Thematic Analysis

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  • Thematic Analysis
    • A way of analysing data without losing its meaningfulness completely but enabling a vast amount of qualitative data to be manageably reduced into general patterns, trends and themes.
    • you review and identify common themes within qualitative data
      • a researcher will develop these themes into 'codes;which represent the categories of the themes found
      • this can be done inductively where the researcher reads the qualitative data and themes emerge without them implying their own ideas or expectations
      • or this can be done deductively where the researches specifies the theme that they are looking for prior to analysis of the data
    • reviewed continually until the themes can be stated, supported and used in summary of the data
      • a reflexive journal is kept to record the whole process
    • highly flexible as it depends on the researcher but is often accused of being unscientific as it is greatly subjective = bias
    • way of reducing a large amount of data into a summary without losing validity of the data if done well
    • encourages the researcher to derive themes from the data rather than to impose pre-selected themes = better validity
    • researchers often do not fully explain how they arrived at the themes = less valid
    • (time consuming) identifying some themes at the beginning might be quite easy but identifying a limited amount that fully represent the data is difficult and requires time and skill
    • researcher might have themes in mind prior to intial coding - validity can be doubted


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