Grounded Classification: Grounded Theory and Faceted Classification

“This paper compares the qualitative method of grounded theory with the construction of faceted classifications in library and information science. Both struggle with a core problem: the representation of vernacular words and processes, empirically discovered, which will, although ethnographically faithful, be powerful beyond the single instance or case study. Both began as reform movements against powerfully-entrenched a priori schemes with claims on universality. As the landscape of information retrieval is shifting rapidly (with networked distributed computing, digital libraries, large-scale and enoromously powerful search engines), a comparison of grounded theory and faceted classification offers some important cross-fertilization. Some of the challenges faced by classification in environments such as the world-wide web or large digital libraries include: how work settings and the flow of real-life tasks give rise to information needs and strategies; how different vernaculars and representational schemes may work together heterogeneously; how informal and formal classifications interact in information retrieval and use. At the same time, some of the challenges faced by grounded theorists include asessing the quality and completeness of analysis; managing large amounts of unstructured textual data; and accounting for a basis for theoretical sampling. The two endeavors offer each other some aid in meeting this challenge. Grounded theory offers a way to include processes and actions in the analysis of vernacular representations (a question introduced as a core theoretical problem by Ranganathan); and a source of theoretical richness for the understanding of intermingled types of work. Faceted classification offers a way to assess the structural integrity and architecture of a particular theory, via facet analysis and other analytical tools used in thesaurus construction and assessment; with automated thesaurii tools, an aid for managing large bodies of text which will augment current qualitative methods software.”
Link:Grounded Classification: Grounded Theory and Faceted Classification