Grounded Theory in Games Research: Making the Case and Exploring the Options

Salisbury, John H. and Cole, Tom. 2016. Grounded Theory in Games Research: Making the Case and Exploring the Options. DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG, 13(1), ISSN 2342-9666 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Grounded Theory Methodology (GTM) is a powerful way to develop theories in domains where there are obvious opportunities to contribute in the form of carefully developed descriptive or explanatory conceptual theories. Reasonably nascent areas of academia, such as Game Studies, stand to particularly benefit from the development of new theoretical accounts. Yet, despite its proven utility in a wide range of fields and its history of rigorous methodological debate, many researchers are wary of using GTM. Conversely, many claim use of GTM but do not present an understanding of GTM's rich tradition and how this may impact their results and conclusions. This paper seeks to provide an overview of GTM, its main variants, and how they can be effectively used in research. We examine how GTM has been used in the field of games research and argue that GTM rightly be regarded a highly relevant method here.

Item Type:



Grounded Theory, methodology, empirical methods, induction, abduction, Constructivism, qualitative.

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



March 2016Accepted
August 2016Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

25 Apr 2017 14:51

Last Modified:

28 Jan 2021 10:21

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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