Posted on: 8th May 2020

Thematic Analysis Research Method

Thematic Analysis Research Method

Thematic analysis is a popular method of analyzing Qualitative data. College students studying research subjects face issues in performing the thematic analysis.  They have question that when to use thematic analysis? In this article, our expert research paper writing team is providing guidance related to how to do thematic analysis.

What is a Thematic Analysis in Research method ?

Thematic analysis can be referred to as a research method that the researcher utilizes for analyzing Qualitative information. You can apply thematic analysis to a set of texts like interview transcripts. The thematic analysis provides the reader with ease in the identification of common themes, ideas and helps them in analyzing patterns of meaning which are repeated.

There are several approaches that you can utilize for executing thematic analysis. Six step process of performing thematic analysis are:

  1. Familiarization
  2. Coding
  3. Generation of Themes
  4. Review of themes
  5. Defining and naming of themes
  6. Writing up

Thematic analysis is a flexible research methodology that could be adapted for accomplishing the objective of the research.

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When to use Thematic Analysis  research method?

Thematic analysis  as a research method is considered as an effective approach of research where research tries to find out something about the opinion of people. They also intend to gather information about knowledge, experiences, and opinions of people by gathering Qualitative information. They also evaluate the opinion of people and their knowledge by analyzing interview transcripts, survey responses, and observing social media profiles.

Some types of research questions which you might utilize thematic analyzing for answering are:

  • What perceptions patients have about doctors in a hospital setting?
  • How is gender constructed in high school history teaching?
  • What type of experiences women have on dating sites?

Researchers for answering all the questions need to collect facts from a group of relevant participants. After that they are required to properly analyze the information. It is a thematic analysis research method in Qualitative research that provides researchers with lots of flexibility in interpreting data.  Thematic analysis technique also enables the researcher to approach large data sets easily by sorting them into broader themes.

Some of the biggest drawbacks of thematic analysis are that there are high chances of risk about missing nuances in the data. Another biggest disadvantage is that the specific technique of data analysis is quite subjective. Analysis of data is completely based on the judgment made by the researcher. Therefore, you need to carefully reflect on your personal choice and interpretations.

You are also requiring paying attention to information for making sure that you are not picking up things that are not there.

Different Approaches to thematic analysis research method

Once you have decided to utilize thematic analysis, then you need to consider different approaches such as inductive and deductive.

The difference between inductive and deductive approaches:

Inductive Approach Deductive Approach
Inductive research includes enabling the data to determine themes. A deductive approach includes sourcing data with few preconceived themes which you expect to identify reflected there, based on theory or existing knowledge.

Ask Question: Does my Theoretical framework provide a strong idea about what kind of themes you are expecting to find in data.

The other two approaches are Semantic and latent approach. There is also a difference between the latent and semantic approach

Semantic approach Latent Approach
It includes analyzation of the explicit content of the data. This approach involves reading subtext and making assumptions about the data.


After, decoding to perform thematic analysis, you need to select a specific approach which you are going to utilize for analyzing information.

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How to Do a Thematic Analysis

The six steps which you need to follow for performing the thematic analysis of qualitative and Quantitative data are:

Step 1: Familiarization

In the first step, you need to develop an understanding of information. It is very much essential to get an overview of the data you have collected before beginning to analyze individual items. It may include transcribing audio. You should read complete text and make notes. By reading you will be able to get familiar with the text.

Step 2: Coding using thematic analysis research method

At this step, you need to code the data. The coding process includes highlighting the important section of text that is phrases and Sentences. After reading the text and you are required to come up with shorthand labels for describing the content.

Example: The researcher is performing an investigation for analyzing the perception of people about the change in climatic conditions. The researcher has planned to collect information by conducting a series of interviews.

Coding of qualitative information

Extraction of interview Coding
I believe that climate is changing but I don’t know the process of climate change. Many people perceive that the public should trust the experts for weather forecasting. Other people believe that weather forecasting is done by experts sometimes can be inaccurate. The changes in climate take place because of Global warming. Uncertainty

Addressing changes in climate

Change in Terminology

Distrust on expert.

At this step of thematic analysis, the researcher needs to go through the transcript of each interview. At the time of transcription of the interview you need to highlight important, relevant, and interesting facts related to the research topic. You are also required to highlight sentences or phrases which match with these codes. After that researchers need to add such codes as they continue analyzation of texts. At the next step, you need to combine all data into groups according to codes. It is the codes that enable the reader to get an overview of key points and basic meaning which recurs throughout the data.

Step 3: Generation of themes using Research method

At this step of thematic analysis, you need to review the codes in which you have a design. After that you can start the identification of patterns among them and begin designing themes.

The difference between the two is that themes are broader than codes. In many cases, researchers integrate different codes into one theme. In the context of the above example, we can integrate different codes into one theme like this:

Transformation of codes into themes

Codes Themes

Leave on experts

Alternate explanations

Changes in terminology

Distrust of experts

Resentment towards experts

The threat of government control

Distrust of experts
Incorrect facts

Misunderstanding of science

Bias media sources


It is a step, where you need to decide that few of the codes are vague or not. Other  research methods  you can utilize for designing themes. About the above example, research decides to have code uncertainty which makes sense as a theme.

Step 4: Review of themes

At this step, you need to ensure that themes that are designed are useful and accurate. It is also very essential for you to make sure that the themes that you have design accurately represent data. After that, you need to again review the data set and require making a comparison between different themes. If in case you found any of the issues then you can split the themes or create new themes.

Step 5: Defining and naming Themes

At this step, you have a list of themes, now you need to name and define every theme.  Defining of the themes includes designating exactly what we mean by every theme and figuring the way it helps in developing understanding about data.

The naming of themes includes coming up with Succinct and easily understanding the name of every theme.

Step 6: Writing up

In the last step, you need to start analyzing information. Like academic texts, you need to start performing thematic analysis by start writing an introduction which is very much important for designing research Questions and aim. It is the introduction part of a research paper that will help you in determining an appropriate approach that you can use for executing thematic analysis. Research methodology section of the research paper consists of explanation about  technique which you have utilized for the collection of information. It is also very much important for you to properly define how you have performed thematic analysis.  You have to clearly state the meaning of each theme including examples from information as evidence.  Researchers also need to demonstrate the way thematic analysis has helped them in answering research questions.


It has been concluded from the above that thematic analysis helps in analyzing the pattern of responses in Qualitative research. Another fact which has been found from above is that thematic analysis is quite subjective and includes the risk of missing data.

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