The Use of Grounded Theory
Online gaming can be associated with the development of addiction, so this kind of activity has attracted researchers’ attention. It has been acknowledged that online gaming leads to negative effects related to people’s social life, but the reasons for the development of this addiction still necessitates further investigation. One of the factors contributing to the emergence of addition is people’s need for a sense of connectivity with other players (Pietersen et al., 2018; Tang et al., 2017). The in-depth exploration of this matter requires the use of a qualitative research design that enables researchers to identify people’s meanings and attitudes.
Grounded theory is the most applicable research method due to its focus on the conceptualization of the phenomenon (Glaser, 2002). The collection of data for this kind of research is associated with interviews. The researcher asks open-ended questions, and the content of the participants’ accounts is analyzed. The researcher identifies codes and develops categories that are integrated into a theory. The primary advantages of this method of inquiry include a high potential to conceptualize, a systemic approach to the analysis of data, and the provision of rich data (El Hussein et al., 2014). According to Suddaby (2006), grounded theory is most suitable for making “knowledge claims about how individuals interpret reality” (p. 634). Since the focus of this study is on the way people see their gaming experiences, grounded theory is the most appropriate model.
The overarching question to guide this research can be formulated as follows: In what way and why does the need for the sense of connection to other players enhance online gamers’ cravings for engaging in gaming activity? The supporting questions are formulated in the following way:
- To what extent, do people addicted to online gaming are engaged in the game activity at different levels of their involvement in the online community associated with the game?
- How does the search for a sense of connection influence gamers’ behaviors during gaming activities and their communication patterns with other players?
- What kind of ideas and emotions guide gamers’ choices of a game or gaming community?
- How does the exclusion from or insufficient connectivity to a game community affect gamers’ decision to continue playing the game?
Thoughts Regarding Asking Personal Questions
Qualitative research implies the use of interviews and asking open-ended questions that, at times, can be or seem personal to the participants. It is critical to make sure that ethical standards are followed. In order to achieve this, I will make sure that my questions are clear and unbiased. I will also try these questions during the preparation period to make sure that the participants will not feel confused or insulted. I will also try to provide clarifying questions and pay attention to the participants’ nonverbal clues. I feel I need some practice to conduct interviews properly, so I will ask people I know to help me with that. My major concern is related to my own performance and my ability to notice the participants’ intentions to share more on specific aspects. I would like to encourage people to share their views freely and in a detailed manner. I do not want to seem judging or biased, so I will pay a lot of attention to the questions I ask and the way I will ask them.
El Hussein, M., Hirst, S., Salyers, V, & Osuji, J. (2014). Using grounded theory as a method of inquiry: Advantages and disadvantages. The Qualitative Report, 19(13), 1-15.
Glaser, B. G. (2002). Conceptualization: On theory and theorizing using grounded theory. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 1(2), 23-38.
Pietersen, A. J., Coetzee, J. K., Byczkowska-Owczarek, D., Elliker, F., & Ackermann, L. (2018). Online gamers, lived experiences, and sense of belonging: Students at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein. Qualitative Sociology Review, 14(4), 122-137.
Suddaby, R. (2006). From the editors: What grounded theory is not. Academy of Management Journal, 49(4), 633-642.
Tang, C. S. K., Koh, Y. W., & Gan, Y. (2017). Addiction to Internet use, online gaming, and online social networking among young adults in China, Singapore, and the United States. Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health, 29(8), 673-682.