Are we there yet? A technique to determine theoretical saturation

Rowlands, Terry, Waddell, Neal and McKenna, Bernard (2015) Are we there yet? A technique to determine theoretical saturation. Journal of Computer Information Systems, 56 1: 40-47.

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Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Author Rowlands, Terry
Waddell, Neal
McKenna, Bernard
Title Are we there yet? A technique to determine theoretical saturation
Journal name Journal of Computer Information Systems   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0887-4417
Publication date 2015-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 56
Issue 1
Start page 40
End page 47
Total pages 8
Place of publication Philadelphia, PA, United States
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Language eng
Abstract Although the concept of theoretical saturation (ThS) was first introduced by Glaser and Strauss’s grounded theory methodology, it is now more widely used as a fundamental concept in interview-based qualitative research. Despite its widespread use, the concept is nebulous and lacks systematization. An extensive literature review in 2007, and again in 2013, shows that this inexactitude characterizes most claims for using ThS. Yet qualitative methodologists seem strangely reluctant to accept criticism or possible improvement. By assuming ThS to be an analogue of the principle of diminishing returns, we propose a quantitative technique for determining ThS using lognormal distribution principles. Applying the technique to three large data sets provided strong evidence that the method is efficacious. Usefully, this study also shows both that the technique is not affected by the order of interviews and that corpus size is not necessarily a true indication of theoretical saturation.
Keyword Theoretical saturation
Grounded theory
Research interviews
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
UQ Business School Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 2 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 2 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 09 Oct 2015, 01:07:03 EST by Karen Morgan on behalf of UQ Business School