Procedural methodology for a grounded meta-analysis of qualitative case studies
Hyle, Adrienne E.
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University researchers conduct large numbers of case studies in the field of consumer studies each year and many are published in the research journals. Although illuminative and rich in description, qualitative data collected in case studies are singular and often lack generalizability. There is a need for comprehensive studies that subsume individual case studies related to consumer sciences in nutrition, apparel and clothing, consumer consumption, housing, and family studies. The purpose of this paper is to present a step-by-step methodological procedure for a qualitative meta-analysis, using components of Straus and Corbin’s (1990) grounded theory data coding technique. This research provides a systematic and rigorous research technique procedure for deriving hypothetical statements from multiple case studies in the consumer studies discipline as well as other academic disciplines. This method offers a way to overcome the limitation of individual, data-burdensome case studies bounded by context. It extracts conceptual trends across individual case study and eliminates these contextual boundaries. It fills a void in research techniques, by combining existing qualitative case study methods, grounded theory coding techniques, and meta-analysis to create generalizable hypotheses, grounded in the data. This methodology can provide testable hypotheses which contribute to the larger picture of an overall theory in the consumer studies or another academic field.