Applying Grounded Theory Methods to Digital Forensic Research

Andrew Jones, Ahmed Almarzooqi, Richard Howley

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Deciding on a suitable research methodology is challenging for researchers. In this paper, grounded theory is presented as a systematic and comprehensive qualitative methodology in the emergent field of digital forensics research. This paper applies grounded theory in a digital forensics research project undertaken to study how organisations build and manage digital forensics capabilities. This paper gives a step-by-step guideline to explain the procedures and techniques of using grounded theory in digital forensics research. The paper gives a detailed explanation of how the three grounded theory coding methods (open, axial, and selective coding) can be used in digital forensics research. Grounded theory offers a rich and detailed methodology for theorising while presenting and exploring the How and Why questions at every stage of the research. The method shared in this paper provides a detailed critique, making it a valuable contribution to the discussion of methods of analysis in the field of digital forensics.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Grounded Theory
  • Digital forensics


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