Posted on: 11th Apr 2020 2900 Views

Thematic Analysis of Research paper

Thematic analysis is a research methodology that you can utilize for analyzing Qualitative information including students’ experiences. College-going students often face issues in performing thematic analysis, but the guidelines below should help make it easier to conceptualize and implement this approach as part of your next paper!

Thematic Analysis in Research

Thematic analysis: Meaning

Thematic analysis is a research methodology that includes the identification, and analysis of patterns of responses that participants have provided. You need to apply thematic analysis to a set of texts like interview transcripts.

In the thematic analysis, the researcher analysis of information for the identification of basic themes like ideas, topics, and patterns that are repeated.

There are several approaches that you can utilize for performing thematic analysis. The six steps of performing thematic analysis include:

  • Coding
  • Generating themes
  • Reviewing themes
  • Defining and naming themes
  • Writing up

Thematic analysis is a flexible technique that you can apply for accomplishing research objectives.

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 How to conduct a thematic analysis?

The six steps of performing thematic analysis are:

Step 1: Build comprehension of the information first.

It is an initial step, you need to first develop an understanding of information. It is very much essential for you to analyze an overview of all information that you have gathered before starting to analyze each theme.

Familiarization also includes transcribing audio. You need to read the text and prepare notes.

Step 2: Code for describing the  content

You must code your data at this point. Coding is used to emphasize specific parts of the text, such as words or phrases. You’ll need to come up with a code to describe the material in shorthand.

Example: A researcher performs investigation for analysing the view of people about climate change. An investigator has utilised interview technique for the collection of information.  An extract from one interview look:

Coding of Qualitative information

Interview extractCodes
I am not sure I thought about the change in the climate. By analyzing the responses provided by participants it has been found that many people perceive that there is a need to have trust experts.  Few other people argue that the public should not completely trust experts.Uncertainty

Changes in terminology

Acknowledgment of changes in climate

Distrust of experts

It is a process in which you must examine each interview’s transcript. You can highlight everything that you found interesting and relevant to your topic during the analysis. You should also underline the words or phrases that correspond to these codes. You can add more codes to the type of text analysis.

After you’ve finished your data analysis, you can group everything. It is the strategy that will assist you in identifying the code. All of these codes will allow you to gain a broad overview of key points. You can derive a common meaning from data analysis that appears throughout the material.

Step 3:Themes must be developed.

It is a process where you need to look for codes that you have to create. After that, you need to perform the identification of patterns among them. Then you need to develop themes.

Codes are less broad than themes.  In many circumstances, you can integrate different codes into one theme.

Transforming codes into themes:


Leave it to the experts

Alternative explanation

Changes in terminology

Distrust of scientists

Resentment towards experts

Fear of government control

Distrust of experts
Incorrect facts

Misunderstanding of science

Biased media sources


It is a step where you need to address such codes which are vague so they can be discarded. Other codes in research may become themes in personal rights.

In the above example, the researcher has decided that “uncertainty “makes sense as a theme. You should design a theme that helps in representing the information and objective of the research.

Step 4: Themes should be reviewed.

At this point, you should double-check that the themes you’ve created are both helpful and correct. You should also double-check that the themes you’ve generated appropriately portray the data.

Here, you’ll need to return to the data collection and look for themes within it. If you have themes that cover a variety of issues, you can combine them or eliminate them to create a new theme.

For example, the Researcher wishes to seek evidence such as changes in terminology that would be better classified as uncertainty rather than expert distrust.

Step 5: Themes should be defined and named.

After you’ve got the list of themes, you’ll need to give each one a name and define it. Defining themes entails articulating exactly what each theme entails.

Following that, we must determine how it will aid in the comprehension of data. The naming of the themes entails coming up with short and memorable names for each one.

For example, researchers might be looking for information on expert distrust. An investigator can be interested in learning more about who are the experts on a particular topic. The label for such a theme could be authority distrust.

Step 6: Finally, data must be written.

This is the last step where you need to finally write data. Like other academic content, you need to write an introduction where you are required to include aims, research questions, and approaches.

You should also include a research method chapter where it is very much important for you to describe the technique of data collection. You should also define the way you will perform a thematic analysis.

In the result section, you need to identify the theme and understand its meaning. The conclusion section consists of the main arguments. While writing the conclusion section you need to demonstrate the way the technique which you have used for analysis helps in answering research questions.

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When to utilize thematic analysis?

Thematic analysis is considered to be an effective approach that research utilizes for analyzing people’s opinions, experiences, and knowledge about a set of Qualitative data, for an instant transcript of the interview, survey responses, etc.

A few research Questions which you can utilize for answering are:

  • How patients do perceive doctors’ behaviors in a hospital setting?
  • What experience do women have on dating sites?

You’ll need to collect data from a group of people to get answers to your study questions. You must also examine the situation. The fundamental benefit of theme analysis is that it allows for greater flexibility in data interpretation. It also allows you to approach a big amount of data by grouping it into major categories.

At the same time, the risk of overlooking nuances in the data is present in the theme analysis. It is highly subjective and largely reliant on the researcher’s judgment. It is critical that you think about your decision and evaluates data correctly. You must ensure that you have not gathered any extraneous information.

What are the different approaches to thematic analysis?

After making the final decision of utilizing thematic analysis there are several approaches you need to consider Inductive and deductive. Inductive research involves thinking about the data before deciding on themes.

The deductive research method is gathering information based on preconceived topics that you’ve developed based on your knowledge and assumptions.

Semantic and latent techniques are two further approaches. Analyzing the explicit substance of information is part of a semantic approach. Reading subtext and making assumptions about information are examples of a latent approach.


Thematic analysis is particularly beneficial in understanding the pattern of responses offered by participants, according to the aforementioned source. The above has also led to the conclusion that thematic analysis entails the danger of missing data.

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