Vol. 2 No. 1 (2011)

Perceived Identity: applying Grounded Theory in Libraries

Chiara Faggiolani
Università La Sapienza di Roma

Published 2011-04-26


  • Grounded theory,
  • Identity,
  • Perception,
  • Qualitative research

How to Cite

Faggiolani, Chiara. 2011. “Perceived Identity: Applying Grounded Theory in Libraries”. JLIS.It 2 (1). https://doi.org/10.4403/jlis.it-4592.


This article presents a reflection on the application of Grounded Theory methodology in a study which aims at understanding how the identity of libraries is perceived by users. The Grounded Theory, elaborated in the sixties by the sociologists, Barney G. Glaser and Anselm L. Strauss, and widely applied today in empirical research in varied disciplines, is a methodology of social research and a combination of procedures capable of systematically generating a theory based on data. It is one of the interpretative methods aimed at describing the meanings attributed to phenomena under examination and is particularly suitable for exploring underlying social and psychological processes. Data are examined through different phases – open, selective, axial coding – and then elaborated. In libraries, the use of the GT is a fundamental tool in order to understand the difference between what users perceive and librarians really do. This article takes a look at the history and the main features of the Grounded Theory through its application to four Italian public libraries. The results show that users perceive the library more as "place" and "space" than "service".


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