Posted on: 11th Apr 2020 599 Views

Thematic Analysis of Research paper

Thematic analysis is a research methodology that you can utilize for analyzing Qualitative information. College going students often face issues in performing thematic analysis. In this article, our research paper writing professional is providing guidelines related to performing thematic analysis.

Thematic Analysis in Research

Thematic analysis: Meaning

Thematic analysis is a research methodology that includes identification, 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, researcher analysis of information for identification of basic themes like ideas, topic, patterns which 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: Familiarisation

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: Coding

At this step, you need to code your data. Coding is included highlighting the text such as words or phrases.  You need to come up with a shorthand code for describing the content.

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 in experts.  Few other people are argues that the public should not completely trust experts.Uncertainty

Changes in terminology

Acknowledgment of changes in climate

Distrust of experts

It is a step where you need to analyze the transcript of every interview.  At the time of analysis, you can highlight everything which you found interesting and relevant to your topic.  You should also highlight the words or phrases which match these codes. You can add more codes at the type of analyzing the text.  After completion of the data analysis, you can integrate all information into groups. As it is the technique that will help you in the identification of code.  All these codes will enable you to get an overall view of important points. Based on data analysis, you can draw common meaning which repeats throughout the information.

Step 3: Design themes

It is a step 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 then 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 such a theme which helps in representing the information and objective of the research.

Step 4: Review themes

At this step, you need to confirm that the themes which you have designed are useful and correct.  You should also ensure that the themes which you have created are accurately representing information. Here, you need to go back to the data set and distinguish themes against the data set.  If you address any kind of issue in themes then you can combine it, discard them for formulating a new theme.

For instance, the Researcher intends to look for data such as changes in terminology that fits more appropriately under the term uncertainty rather than under distrust of experts.

Step 5:  Define and naming themes

Now after obtaining the list of themes, you need to give the name and define every theme. Defining themes include the formulation of exactly what we mean by every theme. After that, we need to figure out how it will help in understanding information.

The naming of the themes includes coming up with succinct and name for every theme.

For instance, Researchers might seek information about distrust of experts. An investigator may have an interest in developing understanding about who are experts in a specific theme.  The name for such a theme could be distrust of authority.

Step 6: Writing up

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 as an effective approach which research utilize for analyzing people opinion, experience and knowledge about a set of Qualitative data, for instance, transcript of the interview, survey responses, etc.

Few research Questions which you can utilize for answering are:

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

You for obtaining answers to research questions you need to gather information from a group of participants. And you need to analyze the same.  The main advantages of thematic analysis are that it enables you to get flexibility in the interpretation of data.  It also enables you to approach a large set of data by categorizing it into broad themes.

At the same time, the thematic analysis also includes the risk of missing nuances in the data. It is quite subjective and mainly based on the judgment of the researcher. It is very much essential for you to properly reflect your choice and interpret data.  You must make sure that you have not to collect irrelevant facts.

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 these are Inductive and deductive. An inductive research approach includes considering the information for deciding on themes. The deductive research approach includes coming to information using the predetermined themes which you have formulated based on existing knowledge and theories.

Other approaches are Semantic and latent approach.  A semantic approach includes analyzing the explicit content of information. A latent approach includes reading subtext and making assumptions related to information.


From the above article, it has been concluded that thematic analysis is most helpful in analyzing the pattern of responses provided by participants. It has also been concluded from the above that thematic analysis includes the risk of missing data.

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