Characterizing Grounded Theory Approaches in Visualization


Grounded theory (GT) is a research methodology that entails a systematic workflow for theory generation grounded on emergent data. In this paper, we juxtapose GT workflows with typical workflows in visualization and visual analytics, shortly VIS, revealing the characteristics shared by these workflows. We explore the research landscape of VIS to observe where GT has been applied to generate VIS theories, explicitly as well as implicitly. We discuss “why” GT can potentially play a significant role in VIS. We outline a “how” methodology for conducting GT research in VIS, which addresses the need for theoretical advancement in VIS while benefiting from other methods and techniques in VIS. We exemplify this “how” methodology by adopting GT approaches in studying the messages posted on VisGuides — an Open Discourse Forum for discussing visualization guidelines.

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