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Escalating Comparative Complexity: Using a Grounded Theory Methodology in International Comparisons
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster Münster.
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster Institut für Erziehungswissenschaft Münster.
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster Institut für Erziehungswissenschaft Münster.
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster Institut für Erziehungswissenschaft Münster.
2013 (English)In: ECER, Creativity and Innovation in Educational Research 2013: Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education, 2013Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Escalating Comparative Complexity: Using a Grounded Theory Methodology in International Comparisons

The main focus of the research workshop lies on the question how to apply a Grounded Theory Methodology (GTM) in internationally comparative studies. The challenge is to combine two methodological approaches that both are comparative but follow different logics and apply different practices of comparison.

Within GTM, various comparative operations are used to generate a new theory that is grounded in data. Firstly, the whole research process is characterised by the continual interplay of theoretically guided data collection and empirically gained theory. Existing theory, developing conceptualizations and data are therefore constantly compared to each other. Secondly, the basic analytical operation is to compare new codes and categories with existing data in order to conceptualize it more and more. Comparisons both within cases and between cases round off the analysis. The Grounded Theory itself, which is the end product of the research process, grows so to speak from innumerable processes of these types of (micro-) comparisons.

Internationally comparative studies, even case-oriented small-N-comparisons, need to use more or less abstract categories in order to compare previously specified entities. This logic of comparison corresponds more to a macro-type of comparison, which, however, may sit somewhat uneasily with the “constant comparative method” (Glaser 1965, Grove 1988) of GTM. Besides, aiming at international comparisons combined with GTM leads to an escalating number of levels of comparison. This problem is aggravated when intra-national comparisons (comparing groups of actors within and between countries) are introduced. How to handle the many comparative levels as well as the various types of comparative operations is to be discussed in the research workshop.

A second problematique that will be discussed in the research workshop concerns the use of different types of data. For the GTM, “all is data” (Glaser & Holton 2004). However, combining different types of data is not a trivial matter, e.g. when data on institutional structures (e.g. legal texts) is to be combined with data on personal beliefs (e.g. interview data). Again, the problem is aggravated when a comparative perspective is employed.

The subject matter discussed in the workshop is taken from the work of a research group at the University of Münster, Germany, investigating the differing conceptions of justice underlying the systems of pupil assessment in Germany, Sweden and England (see Waldow 2011, Research group “Different worlds of meritocracy?” 2011. In societies following the meritocratic ideal, educational certificates and the examinations connected to them play a key role in allocating life chances to individuals. These allocation processes need to be perceived as fair by those concerned if they are to possess legitimacy. However, what is considered fair changes over time and differs both between different countries and between different groups of actors within countries. The research group studies differences between different groups of actors and differences between countries and aims at employing a GTM.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013.
Keyword [en]
Grounded Theory, cross-cultural studies, justice, assessment, comparative educational science
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences, Pedagogics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-29721OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-29721DiVA: diva2:658243
Conference
EERA/ECER 2013, 9-13 September, Istanbul
Projects
Different worlds of meritocracy? Educational assessment and conceptions of justice in Germany, Sweden and England in the age of ´standards-based-reforms´.
Available from: 2013-10-21 Created: 2013-10-21 Last updated: 2014-12-09Bibliographically approved

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Vogt, Bettina

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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