ED specific statistics – grounded theory.

By Maria Finn.
Grounded theory is a well-established process of data collection and sample calculation in social sciences but it is largely underutilised in medicine.
Grounded theory suggests that theory emerges inductively from the data which is useful in the Emergency Department as commonly there is no formulated hypothesis and not a clear two groups of patients or treatments to compare. It allows for methods to be constantly refined, for a detailed and systemic data analysis to be undertaken and subsequent new theories to emerge. On another hand, it requires a large sample size to get meaningful results and for the researcher not to get focused on the context. Grounded Theory if used appropriately should be a puzzle coming together from the data available and through the researcher keeping an open mind in relation to emerging themes. This means that a grounded theory is reliable when there comes no new categories in the data collected. There should be better awareness of the Grounded Theory for the sample size calculation in Emergency Medicine studies as it would increase number of high quality research studies in the Emergency Departments
Photo by Tim.

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