Journal of Professional Nursing

The Methodological Journey of A Grounded Theorist: An Interview with Denise Dignam  

Lynne S. Giddings, RGON, RM, BA (Hons), MN, PhD, Associate Professor School of Nursing and Midwifery, Auckland University of Technology
Pamela J. Wood, RGON, BA, MEd, PhD, Dip Tchg (Tert), Senior Lecturer Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Victoria University of Wellington

Reference:  Giddings, L. S. & Wood, P. J. (2000). The methodological journey of a grounded theorist: An interview with Denise Dignam. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, (16)2, 4-16.


Nurses and midwives in Aotearoa/New Zealand are making a unique contribution to the development and application of various research approaches (methodologies) to nursing and midwifery practice. This is the first of a series of articles based on interviews with nursing and midwifery researchers, giving stories of their research journeys in relation to a particular methodology. The articles will give beginning researchers some real life examples of what it is like to carry out research. They are not in-depth explorations of the various methodologies. What we have attempted to capture is how real people actually use the various research methodologies we read about in textbooks and that frame the research which influences our practice. The stories are presented in interview format so that each interviewee’s unique style and approach can emerge. The first researcher in our series is Denise Dignam (RGON, BA, DipSocSci) who in her PhD research is using a grounded theory approach to investigate issues related to breastfeeding.  

Research, methodologies, grounded theory   

The word ‘research’ is now commonplace within the language of nursing and midwifery practice. Indeed nursing and midwifery are leading the allied health professions in Aotearoa/New Zealand in the promotion of a variety of approaches (methodologies and methods) to health research. In the late 1980s, for example, nursing research textbooks were the first to emphasise the importance of qualitative as well as quantitative research methods (eg, Brink & Wood, 1989; Polit & Hungler, 1987; Roberts & Burke, 1989). They are still among the best texts for giving health researchers a broad and comprehensive view of the research approaches that can be applied to clinical practice. Continued 

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