In this paper, we show how the tools and techniques of Grounded Theory can be used to provide accountability and credibility to applied linguistic research within the qualitative paradigm. We argue for the use of worked examples as an element in an audit trail that can not only help to bring to life the actual steps taken by the researcher to discover theory from the data but also, through so doing, provide the audience with concrete examples upon which they are better able to judge the credibility of the researcher’s conclusions.Using the audit trail concept and applying it by following the data from a single research participant in a worked example, we can enhance the building of a credible argument for interpretations of other data within the same study and for the connections made between clusters of data. Using one worked example, we show that over the course of a study, sufficient rigour and transparency can be provided to ensure that readers, and external evaluators such as funding agencies, can more easily accept the trustworthiness of claims about a specific relationship between phenomena that are not empirically quantifiable.
|Keywords:||Grounded Theory, Qualitative Research Methodology, Applied Linguistic Research|
Head, English Language Centre, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
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