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Grounded Theory Is Not an Excuse to Ignore the Literature A common misassumption is that grounded theory requires a researcher to enter the field without any knowledge of prior research. There are several variants of this myth, each based on the false premise that the researcher is a blank sheet devoid of experience or knowledge. An extreme variant is the notion that not only must the researcher enter the field with a blank mind (i.e., without knowledge of the literature and absent prior experience), but that she or he must also enter the field with a blank agenda (i.e., without a defined research question). A less extreme, but more problematic, version suggests that the researcher must defer reading existing theory until the data are collected and analyzed. This notion is reflected in manuscripts whose authors avoid any mention of prior literature until their papers’ discussions or concluding sections. In a similar variant, researchers use grounded theory to tackle a subject that is in “well-tilled soil”—that is, a subject that has attracted a long and credible history of empirical research—and use grounded theory as a justification for ignoring prior research in formulating their study.