Using Principles and Practices from Grounded Theory, Phenomenology and Narrative Research in Your Qualitative Inquiry Projects

In Margarete Sandelowski’s (2000) article Whatever Happened to Qualitative Description? she discusses how qualitative descriptive studies may, by design, have “overtones” of a qualitative tradition (approach).  As an example, she mentions that researchers may engage one or more techniques associated with grounded theory, such as a form of constant comparison. 

In this course, Drs. Poth and Maietta will help you consider strategies for finding and integrating overtones from three qualitative approaches in your work:

  • Grounded Theory
  • Narrative Research
  • Phenomenology

The course begins with an overview of each approach and then moves through critical phases of a qualitative project to first expose you to principles and practices of each approach during that phase.  Using examples from their work, Poth and Maietta will point to strategies to integrate specific practices of an approach and discuss ways to describe what overtones were used and how they were implemented. 

The four project phases covered in the course are:

  1. Designing your qualitative inquiry project
  2. Collecting data for your project
  3. Analyzing your qualitative data
  4. Building presentations of your work, including discussing how your work uses overtones of a specific approach.

Content from Creswell and Poth’s Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches (4th ed., 2017, Sage) will shape our overview of the qualitative approaches and guide our movement through the phases of qualitative projects.

ResearchTalk’s Sort and Sift, Think and Shift data analytic approach will be introduced as an example of a data analytic strategy that integrates overtones from more than one qualitative inquiry approach.


Sandelowski, M. (2000). Whatever happened to qualitative description? Research in Nursing & Health, 23, 334–340.