21/09/16

I've done a lot of reviewing lately of various kinds of research manuscript and I've cast my eye on a lot of manuscripts brought to my workshops by PhD students and new researchers. One of the things I see a lot of puzzles me; the writing of methods and theories using capitals:

"We used Structural Equation Modelling to...."
"I adopted an Ethnographic approach..."
"Through the lens of Critical Theory..."

You get the general idea. Yet research methods and analytic theories are not proper nouns and should no more be capitalised than any other nouns. Imagine writing 'We used Shopping to acquire our groceries', or, 'I wore Clothes to avoid embarasment in public'. Silly, yes? So as a rule don't capitalise your methods and your theories, unless of course they come at the start of the sentence.

The one exception to all this puzzles me. From what I can see, most books tend to present Grounded Theory in capitals. I've no idea why this is, and why it's correct to write 'We used Grounded Theory' and not correct to say 'We used Conversation Analysis'. If anyone knows why Grounded Theory (note the caps) is the exception that proves the rule do let me know.
Patrick Brindle