Sifting, sorting and saturating data in a grounded theory study of information use by practice nurses: A worked example

Karen J. Hoare, Jane Mills, Karen Francis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The terminology used to analyse data in a grounded theory study can be confusing. Different grounded theorists use a variety of terms which all have similar meanings. In the following study, we use terms adopted by Charmaz including: initial, focused and axial coding. Initial codes are used to analyse data with an emphasis on identifying gerunds, a verb acting as a noun. If initial codes are relevant to the developing theory, they are grouped with similar codes into categories. Categories become saturated when there are no new codes identified in the data. Axial codes are used to link categories together into a grounded theory process. Memo writing accompanies this data sifting and sorting. The following article explains how one initial code became a category providing a worked example of the grounded theory method of constant comparative analysis. The interplay between coding and categorization is facilitated by the constant comparative method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)582-588
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Practice
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Constructivist grounded theory
  • General practice
  • New graduate nurses
  • New Zealand
  • Practice nurses

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