Theoretical data collection and data analysis with gerunds in a constructivist grounded theory study

Theresa Carmichael, Natalie Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A constructivist grounded theory study into the experiences of coached executives was undertaken to develop theory about the coaching process. The analysis reported in this paper was undertaken in parallel with the analysis to resolve the main concern of the study; that of theorising the coaching process. The purpose of this complementary analysis was to capture adaptations of the standard processes used for data collection and data analysis that facilitated the theoretical direction taken in the research. The starting point of the process is the careful, well‑researched and purposive selection of the “right” first participant, and the end point is theoretical saturation of thematic categories with all variations within the category elucidated. Selection of the first, key respondent was enabled through networking, and the interview data were in‑vivo coded before being converted to gerunds using an additional intervening step in Saldana’s (2016) analytic process. This mechanism converted static descriptive codes to active process codes, enabling the extraction of implicit meanings which facilitated the emergence of theoretical propositions and linkages between codes and categories. Subsequent respondents were selected on a theoretical basis.The role of the literature in achieving theoretical saturation was facilitated by adopting a reflexive stance and incorporting sensitising consultation of scholarly sources as part of the analytic process applied to each interview transcript in turn during the theoretical sampling process. The inclusion of the literature in this way facilitated the coding of the dimensions of and variations within each category.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-74
Number of pages15
JournalElectronic Journal of Business Research Methods. Special Issue: The Intuitive Researcher
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2017


  • constructivist grounded theory
  • theoretical data collection
  • gerunds

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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