The originators of the grounded theory methodology argue that a researcher should begin data collection and analysis without having immersed him, or her, self in the extant domain literature. They argue that there is a danger that the researcher will be influenced by the literature and will then tend to collect that data that he, or she, expects to find. Similarly, the interpretation of that data can be influenced by prior reading. However, most supervisors insist that student researchers conduct a thorough literature review prior to commencing data collection and analysis. This situation is unlikely to change, but it has the potential to corrupt the grounded theory being developed. The use of unstructured focus groups as an initial data gathering method is proposed as a means of reducing the impact of a priori reading when using the grounded theory methodology. Using this technique allows subjects to discuss what they think is important, rather than what the researcher thinks is important. This, then, can sensitize the researcher to new data and interpretations not previously considered. An example of the use of unstructured focus groups in a student research project is then provided.
Campbell, Bruce, "A Resolution of Student's Grounded Theory A Priori Reading Dilemma" (2009). CONF-IRM 2009 Proceedings. 45.