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Abstract

IS researchers are now far more likely to consider using qualitative approaches than may have been the case a few years ago. Publication outlets such as JITTA, Information & Organization, and IFIP Working Group 8.2 have helped to establish a firm basis for non-quantitative IS research. One method that is gaining increasing popularity is the Grounded Theory Method originated by Glaser and Strauss. There are some profound problems with this approach; in particular the unproblematic conceptualization of data, and a level of methodological flexibility that can degenerate into methodological indifference and result in superficial and ambiguous conclusions. This paper argues that the method is not indelibly stamped with these failings and inconsistencies; although they are indeed failings, despite the views of many users of the method. If these faults are remedied, however, the method is particularly suited to IS research, particularly where it proceeds from an antipositivist orientation that sees truth as socially constructed and sustained, and where representation is viewed as a distributed, systems phenomenon.

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