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The background research to this paper is focused within the context of a Higher Education Institution in the Republic of Ireland. The question, which drove the main focus of the research as a whole is: - ‘How can the Institution improve Staff Development processes to enable staff to develop blended (including online) learning, to enhance Learning and Teaching? This paper describes a critical element of the main research process. In seeking to answer the question our individual participation in the research as agents as well as researchers is acknowledged. Clearly there are all kinds of questions of subjectivity, objectivity, distance and professional issues, which we recognise from the outset and it is a theme that we will return to later. The focus is broadly a research-based observation through an activity-based study, and while the conclusions recognize the limitations of general applicability, the work none-the-less makes a contribution to understanding some key issues regarding the reliability in identifying themes using Grounded Theory (GT) while investigating what theories underpin e-learning in the particular environment in which the research was conducted. A similar environment of staff development exists across the Higher Education spectrum and that may encourage further investigations, which could have broader application.
Burns, R., Donnelly, R., & Fitzmaurice, M. (2005). Hardening the Categories: Establishing Reliability Using Grounded Theory while Investigating Theories Underpinning E-Learning in Higher Education. SRHE Conference, Edinburgh, December 13-15, 2005