Thematic Analysis


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Thematic Analysis is one of the more popular qualitative method and as the name suggests, is concerned with ‘themes’. It is mostly used on interview transcripts but can be applied to varied forms of text. Thematic analysis is concerned with identifying, analysing and reporting patterns within the data that can be understood as major themes and sub-themes.
Braun and Clarke (2006) outline the structure of Thematic Analysis as:
Phase 1: familiarising yourself with your data Phase 2: generating initial codes
Phase 3: searching for themes
Phase 4: reviewing themes
Phase 5: defining and naming themes Phase 6: producing the report

These phases of analysis require certain levels of reflection and this one of the major advantages of the analysis. As analysis varies so much depending on the type of text under analysis and the research questions being asked there are judgements that need to be made by the researcher. This can include what constitutes as a theme. Generally speaking a theme is a patterned meaning within the text and this may be highly prevalent or much less so within the data. It is therefore the at the researchers discretion that a theme is developed, however all themes must be fully supported by quotation evidence in the reported analysis.

As with all methodology there are distinct advantages and disadvantages of the method and use of thematic analysis is dependent upon the kinds of text under analysis, the research question and the epistemology of the researcher.