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Discovering theory in the Digital Humanities using CGTM by Mind Map: Discovering theory in the
Digital Humanities using
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Discovering theory in the Digital Humanities using CGTM

Andrews, L., Higgins, A., Andrews, M., & Lalor, J. (n.d.). Classic grounded theory to analyse secondary data: Reality and reflections |. Grounded Theory Review. Retrieved from

Grounded Theory

What is Grounded theory?

A systematic methodology in the social sciences involving the discovery of theory through the analysis of data

Developed by Glaser and Strauss, Analyzed data for patterns of behavior, How are people resolving their central concern?, Awareness of Dying, an emergent issue for the time, dying in a hospital, Theory developed: Awareness Contexts

Purpose, generate theory, Theoretical foothold for action, Simons., explain what is really going on in an action scene, account for the most variation in the observed data, develop a parsimonious theory with scope, Validity of Grounded theories, Fit, Work, Relevance, Grab, Modifiability, Generalizability, No preconceptions, Not testing some other theory, Suited for emergent areas where extant theories are weak or non-existent.

What runs the world?, mostly description, followed by conjecture, based on vested social structural fictions, impressionistic wiseman thought, one incident variables, grounded conceptualization runs a distant 3rd., High impact dependent variables, eg. patient believably, super normalizing

Study of a concept, concept names a pattern, pattern is generalizable, Supernormalizing

How people resolve their central concerns?

How is it done?

Stages of GT process, Odis Simmons, Stage 1 Preparation:, Stage 2: Data Collection, Data sources, first hand formal interview, Field notes, no transcription, avoid worrisome accuracy, Archival material, focus group, personal journal, Observational Data, Indirect, emergent structure, informal inteviewing, analysis of organizational documentation, analysis of personal diaries, biographies and other texts, Edited book, Jargonizing, Types of Data, Baseline, properline, interpreted, vague, Stage 3: Constant Comparative Analysis, Questions asked of the data, What category or property of a category does this incident indicate?, What is the data a study of?, What category does this incident indicate?, What is actually happening in the data?, incidents, indicators, categories, codes, Looking for one code or core variable that explains the most variation in patterns of behavior, Stage 4: Memoing, Start descriptively, Increasingly conceptual, Stage 5: Theoretical sorting, Stage 6 :Writing the theory, Assembling the memos

Glen Gatin

Manitoba, Canada

Ed.D from Fielding Graduate University`, Media Studies, Grounded Theory Method

Dissertation, Keeping Your Distance, GTM, Challenged Moore's theory of Transactional Distance, Workflow, People like to conserve energy by controlling their sense of, physical, emotional,and psychological distance., Using online learning is one strategy for control, Face to face education can be exhausting, Dangerous, Inconvenient, Expensive

Issues for Grounded Theory Dissertations

Concept Paper

Literature Review


Data collection


Research Question, not the Grand Tour Question

Not testing and validating another theory but generating a theory, Up to others to test and validate, Still a worthy scholarly contribution

What is digital humanities?

Good Question

What ever you tell the customs guy when you are heading to the conference

Definitions, A new definition with each refresh

formerly humanities computing

Emerging discipline, Intersection of computer science and humanities


Need for more scholarship, Williams et al.2011, Theory Paradigms, Prescriptive, Cognitive Load theory, Emergent, Constructivist, Connectivist, Boitshwarelo, B. (2011). Proposing an integrated research framework for connectivism: Utilizing theoretical synergies., Role of scholars

What is a theory?, Fundamental element of the western system of knowledge, Some one proposes a theory, Others test and validate the theory, Set of related concepts, hypothetical probability statements, testable, Much done in place based and online education is based on theory that is untested or untestable eg) learning styles theory, offers an explanation for patterns of behavior, provides a means of predicting patterns of behavior, Essential for instructional design in online learning

Where do we get theories?, Great man theories, wise man thought, Re-purposed theories, A good theory should still work when the context changes, But must be tested in the new context, Tweaked, Discarded, Action research, Applied research still focused on theory development, Abductive reasoning, best explanation, Systematic processes, Deductive and inductive reasoning, Classic Grounded theory method

Why are theories important, HIrumi, 4 Conditions for grounded design, (1)designs must be rooted in a defensible theoretical framework, (2) Methods must be consistent with research conducted to test, validate, or extend the theories on which they are based, (3) Designs must be generalizable to situations beyond the unique conditions in which they are utilized, (4) grounded designs and their frameworks must be validated through successive implementation., "Nothing more practical than a good theory", Kurt Lewin, What happens when you don't have a sound theoretical foundation?, Espoused theory and Theory-in-Use, Learner-centered, Take ownership, but do it in our LMS, Cognitive dissonance

Some examples of theories in the DH, post-humanism, social shaping of technology, technological determinism, diffusion of innovations

two main streams

digitizing the analogue world, Theories

born digital

Other research methods

Action research

Mass observation

Member validation

metadata analysis

Orlikowski, sociomateriality

secondary analysis of data

Why is GTM Suited to DH

Highly emergent field

High impact social variables

Existing theories inadequate or non-existent

incorporates complexities of organizational contexts, uniquely fitted for studying process and change

Answers the why questions

Theoretical foothold for action required.

high impact dependent variables

Secondary analysis of data

comparing apples and oranges, they are fruit

the study of specific problems through analysis of existing data which were originally collected for other purposes.


An increasingly digital world requires sophisticated approaches to help people understand and cope with profound change. Humanities provide the environment where this process occurs. Traditional approaches to humanities research drew upon theoretical research. A theory is testable sets of related concepts that explain predict patterns of behavior. A robust theory must withstand the introduction of new data and must be applicable in new contexts. Many of the theories that once worked in the humanities have lost their explanatory and predictive power in a rapidly emerging digital context. Classic grounded theory method was designed to discover theories in emerging areas.