Grounded Theory

I was talking about someones PhD confirmation seminar the other day. Truth is that mine is coming up very soon. I am walking around in total dread, block of ice in my stomach, trying to manage my anxiety. I wake up covered in sweat, having gone through an imaginary examination where everything failed.

In short, in my thesis I’m talking to people from the Torres Strait Islands and people from Greenland, working within the criminal justice system, about their perceptions of justice. Then I will compare the countries. My theory is, that if we look at the law on paper and how it is practised, it will be very different to how people perceive it. So far so good.

Obviously I’m doing fieldwork. I’m going to travel in the Torres Strait (have done one field trip already) and Greenland. Obviously I also have a theory that the locals are not so happy with the white justice system that has been forced upon them. But what they REALLY think, I have little clue. This has been the fuel for most of my nightmares in the past two months, the dreaded question being: “what do you expect to find?”

This morning I received an email that answered the question for me. It comes in the form of grounded theory. I won’t bore you with the details, just say that I have moved from an answer somewhere along the lines of “ahdonno” to “I have based myself in grounded theory as it is congruent with a decolonizing methodology. It allows simultaneous inductive-deductive thinking, gives voice to the subject and allows them to identify the problems”. The two answers are exactly the same. Some days you just gotta love academia.

 

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