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Use of Grounded Theory in Cardiovascular Research

March 2, 2018

Article from Dunn, Margaritis, and Anderson (2017)

While grounded theory is often cited in the qualitative literature as the methodology, there are few good
examples of publications that follow the principles of grounded theory and result in an actual theory. The
purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how the Corbin and Strauss (2015) method of grounded theory was
used in a study looking at how patients with cardiovascular disease and diabetes develop health literacy skills
that are used to manage their condition. The key principles of grounded theory include theoretical sampling,
constant comparison, open, axial, and selective coding, the use of memoing, and theoretical saturation. Data
collection in this study was in the form of semi-structured interviews of 16 patients with cardiovascular
disease and diabetes, and 19 healthcare professionals that care for or educate these patients. Patients were
recruited from a primary care medical practice, a cardiology medical practice, patient focused programs
provided by the American Heart Association, and social media. Healthcare professionals were recruited from
the medical practices, the American Heart Association, and social media. Each interview was recorded,
transcribed, and coded. Insights from these interviews led to the development of the health literacy
instructional mode, which explores the use of digital tools, instructional approaches, social support, and selfdirected
learning in the development of health literacy skills, and is an example of the use of grounded theory
in cardiovascular research.