , Dundee University

Feb 26 2012

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This is an excellent book about the practicalities of undertaking a grounded theory research project. It is usful as a step-by-step guide as well as covering the main philosophical issues regarding choice of research method.

Dr Max Hope

Centre for Educational Studies, Hull University

Feb 16 2012

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Grounded Theory by Birks pulls together the approaches towards this interesting qualitative research methology and therefore we recommend it to our postgraduate students. GT is not an easy research methodology and our students who adopt this way of doing research benefit from the book.

Mr Sjoerd Gehrels

Management , Stenden Hogeschool

Feb 14 2012

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A good resource for student projects

Dr Lita Crociani-Windland

Health , University of the West of England, Bristol

Dec 19 2011

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An excellent introductory book with lots of clear examples.

Dr Josie Brady

ELLS, Birmingham City University

Nov 02 2011

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For those undertaking Grounded Theory, this is a good introduction and I will be recommending it.

Dr Peter Kevern

Faculty of Health and Sciences, Staffordshire University

Oct 21 2011

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Clearly written and practical approach to grounded theory data management. Use ful for students considering adopting this approach, and for those who wish to critique this approach when adopted by others.

Dr Wendy Wesson

Nursing and Health Care Practice, Derby University

Sep 16 2011

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A robust discussion of grounded theory...well organised with a number of practical examples. Very helpful text to those new to Grounded Theory.

Mr N Fayers

Centre for Training & Development, Lancaster University

Sep 12 2011

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Wonderful book if looking into grounded theory

Mr James Wilson

Health , Southampton University

Jul 18 2011

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A clear and well written book that provides good practical guidance to conducting grounded theory. This will be suitable for undergaduate research students. It will also be of use to those students conducting empirical research whether at undergraduate or postgraduate level.

Dr Sharon Morley

Dept of Social & Communication Studies, Chester University

Jun 30 2011

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Grounded theory can be particularly useful for Criminology students engaging with primary research. This book is a helpful and accessible guide.

Ms Clare Kinsella

Department of Law & Criminology, Edge Hill University

Jun 27 2011

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Well written, well-grounded book.

Dr Mathes Wilde

Institut Verkehr und Raum, Erfurt University of Applied Sciences

Jun 21 2011

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This is a useful text and helpful for students looking at the research aproaches suitable for the target group of conditions and patients

Mr Colin Winter

Adult Nursing, London South Bank University

May 17 2011

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I would recomend this for any one wishing to apply this methodology to a specific piece of research

Miss Judith Oliver

Criminology, Politics and Sociology, Huddersfield University

Apr 18 2011

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The text was wonderful, but at this time I do not think I will be requiring for my education students. I would use it for a future research methods course for Law and Policy that focused in on grounded theory in detail.

Dr Kelly Conn

College of Professional Studies, Northeastern University

Apr 08 2011

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Not for the faint hearted - for the stronger student

Miss Marion Aylott

Faculty of Health & Life Sciences, University of the West of England, Bristol

Mar 31 2011

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Because despite my busy schedule.... I enjoyed reviewing it. Further it is not polarizing, while being comprehensive, engaging, and very appropriate for my graduate students.

Professor Dennis Conrad

Special Education Dept, Suny College at Potsdam

Mar 25 2011

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