Applying Grounded Theory: A Practical Guide for Understanding the Vision of Benedictine Education in the Philippines

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Richard A. Gray


Patricia Watkins


Francis Boakari


This qualitative study aims to utilize the grounded theory model as the method to reflect and clarify the vision of Benedictine education in the Philippines for the twenty-first century. The study further purports to show how such a method can be effective in delving more deeply into the meaning and challenge that a noble reality such as the vision of Benedictine education possesses. This study adds to the sparse literature on the use of classical Grounded Theory Model, originally discovered by Barney G. Glaser and Anselm Strauss, but later espoused exclusively by Glaser. The method was applied as described and detailed by Glaser in his numerous publications after his break with Strauss. To show the method’s characteristics and unique features, the researcher applied it to draw out and understand the vision of Benedictine education in the Philippines for the twenty-first century. Data for the study was purposely selected. The first source of data consisted of semi-structured interviews with selected experts: the two superiors of the male and female branches of the Benedictine Order in the Philippines and the two presidents of the respective communities’ prime educational institutions. The second source of data, which also served to corroborate the findings of the first source of data, consisted of the vision and mission statements of the religious communities and the schools concerned. The study followed the four different phases of doing grounded theory, namely: (a) open coding, (b) theoretical coding, (b) selective coding with sorting of memos, and (d) writing up of theory. Open coding consisted of the application of the constant comparison method in the first level. Theoretical coding, the next higher level of conceptualization, involved the integration o f categories and their properties. The next phase necessitated a third level of conceptualization, that is, selective coding with the use of the core variable as guide as well as the sorting out of memos for conceptual frameworks. The fourth and final phase concerns the writing up of the theory. In all these, there is an insistence on the generation of theory from the data and allowing the theory to emerge and not forced upon the data. Rooting in Community, the core category that emerged from the data, indicates the basic social process by which the experts and the documents create and sustain a vision for the kind of education that is essentially Benedictine in orientation, Christian in principle and Filipino in character. The theory presented fundamentally revolves around this core category, and how this category impacts the themes that were drawn from the sorting process. With Rooting in Community as the central theme or variable, six major categories or themes appeared, and these explain the theory about the vision of Benedictine education in the Philippines in detail. These major themes describe and clarify what visioning entails, what the vision implies and what it requires o f the institutions and its agents as they relate to Church, society and the world. These six major themes or categories are the following: (a) Empowering the Vision Agents; (b) Contextualizing the Response; (c) Re-Imaging, the Benedictine Way; (d) Founding and Fortifying the Community; (e) Upholding the Catholic Character; and (f) Claiming the Future. Each major theme carries with it related processes and sub-processes that deepen the meaning of the theme and its implications for theory building. The research has shown that the classic Grounded Theory Model not only proved to be methodically useful in reflecting on such a complicated topic as the school vision but likewise demonstrated its appropriateness for the study by its various levels of conceptualization. The study has recommendations for theory development, school management and leadership, as well as school effectiveness and stakeholders’ benefit.

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