The timeline of data collection needs to include cyclical phases of collecting, coding and analysing. And respite (Glaser makes a point of respite being a point of health for the researcher). Moreover:
“If he does not take respites for reflection and analysis, he cannot avoid collecting a large mass of data of dubious theoretical relevance” p72
Normally speaking, this type of research continues until the categories are ‘saturated’ (as described above) – so the timeline is open-ended. However in the context of a PhD – it is essential to bound the research in order to complete it within the terms of the study.
In my case – I’m also conscious that I am planning to break up my data collection with a period of maternity leave (I’m due end of April / early May 2019). Perhaps I can include this time-away from the field strategically.
Where I can’t talk so easily about timeline, I can talk about the type of theory (substantive) I want to generate, the geographical areas I wish to study certain kinds of groups (I still need to decide this) initial thoughts on options are Europe (Netherlands, Belgium, Germany) and South East Asia (Japan, Singapore, China), Middle East (Israel) and USA.
Funding will have a huge influence on this element of group selection. Europe being the most affordable and where I already have some initial connections.
I am in the process of applying for a scholarship in order to base myself and family in Japan for a year in order to reach out to groups in that South East Asian Region.
Other opportunities may exist to study in other areas – although I’m concerned that this may somehow bias the research – understanding Glasers technique – it seems that as long as the geography enables the comparison, and contribution to the generation of theory – it is useful.
Timing will likely also be affected by situations that may affect sampling – for example public holidays, and in the case of some farms – seasonality – i.e. traditionally farmers have more time to talk in winter when the farming year is quieter.
There is suggested by Glaser that in the generation of the research design one might investigate the initial groups targeted for data collection to figure out any likely timing issues beforehand.
Lastly another time consuming aspect of this type of data collection is building rapport with those I want to participate in my research. This period – setting up interviews and visits for each group can take a long time.
The suggestion with initial interviews is that they begin with open ended conversations – that I won’t say very much – rather allowing the interviewee to talk about their story as they see it. This means these first interviews may be really quitte long. My initial intention is to come as a curious peer to the table – eager to hear what their experience has been. I do think I will need to come at this activity with some initial questions to ask – so as to direct the interview direction very generally. As my theory emerges – then I can start to ask more specific questions. Interviews should resultantly become shorter and more precise as time goes on.
Barney G. Glaser & Anselm L. Strauss. 1967. The Discovery of Grounded Theory. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.