The primary aim of this chapter is to outline a potentially powerful framework for the combination of research approaches utilizing the Grounded Theory coding mechanism for Case Study, and Focus Groups data analysis. A secondary aim of this chapter is to provide a roadmap for such a usage by way of an example research project. The context for this project is the need to study and evaluate the actual practice of software development processes in real world commercial settings of software companies, which utilized both case study and focus group techniques. This research found that grounded theory coding strategies are a suitable and powerful data analysis mechanism to explore case study and focus group data.
According to Yin (2003) case study is “an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context, especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clear” (p. 23). Case study is usually seen as a specific research strategy (Eisenhardt, 1989; Yin, 2003). The underlying idea for case research is said to be the many-sided view it can provide of a situation in its context. “The intense observation made in case studies gives opportunities to study different aspects and put these in relation to each other, to put objects in relation to the environment where they operate” (Halinen and Törnroos, 2005). Instead of statistical representativeness, case studies offer depth and comprehensiveness for understanding the specific phenomenon (Easton, 1995, p. 475). They give a possibility to be close to the studied objects (firms), enabling inductive and rich description. Case research is particularly welcome in new situations where only little is known about the phenomenon and in situations where current theories seem inadequate (Eisenhardt, 1989; Yin, 2003). It is also a strong method in the study of change processes as it allows the study of contextual factors and process elements in the same real-life situation.