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"Sharing Wisdoms from the East": Developing a Native Theory of ICT4D Using Grounded Theory Methodology (GTM) – Experience from Timor-Leste

by   Abel Pires da Silva, et al.

There have been repeated calls made for theory-building studies in ICT4D research to solidify the existence of this research field. However, theory-building studies are not yet common, even though ICT4D as a research domain is a promising venue to develop native and indigenous theories. To this end, this paper outlines a theory-building study in ICT4D, based on the author's experience in developing a mid-range theory called 'Cultivating-Sustainability' of E-government projects, a native mid-range theory of ICT4D. The paper synthesizes the GTM literature and provides a step-by-step illustration of GTM use in practice for research students and early career ICT4D academics. It introduces the key strategies and principles of GTM, such as the theoretical sampling strategy, the constant comparison strategy, the concept-emergent principle, and the use of literature throughout the study process. Then discusses the steps involved in the data collection and analysis process to develop a theory using case studies as sources of empirical data; it concludes with a discussion on using the strategies and principles in the three case studies. It is expected that this paper contributes to the diversification of research methodology, particularly to our collective quest for developing native and indigenous theories in the ICT4D research domain.


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