Decoding Grounded Theory for software engineering

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Grounded Theory, while becoming increasingly popular in software engineering, is also one of the most misunderstood, misused, and poorly presented and evaluated method in software engineering. When applied well, GT results in dense and valuable explanations of how and why phenomena occur in practice. GT can be applied as a full research method leading to mature theories and also in limited capacity for data analysis within other methods, using its robust open coding and constant comparison procedures. This technical briefing will go through the social origins of GT, present examples of grounded theories developed in SE, discuss the key challenges SE researchers face, and provide a gentle introduction to socio-technical grounded theory, a variant of GT for software engineering research.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2021 IEEE/ACM 43rd International Conference on Software Engineering
Subtitle of host publicationCompanion Proceedings ICSE-Companion 2021
EditorsNatalia Juristo
Place of PublicationPiscataway NJ USA
PublisherIEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Number of pages2
ISBN (Electronic)9781665412193
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventInternational Conference on Software Engineering 2021 - Online, Madrid, Spain
Duration: 25 May 202128 May 2021
Conference number: 43rd (Proceedings)

Publication series

NameProceedings - International Conference on Software Engineering
PublisherThe Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.
ISSN (Print)0270-5257


ConferenceInternational Conference on Software Engineering 2021
Abbreviated titleICSE 2021
Internet address


  • grounded theory
  • research method
  • socio-technical grounded theory
  • software engineering

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