Experiencing Grounded Theory

A Comprehensive Guide to Learning, Doing, Mentoring, Teaching, and Applying Grounded Theory

by Odis E. Simmons
  • Number of Pages: 352
  • ISBN-10: 159942634X
  • ISBN-13: 9781599426341
  • Publisher: BrownWalker Press
  • Year: 2022
  • Category: Social Science, Education


This book is a comprehensive, intelligible guide to grounded theory with a focus on classic grounded theory. It will be useful for graduate students, experienced researchers, and practicing professionals who want to use the method for practical purposes. It will also be useful for mentors and teachers of grounded theory. A glossary is included in the preface so readers can familiarize themselves with grounded theory terminology before beginning the chapters. Its seven chapters provide a comprehensive guide to grounded theory. Chapter one covers how the authors familiarity with the symbolic interactionist perspective gained from his undergraduate sociology professors enabled him to readily discern how and why Glaser and Strauss had different understandings about grounded theory and what those differences were. Chapter two discusses the uniqueness of grounded theory in relation to other methods and the differences between classic and constructivist grounded theory. Chapter three provides practical tips for selecting and working with a dissertation or thesis committee for grounded theory. The longest chapter, Chapter four, is a detailed, step-by-step guide for learning and doing every stage of the classic grounded theory process, with examples and exercises. Chapter five discusses "grounded action," a multi-step applied grounded theory method devised by the author. It includes how he used it to develop a unique grounded anger management program. Chapter Six discusses grounded therapy, another applied grounded theory method the author devised for conducting counseling/therapy, with examples. Chapter Seven presents grounded theory teaching models for undergraduate and graduate students.


This book is an indispensable well to new insights and creative ideas on how to understand, teach, and apply classic grounded theory. A ground-breaking resource for students, teachers and professional practitioners across fields. Excitingly well-written and humorous, with complex issues made easily accessible to anyone interested in the method.
---Astrid Gynnild, Professor, University of Bergen, Norway and previous Editor of Grounded Theory Review

Odis Simmons is the foremost expert in the world on teaching grounded theory. His vast knowledge of the method, which was once only available to his students and mentees, is now available to researchers worldwide in Experiencing Grounded Theory. It is a must-read for anyone who wants an in-depth understanding of how to conduct, apply, or teach grounded theory.
---Kara L. Vander Linden, Founder & President of the Board, Institute for Research & Theory Methodologies, Glaser Center for Grounded Theory

I highly recommend Odis book to anyone wishing to learn how to do grounded theory; how to apply a grounded theory to practice; and how to communicate grounded theory to doctoral committees and ethical review boards. This authoritative book is written with warmth and humour, littered with helpful examples and is grounded in decades of using the method and teaching grounded theory to people like us.
---Helen Scott, Founder of Grounded Theory Online, Fellow of Grounded Theory Institute, Reviewer of Grounded Theory Review

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About the Author

Odis E. Simmons was one of the earliest grounded theory students of Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss, the originators of grounded theory. Both served on his dissertation committee, with Strauss as Chair. In 1971 he began teaching grounded theory to graduate students referred to him by Glaser & Strauss. He has since taught, mentored, and advised countless grounded theory students in academic and non-academic professional settings. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology, in 1974, from the University of California San Francisco. He held faculty positions at The University of Tulsa (Sociology), Yale University (Director of Self-Care Program, Medical School, Department of Public Health), and Fielding Graduate University (Educational Leadership), where he developed a doctoral specialty in grounded theory. He focused his career on teaching grounded theory to anyone who wanted to learn and devising ways of using it for applied purposes. He created two grounded theory applied methods, grounded action and grounded therapy, which he refined and fully tested during 14 years as a counselor/therapist for a non-profit social agency. He was a close protg of both Glaser and Strauss until their passing.


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